128: Peter takes up the sword
The disciples watched the scene in the garden of Gethsemane without doing anything. They said nothing when Judas kissed Jesus, and they watched as the soldiers fell back in fear.
But when the soldiers finally stepped forward to seize Jesus, the disciples rushed forward indignantly. "Master," they cried out, "shall we attack them with the sword?"
Peter did not wait for an answer. He rushed to get in front of Jesus with a sword flashing in his hand. In his despair he swung at the soldiers. He didn't know how to handle a sword properly; he had never done it before.
Peter's sword just missed one servant's head. The man felt a searing pain and put his hand to his head. His right ear was gone!
The whole band of screaming soldiers was about to attack the disciples. It looked as if their Master's effort to protect them would be in vain, and they would be captured anyway.
But Jesus could protect them even in this situation. He stepped before the soldiers like a king and held them back with a single gesture. Then He turned to Peter and said, "Put your sword away, for all who live by the sword will die by the sword. Did you think that I could not pray to My Father and have Him send more than twelve legions of angels to be at My side instantly?
Should I not drink this cup that the Father has placed before Me? Then how would the
Scriptures be fulfilled when they say that all these things must take place?"
Peter was ashamed. He retreated into the darkness.
Jesus walked over to the wounded servant, touched the man's ear, and healed him. The man's name was Malchus; he was a servant of the high priest. Malchus was the last person on earth to be healed by the touch of Jesus' hands. Malchus had been sent out to do evil, but Jesus showed him mercy.
Right after this miracle, the soldiers seized Jesus again and tied His hands together. The chief priests watched, feeling satisfied at last.
Jesus said to them, "Am I a robber, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture Me? When I was in your midst in the temple every day, you did not arrest Me. This is your hour, the hour that belongs to the powers of darkness."
The chief priests and soldiers said nothing in return. Some soldiers started to lead Him away. Other soldiers looked around for the disciples.
The disciples forsook Jesus. They did not try to follow Him. Instead they fled in all directions into the darkness.
The soldiers saw only one person left in the garden, someone dressed in a long white sheet. They grabbed him. He was a young man.
The young man tore away from them and left the sheet in their hands. He fled naked into the darkness.
The young man was not one of the disciples. It may have been John Mark of Jerusalem. Whoever it was had heard of what was going on, quickly wrapped a sheet around himself, and followed the soldiers to the garden of Gethsemane.
Everything had taken place just as Jesus had predicted. The disciples had forsaken Him. He was taken down the dark road that led through the valley of Kidron to the city. He was a prisoner.