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Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
That the saying might be fulfilled which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me, have I lost none.
When they which were about him, saw what would follow, they said unto him, LORD, shall we smite with the sword?
Then Simon Peter having a sword, drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
Then said JESUS unto Peter, Put up again thy sword into his place for all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword.
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
The cup which my Father hath given me shall I not drink it?
Then the band, and the captain, and officers of the Jews, took JESUs, and bound him.
And JESUS answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched the ear of Malchus, and healed him.
Then JESUS said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders which were come to him, Be ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves?
When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
All this has been done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth, cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him.
And he left the linen cloth, and filed from them naked.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It was related in the last section, that when our LORD retired into the garden at Gethsemane, he exhorted the three Apostles who attended him, to watch and pray, lest they entered into temptation; but they fell asleep. It certainly was their duty to watch with their Master, when his life was in such imminent danger, and to endeavour to comfort him when they beheld him so greatly distressed. Had they watched in this manner, their own minds would have been better prepared against› the trials and temptations to which they themselves were to be exposed: but as our LORD knew that it was through infirmity, and not for want of affection for him, that they fell asleep, he kindly excused it; and that they might see enough of his behaviour to enable them to bear testimony to it, and learn the duty of resignation, he repeatedly awakened them.
At the close of this affecting scene, our LORD told his Apostles, that they might now sleep on and take their rest; the design for which they were separated from the other Apostles being so far accomplished, there was no occasion for them to watch with him.
Though the cup of DEATH was not removed, yet Our LORD's prayer was heard, and consolation granted him; the violent perturbation which had been raised in his soul by the view of his approaching sufferings, was succeeded by a perfect calmness and serenity. Perhaps the ministering angel was sent by THE FATHER, to recall to cur LORD's mind the necessity of his death, and
to confirm the assurance he had before received, that his human nature would certainly be a partaker of that glory which the DIVINE WORD had from all eternity :. for we may judge from other passages of Scripture, that, on extraordinary occasions, when our LORD's soul was exposed to unusual temptations, and the operations of the DIVINE NATURE seem to have been for an instant suspended, he received evident proofs of the peeuliar favour and protection of GOD by means of his outward senses; particularly in the wilderness, after the Devil had tempted him to doubt whether he were the SON of GOD, when angels came and ministered unto him as such. As our LORD at that time willingly resolved to submit to a state of poverty, he as willingly determined in the garden of Gethsemane patiently to endure the cross, with all its attendant evils; accordingly he went forth with the utmost composure to meet the traitor, who was attended by a band of Roman soldiers, with their captain, and some Jewish officers belonging to the temple guard: nay, some of the members of the Sanhedrim, hurried on by malice and rage, mixed with a low rabble, and came in the dead of the night, to see that their infamous design was effectually executed.
The moon was then at the full; yet they brought lanterns and torches with them, that the guards might the better see to use their arms in case of opposition, or discover Jesus if he should hide himself in any private recess. It appears, from the signal which Judas gave, that our LORD permitted his Apostles, according to the Jewish custom, to salute him, when he returned to them after having been any time absent. Though the traitor' approached with all the marks of duty and friendship, his perfidious purposes were known to his Master; who, instead of reproaching him, gently reminded him of the
dignity of the person he was about to betray. Judas could not be ignorant, that our LORD had frequently declared himself to be the MESSIAH; and by the injunction he gave to the guards to hold their prisoner fast, we may judge, that he expected JESUS to effect his escape in some wonderful way.
How admirable was our LORD's conduct on this trying occasion! not a word passed his lips that was not perfectly consistent with the dignity of the Son of God, and the submission of the Son of Man. One would have supposed, that when the guards, who attempted to scize him, fell backwards on his saying, I AM HE, the members of the Sanhedrim would have recollected the instance of the companies who were sent to seize the Prophet Elijah, and would have perceived that the consternation of these men was likewise effected by a divine influence, but they were invincibly obdu
What tenderness did our LORD discover towards those who had so lately neglected him (sleeping when he was in such extreme agony)! He would not suffer them to be terrified, even by a short imprisonment, but capitu. lated with his prosecutors for the safety of his disciples before he would resign himself into their hands: and when Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, he over-ruled the resentment of his enemies, who, we may suppose, would otherwise have seized him; but he did not encourage his followers in acts of violence; on the contrary, forewarned them, "that drawing the sword in the cause of their religion, or against the governors of the land, would involve the good and bad, the persecuted and the persecutors, in undistinguished destruction; and desired Peter to put up his sword, since, were it the will of his FATHER that he should escape,
he would, at his entreaty, send a celestial army to destroy his persecutors; and that he stood in no need of the feeble assistance of his disciples. But since he knew it was the irrevocable will of GOD THE FATHER that he should die, and that the prophecies would not be fulfilled, unless he submitted to bear the portion of affliction allotted for him, he would no longer pray to be delivered from death; on the contrary, he willingly resigned himself to it.
Our LORD's behaviour, under the dreadful conflict he endured, afforded a very useful lesson to his disciples in particular, teaching them that they were not requir ed to court persecution, but to pray against it with perseverance and earnestness, though, at the same time, with the most entire resignation. When he had surrendered himself, his persecutors immediately proceeded to bind him, in order to prevent his escape. We may suppose, that Malchus, enraged at the wound he had received from Peter, was one of the first to seize JESUS; and, it is probable, was about to bind his hands; but he prevented him, that he might first heal him with a touch. By this miracle, our LORD not only gave an instance of unparalleled compassion and generosity, but also obviated the reflections and censures which the rashness of Peter might otherwise have occa. sioned.
How extremely reasonable was our LORD's expostu lation with the chief priests and captains of the temple guard! For what pretence could they have for coming against him as a robber, who would make a desperate resistance? He reminded them of their not seizing him
* A Roman legion is supposed to have consisted at that time of 6000 men. How dreadful then must an army of twelve legions of angels have appeared! for we read, that one of them slew 185,000 of the Assyrians in the camp of Sennacherib. See 2 Kings, xix. 35.