While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
(Matthew 26:47-56 ESV)
When Peter opposed Jesus’ arrest yesterday He was not only opposing the chief priests and elders who called for Jesus’ arrest but He was also opposing God. It was always God’s plan for Jesus to come to earth and eventually be betrayed, arrested, beaten, mocked, and crucified. All this has been recorded in the Scriptures – the Old Testament, which is all people had back then [Psalm 41:9, 55:12-14; Isaiah 53:3-5, 7, 10-11 et. al].
The very fact that these things were happening exactly as recorded by the prophets was proof that the Scriptures were correct. Jesus makes this point twice in this passage: once to Peter and then to the mob that came to arrest Him. By mentioning this Jesus is teaching everyone present that night. He’s telling them that they are seeing Old Testament prophecy being fulfilled right before their eyes.
Even today we continue to live through fulfilled prophecy such as the recreation of the nation of Israel. Or the rise in power of the homosexual community or the drive for world-wide unification. Even the move to electronic currency and the invention of television are helping to fulfill prophecy in the Bible. Yet, like Peter, many people today don’t understand that the events unfolding right before their eyes are fulfilling Bible prophecy.
Notice that Jesus also undermines the motives of the chief priests and elders when He points out to the crowds that His arrest was taking place at night (it was probably a little after midnight). In Jewish law it was illegal to arrest someone at night. It had to be done in daylight so the arrest could be witnessed. This was for the sake of the arrestee – to ensure that he or she was not being mistreated. This is not the only aspect of Jesus’ arrest and trial that was illegal, as we will see over the next several days.
Isn’t it amazing that right up until the end of His life Jesus kept teaching? Jesus was just a few hours away from having nails driven into this wrists and feet to affix Him to a cross where He would hang for hours until dead. Yet His focus was not on His own impending plight but on the eternity of those around Him.
Jesus’ betrayal was part of God’s plan to redeem mankind. It had to happen (must be so) in order for anyone in the human race to have their sins forgiven and therefore be eligible to enter heaven. There was no stopping it, try as Peter might. Likewise, the prophecies that remain unfulfilled will one day be fulfilled. Try as people might to prevent them, they will happen.
And when we see them happening the only logical response is to believe that the Bible is truly the word of God.
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