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Discovery Magazine 9/1/2004

Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Have you ever been sent to your room to await a punishment? Sometimes the waiting and the anticipation are worse than the actual punishment. Consider how Christ must have felt the closer He got to His own crucifixion. As Jesus was instituting the Lord’s Supper (Mat-thew 26:26-29), we learn that He was already thinking about His upcoming agony and death (Luke 22:15). Shortly thereafter, Christ and His disciples went out to the Mount of Olives into the Garden of Gethsemane. This grove of olive trees was a place where Christ had retreated many times before, and a place where He probably re-ceived a great amount of joy. However, this practice of spending time at night in the Mount of Olives also meant Judas—His betrayer—knew where He would be.

The name “Gethsemane” comes from the Ara-maicwords Gat Shmanimmeaning “oil press.” Notcoincidentally, it was within this place that Christwould feel the crushing weight of the things yet to come—so much so that an angel was required to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). It is also significant that this is one of the few places where the word “agony” is mentioned in the Bible. It is because of this agony of things to come that we learn that during His prayer “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). And yet, we should remember that at any moment, Jesus could have called 12,000 angels to take Him far away from this agony.

As the night inched toward dawn, Jesus finally allowed the disciples to sleep (Matthew 26:43-44; Mark 14:41). However, He found no sleep Himself prior to His betrayer’s arrival. Soon after midnight, Christ was greeted with a kiss by one of His disciples—Judas Iscariot—who, for 30 pieces of silver, sold information to the chief priests about where Christ could be found. The kiss was a sign to the multitude of angry people who wanted to kill Jesus. They came with swords and spears, and seized the Son of God—taking Him away to endure a fake trial at the hands of the Jewish authorities. Imagine the love that Jesus must have for us to have been falsely arrested and then crucified!



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