Matthew 26:55-56 (Jesus Addresses His Captors)

In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus was seized by a mob sent from the religious leaders and led by Judas.  He could easily have escaped, knowing what was coming upon Him, and was sorely tempted to do so, even sweating drops of blood (Luk 22:44).  But through prayer He had subjected Himself to the Father in order that salvation might be poured out upon mankind through the Spirit of sacrifice and obedience pressed from Him.  For in demonstration of the faith through which we are saved, He chose the Father’s will over His own, trusting His great love even unto death, knowing in faith that God is able to raise His servants from the dead.  In contrast, Peter, who was too tired to keep watch and pray in the garden, was foolishly led by the spirit of the world to defend their cause with one of two swords they had among them.  While the holder of the other restrained himself to first inquire if they should strike with the sword, Peter acted rashly and struck without waiting for a reply (Luk 22:49-50).  Because they were both vastly outnumbered and “out-gunned”, such action could easily have resulted in the decimation of both Jesus and His fledgling band right then and there, had Jesus not quickly commanded Peter to stop and healed the man he injured (Luk 22:51).  For the benefit of His disciples then and throughout future ages who would serve in establishing His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, and to further defuse the tense situation with those sent to arrest Him, He also expounded four reasons why it was inappropriate to further or even defend His cause with the sword: self-preservation, faith that God is in control, submission to the Father’s will as revealed in Scripture, and submission to do the Father’s will even when served a cup of suffering.

Who does Matthew say that Jesus now addressed, and what did He say?  See Mat 26:55.  Who does Luke say that the multitude consisted of?  See Luk 22:52.  From the armed assembly gathered against Him, how does Jesus describe the threat they esteemed Him to pose to them?  What does this teach us about the great force that darkness perceives simple light to possess?  Do we likewise understand the strength that the simple light of the truth has in the battle against the forces of darkness?  What was the danger of robbers, especially at that time?  Cf. Luk 10:30, 2Co 11:26, and note the difference between a robber who uses violence to obtain what is not his and a simple thief who steals in secret.  What different punishments were meted out for thieves and robbers that illustrates the different nature of their crimes?  See Exo 22:2-3, Pro 6:30-31, Mat 27:38, Joh 18:40.  What travesty of true justice did the religious and civil leaders of Israel commit in treating the holy and loving Son of God, the Shepherd of God’s sheep, as a robber, and even exchanging a robber’s life for His to have Him crucified with other robbers?  What is the irony that they treated Him as a robber?  I.e., in the eyes of God and His justice, who were the real robbers?  See Mat 21:13,38, 23:25; cf. Zep 3:4.

What evidence did Jesus present to the multitude of the hypocrisy and pretense of an armed force sent to arrest Him there in the middle of the night?  See again Mat 26:55.  Does the teaching of a Rabbi in a place of worship equate to the violent aggression of a robber?  What is the answer to Jesus’ implied question that if He was guilty of such crimes warranting the force now sent to seize Him, why then didn’t they seize Him during the light of the day while He was teaching in the temple in view of everyone?  See Joh 3:19-20.  What does Luke record that Jesus also said at that time to describe the truth behind His seizure?  See Luk 22:53 and note the literal reading in the NAS text note or the KJV.  Because of the self-evident nature of the light of the truth, what does this teach us about the way that the powers of darkness have always sought to overcome that light?  In what many ways is this true for how they have advanced so many of the evils we see in the world today?  Although there is a power in darkness that may for an hour overcome the light, what hope do we have that it is only for an hour?  See Mal 4:1-2 and consider that after every darkness of night there is a dawning of the sun that chases away that darkness, as evidenced even in this situation by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead; cf. Joh 1:5 and NAS note.  See also Rev 22:5.

What else did Jesus say in Mat 26:56 to confirm that God is still in complete control, even when the darkness may seem to have the upper hand for a given time?  Consider that the religious leaders and scholars at that time could not comprehend how the Scriptures of the prophets were being fulfilled by their own actions through the events that were then taking place; is it possible, and even probable, that we too may not comprehend the way the Scriptures are being fulfilled by events in our own day, and even through our own lives?  Considering that God is sovereign to accomplish His purposes whether we are with Him or against Him, and He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, what is the importance of seeking truth and walking in its light, as well as the foolishness and danger of knowing the truth, but turning our hearts away from it by choosing our own way rather than God’s?  See 2Th 2:9-12 and think: no matter how hard we suppose the Father’s will to be, or how much we may seek to accomplish our own, is it possible in the end for our will to prevail?

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The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God

  • What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
  • From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
  • Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
  • What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
  • Does blood alone atone for sin?
  • How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
  • To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
  • Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
  • What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?


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