“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?”
Jesus doesn’t take up arms, and his disciples flee. This is an interesting scenario. The disciples were willing to fight for Jesus against an armed crowd, but they were apparently too afraid to stand by peacefully while Jesus was arrested.
This is especially interesting in light of the earlier part of the story, when three of the disciples kept falling asleep while they were supposed to be supporting Jesus as he prayed. The disciples did not do well at that time either.
Perhaps if the disciples had been able to support Jesus in his prayers, they would have known better how to support him in his arrest and trial. As it was, they weren’t able to support Jesus on either occasion. They couldn’t support him because they didn’t yet understand God’s battle.
The Son of God did not come to start a physical rebellion. Neither his enemies nor his disciples understood that. Jesus came to conquer the world spiritually. His enemies couldn’t stand up to his teaching, and his disciples didn’t know how to support his spiritual battle.
By willingly dying for our sins and then rising from the dead, Jesus won the spiritual war. Jesus proved that violence, war, and actions like that will not save the world. Jesus had the spiritual power to do good in the face of evil—and that’s what saved the world.
Lord Jesus, you battled evil at the spiritual level, using your goodness. Help us to follow you in doing that. Teach us what is good, and guide us to do good when we face up to evil. Amen.
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