- Common Material shared between the gospel accounts
- Uniquely Matthew
- Uniquely Mark
- Uniquely Luke
- Uniquely John
We are looking at Luke’s view of the arrest of Jesus but we will put the picture together with help from Luke’s friends. Notice Luke’s “but even as Jesus said this . . . ” This emphasizes the sudden appearance of “the crowd”. Literally Luke writes, “And as He was yet speaking, behold, a crowd!” Behold, while He was speaking a crowd appears. Mark writes immediately, but immediately in Mark’s writings is a sign of one of Mark’s favourite words. So it does not carry the weight it could have if he didn’t use it so much. Everything is “immediately” as far as Mark is concerned.
Suffice to say there was a sudden appearance of a crowd, and who was in that crowd? Matthew tells us they were a crowd of men sent by the leading priests and elders of the people while Mark adds that they were sent by the teachers of religious law as well. Luke just calls them “the crowd”. Then later he adds, “Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for Him.” John tells us, “The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards”. Well isn’t that interesting! These people are sent by the leading priests, the elders and the teachers of the law and the pharisees, and then lo and behold, the leading priests and the elders show up. My assumption is they were busting to see the outcome of their plot. And besides what would the high priest’s servant be doing there if the high priest himself were not there too. The Sanhedrin were there en masse. This is a highly significant moment and they want to be in on the act to see that all goes according to their plan.
Matthew records Judas “came straight up to Jesus” and began with the word “Rabbi”. According to Mark it happened as soon as they arrived. Luke has a more nonchalant Judas walking over to Jesus and kissing him without apparently any word of greeting. But of course we know from the others the word ‘rabbi’ was used. Teacher, guru, respected one. An interesting way to treat your rabbi, teacher, the one you respect so much. Betrayed with a kiss. We will deal with the kiss in more detail when we analyze Luke’s differences. The kiss – was a prearranged signal according to Matthew and Mark. Luke omits informing us that it was pre-arranged signal in his efforts to get to what is important from his point of view to tell us. John’s account adds for us the fact that when they approached Jesus there was some introductory exchange of words and when Jesus used the tetragrammaton, the “I Am” saying, he records the fact that the whole temple guard fell over at Jesus’ use of the “unmentionable” word “I AM”. Each of these gospel writers have something they want to tell us and we are the richer for it. We will deal with “the kiss”, later from Luke’s perspective on it.
All gospel accounts tell us the high priest’s servant’s ear was cut off. That’s right, CUT OFF, i.e. separated from his head. Only Luke and John tell us it was his RIGHT ear. A bit drastic don’t you think. Matthew and Mark tell us it was “one of the men with Jesus” who swung the sword. Luke tells us it was one of the [twelve] disciples and John tells us it was Peter. John adds the name of the high priest’s servant, it was Malchus. Of course none of these accounts contradict each other because all are true. Each gospel writer is telling the story from their perspective and in a way that fits with their purposes and themes. They each have particular things they wanted to point out about what happened.
Interestingly, Luke is the only one who tells us Jesus healed the ear. Now you have to admit that is appropriate. I won’t dig into the whys and wherefores now. We will leave that for when we look at Luke’s details. I am merely pointing out the big picture for you. Also it is only Luke who includes the “That’s enough” statement. Does that sound familiar to you?
Jesus comments on them treating him like a dangerous revolutionary and yet He had been teaching every day in the temple. They had had ample opportunity to take Him in the midst of His teaching. All three synoptic gospels record this detail. We know already from our study earlier in Luke that they were afraid of the crowd reaction. Arresting Jesus in the middle of teaching at temple would have stirred up too much crowd support so they looked for an opportunity to do it. Luke tells more about the nature of that moment they chose. More later.
I won’t focus on the additions of Matthew and Mark. I have told you before we are primarily concerned with Luke’s account. I have put the pieces together from all four for you now so that you can see how the fuller picture develops when we look at all four gospels. I would suggest you assemble all the pieces in a chronological, step by step summary of the action as you see it. Doing that will indelibly imprint it on your mind for the future.
Suffice to draw your attention to Matthew’s words focusing on the bigger picture of what Jesus could have done in calling the angels to His assistance and the fact that these events are found to be Scriptural because they fulfill the words of the prophets. Now that tells you something about one particular theme of Matthew, doesn’t it? But my purpose is not to analyze the detail of Matthew at this point. Luke is our focus for now.
Note also Mark’s interesting addition. “One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.”
Some think this was Mark himself and he has recorded it this way so as to allude to the fact that he ran away in fear. Others think it was John, the beloved disciple, and the youngest of the disciples; others, that it was James, the brother of our Lord. Still others think it was not any of the twelve disciples. Actually we don’t know exactly who he was and it is merely speculation to think it was Mark or John or James or whoever really. But the fact remains that only Mark included this in his gospel. The question is why? I will leave the question with you to ponder until such time as I gem Mark.
In the next Gems we will begin look at Luke’s account of this fascinating passage in detail.
Jesus took time to heal the ear of the enemy arresting him! Would I? Are u too busy/angry to help an enemy bleeding today?Ian Vail
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.James D. Miles
Two things define you. Your reaction when you are up against it and your treatment of others who can’t do a thing for you.Ian Vail
Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it makes you free!Anon