- Common Material shared between the gospel accounts
- Uniquely Matthew
- Uniquely Mark
- Uniquely Luke
- Uniquely John
Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for Him.”Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” He asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest Me? Why didn’t you arrest Me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:52-53)
These constitute two interesting verses, full with symbolism and intrigue. Jesus Himself now addresses His antagonists. The elders and the leading priests are present at the arrest. I am not surprised that the High Priest was in attendance. He was so intent on having Jesus arrested, he would not have missed the chance to witness the moment. The Sanhedrin are well represented with two groups out of three represented. Jesus addresses the Captains of the Temple guard as well. These are not Roman soldiers (although Roman soldiers were present — see John 18:3) but rather a couple of squads from the Temple guard. There are at least two squads because “captains” are mentioned in the plural. Therefore there had to have been at least 16 soldiers present, as there were 8 soldiers to a squad. There were at least one squad of Roman soldiers and two squads of Temple guards. The size of a squad smaller than the centurion was an eight-man unit called a contubunium. So there were possibly as many as 24 soldiers present in addition to the others who were tagging along.
As a result, Jesus commented on the irony of it all, that they should come out in such force to arrest Him. It seemed overkill to say the least. Here come the crowd of hangers-on, as well as members of the leading priests and elders, the Pharisees, the captains of the Temple guard, Jesus comments on them treating Him like a dangerous revolutionary, that they should come “armed to the teeth” and so many in number. Clearly they were taking no chances of anything going wrong this time. The Sanhedrin were desperately wanting Jesus to be removed from the scene. But they wanted to do it in such a way that the crowd would not get upset. This is really the end result of the meeting they all had, which is described in Luke 22:1-6.
The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest Him when the crowds weren’t around.Luke 22:2-6
Is it clear enough for you what had been going on? Jesus said, “Why didn’t you arrest Me in the Temple? I was there every day.” It was all so predictable, they didn’t need to go to all this subterfuge. He taught daily in the Temple.They had had ample opportunity to take Him in the midst of His teaching. All three synoptic gospels record this detail. Arresting Jesus in the middle of teaching at the temple would have stirred up too much crowd support for Jesus and opposition to the Sanhedrin. They were afraid of the people and afraid too of the reaction of the Romans if they suddenly had a religious issue on their hands. Especially one where the people were claiming Jesus was a king. The Roman attitude was there was no king / emperor apart from Caesar. Hence they sought to arrest Him when the crowds were not around. The best time being in the dead of night.
Jesus asks the chief priests and the elders and the officers of the Temple guard specifically if they consider Him a revolutionary or an insurrectionist or a robber or a bandit? These words are in the prominent place in the sentence — “as if against a revolutionary or an insurrectionist or a robber”. This question has a touch of ridicule about it. Surely you don’t think of Me that way? If so, why didn’t you seize me in the Temple in broad daylight where the true authority of the Temple guard lay. But no, Jesus and they knew what was behind all of this action. Jesus then says literally, “But this is your hour.” What did Jesus mean by that statement? There is some debate (as usual).
1) This is the hour of their choice in accord with the plan they have hatched.
2) This is the hour of darkness when evil deeds are done. This is in accord with John 13:30.
3) This is YOUR hour, I.e., The one granted you by God, to allow your plan to succeed because it is actually in accord with His plan.
The plan and time fits because it is undercover of darkness. It fits the motivation of the Sanhedrin because their deeds are characterized by darkness, i.e., evil and in accord with satan’s purposes. The time when the dark forces of evil are at large is fitting for YOUR hour. This is all very appropriate. Finally your intentions are brought into the open. Well, almost; not in broad daylight but under the cover of the night.
Nothing will change in your life until you identify who is responsible for your behavior. YOU!A R Bernard
It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped!Rick Godwin
When mediocrity becomes the accepted norm, excellence dies a painful death.Anon
Were God to answer your wish to suddenly appear, and set the world to rights by eradicating all evil, how long would you last?David Riddel
If we are not seeking the Lord, the Devil is seeking us.Charles Spurgeon
Never give the devil a ride; he always wants to drive.Charles Spurgeon