While Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, agonizing over His impending death, Judas Iscariot is on the other side of the Kidron Valley, conferring with the Temple officials. Judas knows that Jesus will be in the garden tonight, because He spoke of it earlier and often goes there to pray after a long day of teaching in the Temple. Judas tells the guards, “It will be dark, and difficult to see who is who, but I know Him well. I will go up to Him and greet Him with a kiss, and that will be the sign for you to arrest Him.” They set off on their mission, believing they are doing God’s work. Upon reaching Jesus and the other apostles, Judas walks boldly up to Jesus and kisses Him on both cheeks, saying brightly, “Hello, Rabbi!” “Do what you have come to do, and do it quickly,” Jesus responds. The other apostles quickly get to their feet and huddle together, wide awake now at the sound of soldiers’ feet and clanking swords. Lanterns bob through the trees of the garden, coming closer and closer. The soldiers march up to Jesus as He steps forward to acknowledge them. “Who do you seek?” He asks them. “Jesus of Nazareth,” comes the answer. “You are looking at Him,” Jesus tells them, and at His words, they all fall to their knees. He asks once more, “Who do you seek?” and once again the answer is “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus says, “I already told you I AM the one you seek. Now, let My apostles go. You have no quarrel with them.” In saying this, Jesus is ensuring the truth of the prayer He lifted up to God on behalf of His apostles, when He said, “I have not lost any of those You gave to Me.” But instead of turning away, the apostles draw nearer to Jesus. John says, “Rabbi, we have the swords You told us to bring. Should we fight?” As he says those words, Peter draws his sword and cuts off the ear of Caiaphas’ servant Malchus. But Jesus, calmly reaching over to Malchus and restoring his ear, says to them, “This is not the time to fight. Do you not understand that even now, if I requested it, My Father would send armies of angels to stand between us and danger? Should I go against God’s will and save Myself, knowing that it means all everything We have done is for nothing? No, put your sword away. Remember, if you go your way fighting, you will die in the same way.” Jesus turns to the men who have come to arrest Him and asks, “Do you think I AM dangerous and will try to kill you? Is that why you have all brought weapons? You could have arrested Me any day while I was teaching in the Temple. But darkness loves darkness. Just know that everything happening now is a fulfillment of prophecy.” Jesus allows the guards to arrest Him, and all His apostles run away. A boy who was watching from behind a tree also runs, and is chased by one of the guards. But he slips out of his tunic and escapes through the trees naked.
Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-12