“Christ’s Passion:  His Arrest”    Mark 14:43-52                    May 18, 2008

 

SI:  Last week we began that part of Mark and the other Gospels that the church

   has called the Passion of Christ.  Passion is an old word for suffering.

 

Christ’s passion, his suffering, began in the Garden of Gethsemane

   when Mark tells us “He began to be deeply distressed and troubled.”

   Jesus himself said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

In Gethsemane God revealed to Jesus how terribly he would suffer by bearing

   the guilt of our sin and the wrath of God for our sin.

   Jesus was almost crushed under that load of guilt and wrath.

 

But Jesus emerged from his time of prayer with His Father strengthened.

   From that point on Jesus was not overwhelmed emotionally by anything faced.

   Even looking at his sleeping disciples did not fall apart.

Watched over them for a moment until he heard the voices and saw the lights

   of a crowd approaching the quiet garden.

 

At that point he woke up his disciples again. 

   He said, “Rise, let us go!  Here comes my betrayer.”

   That’s where our reading starts this morning.

 

 

 


INTRO:  How should a Christian respond to unjust treatment?

 

Many Scripture passages that answer that question.

There are those Psalms that say over and over, “Wait on the Lord.”  Psalm 37

   Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;

   do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

   Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

There are those letters of Paul, like Philippians, in which he is rejoicing

   over the unjust treatment he has received from the of enemies of the faith.

 

There are the words of Jesus himself in Matthew 5, sermon on the mount.

   You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'  But I tell you, Do not resist

   an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if

   someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone

   forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not

   turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

 

In addition to these Scripture passages are all of the stories of Christians through

   the centuries who have actually lived the spirit of these passages.

During English Reformation, professor at Cambridge named Thomas Bilney.

   Through study, discovered Gospel.  God saves by grace through faith in Christ.

   Started to preach good news.  Arrested.  After quick trial, sentenced to be burned.

As he was going to the stake, praying, quoting Scripture.

   The crowd that had assembled to see him die was deeply moved.

   Started to say—this is a good man, doesn’t deserve to die.

 

Several monks there who had testified against Bilney in trial.

   When saw the emotion of crowd, got worried, whispered to Bilney.

   If people blame us for your death, going to have negative affect on offerings.

   Saying this to a man testified against, whose death cheering for.

Bilney didn’t say:  You’re worried about your income?  Your hostile testimony!

 

Right before the fire was lit, Bilney said to the crowd,

   “Good folks, be not angry against these men for my sake,

   as though they be the authors of my death, it is not they.”

Bilney knew that it was ultimately God’s will for him to die.

   Died with kindness toward his enemies, trusting in the sovereignty of God,

   using the weapons of prayer and faith to the very end.

 

So how should a Christian respond to unjust treatment?

   We have before us the answer of Scripture

   and the answer of the lives of thousands of believers and martyrs

   who have lived those Scriptures.

Trusted the Lord to vindicate.  Refused to fret, worry—rejoiced.

   Refused to get revenge, even with words—gave generously to people

   who had taken so much from them—even their freedom and lives.

 

But—when we are wronged, when we are treated unjustly—

   Our immediate response is—I have to defend my rights.

I know what the Bible says, but—

   but this is really bad, but I can’t become a doormat,

   but I have to set boundaries, but I’ve got to stand up to this.

 

Every fiber of our being goes against teaching of Bible—

   wait on the Lord, fret not because of evil schemes against us,

   turn other cheek, give to those who wrong you, rejoice in persecution.

Those commands are downright painful and absolutely impossible to keep—

   as a result, suffer from all the worry, fretting, anger, revenge, bitterness,

   that we unleash in our own souls.

 

What does this have to do with Jesus’ arrest?  Simply this:

 

Jesus Christ’s arrest enables you to respond to unjust treatment

   in a God-honoring way.

Enables you to keep all of these amazing, impossible commands of God.

   There are real spiritual benefits that flow to you from Jesus Christ’s arrest.

   Every part of Jesus’ passion was for you—not just the cross.

 

His arrest, was for you. 

   Marked the beginning of unjust treatment at hands of men.

If you respond in faith, will receive benefits from it.

   Particular benefit—

   be enable to respond to unjust treatment in a God-honoring way.

 

Let’s look at his arrest.  For study, consider under two headings:

   1.  Jesus’ arrest was substitutionary.

   2.  Jesus’ arrest is exemplary.


 

MP#1  Jesus’ arrest was substitutionary.

Our next door neighbor is a good woman—she is kind, loving, friendly.

   She’s a grandmother—in fact, just imagine your grandmother as I tell this story.

About a year ago she stopped by her granddaughter’s elementary school at lunch.

   Got a pass in the office, went into the cafeteria, ate lunch with granddaughter.

   Her former daughter-in-law, the girl’s mother, who is divorced from her son,

   and estranged from family found out about this visit and called sheriff.

She claimed that the grandmother had tried to abduct the grandchild.

 

Our neighbor had no idea this was going on until a deputy showed up at house.

   Arrested her, put handcuffs on her in own driveway, took her to sheriff’s office.

She was exonerated, charges were dropped.

   But she told us how humiliating it was to be arrested that way—

   to be treated like a criminal.  She said that if sheriff had called, said she was

   under arrest, she would have driven right down and turned herself in.

Even though her name was cleared, the humiliation of the arrest lingered. 

 

All four Gospels record Jesus’ arrest, each one adds or leaves out different details.

   But Matthew, Mark, and Luke all careful to record one detail, Jesus’ words.

   “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?”

Another translation says:

   “Have you come against me as a robber with swords and clubs.  KJV “thief”

This word means robber or thief, also means rebel, terrorist, bandit.

   It’s a violent person who cares nothing for laws of God or men.

 

That’s how Jesus was arrested—like a violent criminal.

Jesus pointed out that this was totally unnecessary in his case.

   “Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching but you did not arrest me.”

He was a public person, nothing to hide, not violent, respectful of authority.

   But Jesus was arrested like a robber and rebel.

 

Why was Jesus arrested this way?

Most obvious answer is that authorities didn’t want to risk a public scene.

   Often told in Gospels that they were afraid of the crowds listening to him.

   That shows that they really knew had no legal grounds to arrest Jesus.

If they really believed they had a just case against him, would have arrested

   and dealt with the crowds by saying—he will have his day in court.

   On one level, arrested like a criminal because criminals were arresting him.

Knew that they could not risk doing things legally and openly.

But there is a deeper reason that Jesus himself gave for this kind of arrest.

   “The Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

There was a prophetic fulfillment that took place when Jesus was arrested

   as a robber and rebel.  What prophecies?  Isaiah 53 certainly one.

   “He as numbered with the transgressors.”

It was God’s will because Jesus’ arrest was an essential part of his work as Savior.

 

This is the reason:  Jesus’ arrest was substitutionary.

   Before God saved you, you were by nature a robber and a rebel in His eyes.

The essence of sin is rebellion.  It’s insurrection against God and His law.

   It’s saying:  God can’t tell me what to do.  I’ll do what I want to do.

   I’ll pursue my goals, my pleasure with my time, my money, my talents, my body

   It’s the sprit of Adam and Eve we’ve inherited—that says, I’m going to eat fruit.

 

Sin is also robbery.  Robbing God of honor due to him as Creator.

   Refusing to see all of life as a gift to be used for His honor.

 

What does God do when his patience runs out?  He arrests people. 

Death is God’s arrest of rebels and robbers.

   The jail he puts them in his hell.   

   Hell where people await their final sentence on the day of judgment.

 

That was your fate, but Jesus arrested in your place, as rebel and robber you are

   He was numbered with the transgressors.

   His arrest was the beginning of the injustice he suffered for you.

If you have faith in Jesus.  Trust him, give your life to him, can be assured

   that your death won’t be an arrest for judgment, but a doorway to heaven.

 

How does believing in the substitutionary work of Jesus

   help you respond in the right way to unjust treatment?

How does this help you wait on Lord, not fret over plans of evil people,

   rejoice in sufferings, and turn the other cheek, bless and not curse?

Does so in two ways:

 

It humbles you. 

   Look at Jesus’ arrest—that should have been me.

I was a rebel and a robber in God’s eyes. 

   But instead of getting what I deserved, Jesus suffered injustice for me.

 

The knowledge that Jesus got what y deserve can’t help but humble you

   so that you don’t overreact when you are wronged.

I mentioned Thomas Bilney’s martyrdom a few minutes ago.

When you read the stories of the martyrs, interesting how rarely they condemn

   the people who are killing them. 

Usually, there is a deep humility as they

   express amazement at God’s mercy to them in Christ. 

 

Knew man in Florida church, cheated by business partner.

   Talking about it said:  “God has been so good to me.”

   Humility prevented him from tearing himself apart with violent reaction.

 

It raises you.

It gives you a tremendous confidence.

   The big issue of life is settled.  Jesus has suffered arrest for me, I am free.

   Death no longer summons to judgment, it’s a doorway to freedom.

 

And if death can’t hurt me, then what else can really hurt me?

   Can unjust treatment by people really hurt me in eternal sense? 

   No, it can’t.  It can hurt me a lot here. 

But because Jesus suffered for me, suffering injustice here

   at the hands of men can’t do eternal harm.

 

Do you believe that Jesus is your substitute?

Do you believe that everything he suffered he suffered for you

   he suffered on account of your sins, so that you would not have to suffer?

When you believe that, it’s the first step toward responding to unjust treatment

   in a way that glorifies God. 


 

After you believe in Jesus’ substitution, you have the power to follow his example.

   You can’t follow his example first—his example will crush you—it’s too great.

   But if you start by believing he suffered for you—really believe that—

   push it down deep into your soul—that give you power to follow his example.

So let’s see how Jesus’ arrest is exemplary.

 

MP#2  Jesus’ arrest is exemplary.

What should it actually look like when a Christian is responding in a godly

   way to unjust treatment?  Jesus’ arrest is our example.  Two things stand out:

I’m going to cheat a little bit and look at Matthew and Luke’s accounts of the arrest,

   because they fill in some details that Mark doesn’t include.

 

1.  When you are treated unjustly, you must be kind to your enemies.

Judas was one of Jesus’ trusted disciples.  In fact, he was the treasurer.

   He had witnessed all miracles, heard all the teaching.

   Had been sent out by Jesus to preach Gospel.

   In ministry had cast out demons, seen people repent and believe.

 

But in his heart he didn’t love God, he loved other things.

   So Judas betrayed Jesus for money.

In those days before photography, faces not well known, even of celebrities.

   Since the arrest was to happen at night, had to be a signal to identify Jesus.

   Judas chose the kiss of greeting.

 

Jesus knew what Judas had done.  Said to disciples, here comes my betrayer.

   But what was Jesus’ response to Judas’ kiss and betrayal.

   Luke tells us Jesus said:  “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

   Matthew tells us Jesus said:  “Friend, do what you came for.” 

 

Jesus laid Judas’ betrayal right in front of him.

   “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

This was the truth spoken in love.

   It was Jesus’ attempt to bring Judas to his senses and to repentance. 

 

When you are wronged, kindness often requires you to point out the wrong.

   Sometimes we don’t want to do that.  More satisfying to tell other people

   how this person has wronged us, instead of confronting them.

And when we do confront, often done in a way to vent our anger.

 

Truthfulness requires you to point out wrongs.

But even as the wrong is pointed out, words must be such that an offer

   of pardon is extended.  Person should know from your words, tone, demeanor,

   that if they asked forgiveness, would get it.

 

Jesus wasn’t being sarcastic when he said:  “Friend, do what you came for.” 

   He was calling Judas’ attention to their former relationship as friends.

Implied in these words was a final offer of pardon Jesus was extending.

   Even in that last moment, after terrible act of betrayal,

   Jesus was signaling that he would forgive him if he repented.

 

Jesus didn’t have to do that.

   Could have said, “Traitor, do what you came for.”  “Evil man”  “Satan”

   Could have condemned him.

Instead Jesus was true to his calling.  He did not come to condemn but to save.

 

This is exactly what Jesus expects of you.

   Wants you to be kind to your enemies who treat you unjustly.

   Especially in your words.  Words have to convey Christ-like kindness.

   Can’t be harsh.  Can’t be condemning and judgmental.

 

Whether or not they respond to your kindness is in God’s hands.

   Have to leave it there.  Judas didn’t respond to Jesus’ word, “Friend.”

   But sometimes God uses that kindness, even years later to bring repentance.

You are simply called to be faithful.

 

2.  When you are treated unjustly you must rely on God’s protection.

Jesus had warned Peter and others to watch and pray.  Knew test coming.

   Instead they slept.  Suddenly woke up, Jesus was surrounded.

One disciple (know Peter) pulled out sword, tried to cut off head, got an ear.

 

Jesus said to pray—use spiritual weapon—Peter chose a weapon of the world.

Peter thought he was being faithful by waving sword around.

   Jesus told him he had it all wrong, had to rely on God.

   It was not God’s will to use a sword.  Wanted disciples to trust Him.

 

When unjustly treated, are you inclined to fight or rely on God to defend you?

   What’s your first response?  Is it to pray or is it to fight?

Do you first say, I believe the Lord defend me, or do you plot your strategy?

John Calvin was a lawyer before he became a minister and theologian.

He says this about Peter using his sword when he should have been praying.

   “All (Christians) who are impelled by their restlessness and excessive anxiety to stretch out

   their hands to forbidden remedies for evils, do unquestionably remove the provision of God.”

 

If your motive for fighting unjust treatment is restlessness and excessive anxiety,

   if it’s anger, if it’s defending your rights or making someone pay—

   you will inevitably reach out and grab a sword and start swinging.

You will try to take care of things your own way.

   You’ll make use of a remedy for evil that God doesn’t want you to use.

   When you do that, will miss the provision God has in place for your deliverance.

 

Won’t be able to say—

   I was wronged, I waited on the Lord just like Psalm 37 says, look what God did!

   I was wronged, I turned the other cheek just like Matt 5,  and look what God did!

Because you’ve rushed forward with own plan of attack.

 

There was a couple at Covenant Seminary, while he was in school,

   she worked as engineer at a plant.  Saw some practices that alarmed her.

   Told her boss and was fired—a great injustice. 

Friends counseled patience and prayer.  Started sending resumes—this black mark.

   No one would even give her an interview. 

   Finally got one with an excellent company. 

She said to interviewer—I have to explain this firing on my resume.

   Stopped.  I’ve done homework.  I know why you were fired. 

   You are just the kind of employee we want. 

She was able to see God work.

 

This doesn’t mean that Christians can’t seek lawful redress for wrongs committed.

   Examples of that in the Bible—Paul appealing to Caesar.

But question of motive must be always before you.

   The desire to follow God’s will and trust his protection must be foremost.

   That sometimes means you have to bear the cross of injustice for a time,

   as Jesus did, with faith that God will defend you.

 

Doesn’t mean thing will work out as you expect—will get the job, get vindicated.

   You might die.  Christians have died under unjust treatment—like Bilney.

   That might be God’s protection, take home to heaven.

But if trusting, will see God’s hand.


CONC: 

 

Part of Jesus passion was his arrest for you.

He was taken as a criminal.

   The holy and good Son of god was treated like a robber and rebel in your place,

   so that God would never treat you that way.

 

Do you believe that?  Are you living it?

   If you do , it will give you humility and hope when you face injustice.

 

And you can say:  Like my Lord, I’m going to face this injustice in the same way—

   with kindness toward my enemies, trusting God’s protection.

 

May that be your commitment by his grace.