The Arrest
Matthew 26:46-56
Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that does betray me.…

The words, "Rise, let us be going," are not inconsistent with those just uttered, "Sleep on now, and take your rest." These latter words had rather a moral significance than a physical. They meant, "I have no longer any need of your watching." But just as he utters them, he catches the gleam of arms through the trees, and exclaims, "Rise." Describe the scene - the measured tread of the Roman cohort; the glare of torches and lanterns, and the swarming rabble come out to see an arrest and take part in a riot; the traitor in front, guiding the party to the well known retirement of Jesus; the kiss indicating the Person of the Lord, lest he should escape or lest some of the disciples should give themselves up in his stead; the reply of the Lord, the emphasis being on the words," Betrayest thou? the sudden panic among the captors; and the violence of Peter.

I. This arrest is THE RESULT OF CHRIST'S EFFORTS TO DO GOOD. His conduct had been conciliatory to the point of meekness. He had been wise, gentle, patient, and persistently beneficent. And this is the result. And every one who has new truth to declare, new methods to employ, reforms to introduce, should recognize that he will be opposed by the combined forces of ignorance, pride, self-interest, and sloth. It is the consolation and encouragement of those who endeavour to improve matters around them, and meet with contempt and ill-treatment for doing so, that they share the lot of him whose reward for seeking to bless mankind was that he was arrested as a common felon.

II. THE MAGNAMIMITY OF CHRIST UNDER ARREST, as shown by his healing Malchus and shielding his disciples. When efforts to help other men have only brought calamity on one's self, there is strong provocation to resentment and bitterness. It is only the few who, when misinterpreted and ill used by ignorance and malignity, can retain any loving care for others.

III. Observe how the various elements of THE DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT find an actual place in the life of Christ.

1. His substitution is pictured in his now giving himself up and shielding his disciples. The Jews clearly understood that he was the head of the movement. Peter's obtrusive violence did not divert their attention for a moment. He was not the kind of man to lead a great movement. Jesus was the dangerous Person. And on his side Jesus acknowledged they were right. It was he who had gathered these men together. But for him, they would have been dreaming at their nets on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus therefore steps to the front, and takes upon himself all the responsibility. And in this the disciples see a picture of his whole work of substitution. This night in the garden represents to them the hour of darkness; and always in every hour of darkness they see Jesus stepping to the front, and saying, If ye seek me, let these go their way."

2. The voluntariness of his sacrifice is also brought out. It was at this point it was especially brought out whether or not he was willing to die, whether he would flee, hide, fight, or surrender himself. Everything is proof of his willingness - his going that night as usual to the garden, his definite resignation to God's will, his meeting his captors, his avowal that he was the Person they sought, his refusal to allow Peter to defend him. Voluntariness was an essential element in his work of atonement. In order to atone for our sin, he had to submit himself to the penalty of sin, to accept as righteously inflicted what was due to sin. Obviously it was needful that he should be a perfectly free agent in doing so. Had his death been compulsory, we could not know whether he was accepting it as righteously inflicted or not. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

WEB: Arise, let's be going. Behold, he who betrays me is at hand."

The Recognition of Good Intentions
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