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A Synopsis of Paper 183: The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

The Master awakened Peter, James and John and suggested that they return to their tents to rest. Back at the camp, the apostles slept but the Greeks were still awake. Jesus unsuccessfully tried to convince them all to return to their tents. Failing to disperse them, Jesus went to sit by an olive press near the entrance of Gethsemane, hoping to avoid a confrontation between his followers and those who were coming to arrest him.

Meanwhile, Judas went to the captain of the temple guards. A delay in Jerusalem caused the guards to miss finding Jesus in the Mark home. This upset Judas. He knew that only two apostles had been armed during supper, but sixty followers and many weapons were available in Gethsemane.

Judas and the guards returned to the temple. Judas told the Jewish rulers that they would have to look for Jesus in Gethsemane. He requested armed guards. Jewish authorities took this request to the Roman commander, who refused and sent them to his superior officer. They finally obtained permission for the armed guards from Pontius Pilate, who granted their petition, thinking that he could later undo any harm that might be committed  that night.

About sixty people accompanied Judas to Gethsemane. Judas walked ahead of the group, hoping to make it look like he was not associated with the others. He pretended that he was coming to warn Jesus of the pending arrest with the thought that this might keep the other apostles from turning against him in anger.

When Peter, James, and John saw the armed band approaching, they rushed to the olive press along with thirty disciples. Jesus made one last effort to save Judas from betraying him. Before Judas could speak, Jesus approached a Roman guard, asked whom he was looking for, and identified himself as Jesus of Nazareth.

But Judas wanted to make a show of his part in the betrayal to ensure his claim on financial compensation. Judas stepped up to Jesus placing a kiss on his brow, saying, "Hail, Master and Teacher." Jesus replied, "Friend, is it not enough to do this! Would you even betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"

The apostles were stunned. Jesus again asked the guards who they sought. Again the captain said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said, "I have told you that I am he. If, therefore, you seek me, let these others go their way. I am ready to go with you."

One of the guards began to tie Jesus' hands behind his back. This upset Peter and the others so much that they drew their swords and rushed forward, but Jesus forbade them. The captain feared that these followers would come later to rescue Jesus and ordered their arrest, but they fled. John Mark ran to David and informed him of what was happening. Together they woke the other apostles.

John Zebedee and Peter followed Jesus and the guards while the others met by the olive press to decide what should be done. Simon Zelotes made an impassioned case for trying to rescue Jesus. Nathaniel reminded them of the Master's teachings about non-resistance and his recent instruction that they should save their own lives so they could preach the gospel to the world. James Zebedee reminded them how Jesus had forbidden the use of force during the arrest. Thomas convinced them that they could do nothing to save Jesus, since Jesus himself had refused both human and divine intervention.

The men were persuaded to separate. David agreed to remain in camp to field messages. The apostles went into hiding in Bethany, Bethphage, and Jerusalem. Shortly after daylight, Jude arrived in camp and learned that his brother had been placed under arrest.

A dispute arose between the Jewish captain of the guards and the Roman captain of the soldiers about where Jesus was to be detained. The Jewish captain wanted Jesus taken to Caiaphas, the acting high priest, but the Roman guards were under orders to bring him before Annas, the former high priest. As they marched along discussing this issue, John Zebedee stepped up between the guards to be near his Master. The temple guards tried to arrest John, but the Romans stopped them. Since Roman law provided that any prisoner could have someone stand with him before his judges, the Roman captain ordered that John be allowed to accompany Jesus unmolested. Due to this intervention, John was able to be near Jesus throughout the trial and crucifixion, relaying information to David's messengers as events unfolded.

From the time of his arrest until his appearance before Annas, Jesus said nothing at all.

Great misunderstandings are associated with the events that ended the Master's life on earth. It was the will of the Father that Jesus should experience mortal life from birth to death, but God had nothing to do with the brutality and torture that were inflicted on Jesus. The inhuman and shocking final hours of Jesus' life were in no way the divine will of God; these cruelties were the work of evil men.

Just as ordinary people cannot expect to have their last hours on earth made easy by divine intervention, Jesus steadfastly refused to extricate himself from his situation by divine means.

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