When you think of it, why do we call this day good? If you ask me, over 2000 years ago, Jesus was having anything but a good day. But what was a horrific day for Jesus became the turning point of mankind’s history. The blood that He shed on that cross was the last blood sacrifice that humans ever needed to become clean again in the eyes of God. Jesus’s bad day became our Good Friday.
The music is now at crescendo. Each scene in these last hours of Jesus is climatic in this unfurling drama. Each gospel writer records their own version of Jesus’ arrest. One arrest – four different viewpoints.
John was standing right there as the Roman soldiers came stampeding into the garden. He was part of the inner circle that Jesus had asked to stand guard and pray with Him.
“After Jesus finished this prayer; he left with his disciples and went across the Kidron Valley to a place where there was a garden. Judas, the traitor, knew where this place was, for Jesus had gone there often with his disciples. The Pharisees and the leading priests had given Judas a large detachment of Roman soldiers and temple police to seize Jesus. Judas guided them to the garden, all of them carrying torches and lanterns and armed with swords and spears. Jesus, knowing full well what was about to happen, went out to the garden entrance to meet them. Stepping forward, he asked, “Who are you looking for?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. (Now Judas, the traitor, was among them.) He replied, “I am he.” And the moment Jesus spoke the words, “I am he,” the mob fell backward to the ground! So once more, Jesus asked them, “Who are you looking for?” As they stood up, they answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I told you that I am the one you’re looking for, so if you want me, let these men go home.” He said this to fulfill the prophecy he had spoken, “Father, not one of those you have given me has been lost.” Suddenly, Peter took out his sword and struck the high priest’s servant, slashing off his right ear! The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus ordered Peter, “Put your sword away! Do you really think I will avoid the suffering which my Father has assigned to me?””
John 18:1-11 TPT
John is the only writer to include the scene of Roman soldiers falling backward when Jesus spoke the words, “I AM HE.” The Roman army was the most powerful army in the world. These soldiers were trained to be sober, staunch and at attention at all times, but three simple words bowled them over. “I AM,” these words were first spoken to Moses. “I AM” “YAHWEH” They contained dynamite power spoken by an All Mighty Savior and they knocked a world power to their rumps. John thought this to be a significant part of the narrative so he recorded it to be memorialized through the centuries.
“No sooner had he finished speaking when suddenly a mob approached, and right in front of the mob was his disciple Judas. He walked up close to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss. For he had agreed to give the religious leaders a sign, saying, “The one I kiss is the one to seize.” Jesus looked at him with sorrow and said, “A kiss, Judas? Are you really going to betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When the other disciples understood what was happening, they asked, “Lord, shall we fight them with our swords?” Just then, one of the disciples swung his sword at the high priest’s servant and slashed off his right ear. Jesus stopped the incident from escalating any further by shouting, “Stop! That’s enough of this!” Then he touched the right side of the injured man’s head and the ear grew back —he was healed! Jesus turned to those who had come to seize him—the ruling priests, the officers of the temple police, and the religious leaders—and said, “Am I a criminal that you come to capture me with clubs and swords? Wasn’t I with you day after day, teaching in the temple courts? You could have seized me at any time. But in the darkness of night you have now found your time, for it belongs to you and to the prince of darkness.””
Luke 22:47-53 TPT
“At that moment Judas, his once-trusted disciple, appeared, along with a large crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent to arrest Jesus by order of the ruling priests and Jewish religious leaders. Now, Judas, the traitor, had arranged to give them a signal that would identify Jesus, for he had told them, “Jesus is the one whom I will kiss. So grab him!” Judas quickly stepped up to Jesus and said, “Shalom, Rabbi,” and he kissed him on both cheeks. “My beloved friend,” Jesus said, “is this why you’ve come?” Then the armed men seized Jesus to arrest him. But one of the disciples pulled out a dagger and swung it at the servant of the high priest, slashing off his ear. Jesus said to him, “Put your dagger away. For all those who embrace violence will die by violence. Don’t you realize that I could ask my heavenly Father for angels to come at any time to deliver me? And instantly he would answer me by sending twelve armies of the angelic host to come and protect us. But that would thwart the prophetic plan of God. For it has been written that it would happen this way.” Then Jesus turned to the mob and said, “Why would you arrest me with swords and clubs as though I were an outlaw? Day after day I sat in the temple courts with you, teaching the people, yet you didn’t arrest me. But all of this fulfills the prophecies of the Scriptures.” At that point all of his disciples ran away and abandoned him.”
Matthew 26:47-56 TPT
Matthew and Luke record the incident of Jesus healing the High Priest’s servant’s ear after it had been slashed off by one of the disciples. Tradition has it that it was Peter who drew the dagger and cut off the ear. Again, in the midst of a very bad day, Jesus paused to bring peace into a violent moment.
Matthew would have been one of those disciples who ran away from Jesus and abandoned Him in His hour of greatest need.
And finally, we come to Mark’s accounting.
“At that moment Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, along with a large crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent to arrest Jesus by order of the ruling priests, the religious scholars, and the Jewish leaders. Now, Judas, the traitor, had arranged to give them a signal that would identify Jesus, for he had told them, “Jesus is the man I will kiss. So grab him and take him safely away.” Judas quickly stepped up to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, my Teacher!” and he kissed him affectionately on both cheeks.
One of the disciples pulled out a sword and swung it at the servant of Caiaphas, the high priest, slashing off his ear. Jesus said to the mob, “Why would you arrest me with swords and clubs as though I were an outlaw? Day after day I sat with you in the temple courts, teaching the people, yet you didn’t arrest me then. But all of this fulfills the prophecies of the Scriptures.” At that point all of his disciples ran away and abandoned him. There was a young man there following Jesus, wearing only a linen sheet wrapped around him. They tried to arrest him also, but he slipped from their grasp and ran off naked, leaving his linen cloth in their hands.”
Mark 14:43-45, 47-52 TPT
Mark was the only one who recorded the incident of a young man who escaped arrest by running off naked. I’m so curious why Mark felt the need to memorialize this scene, but I know all scripture is God breathed. Who on earth would be wearing only a linen sheet to such a tragic event? He wasn’t a disciple because all those guys had fled for cover. This young man was someone who was going to stand by Jesus. Such a strange thing to include in this climactic event. I had to do my research. The word for linen cloth in the Greek is sindona. It is a cloth that was placed over a dead person before they are carried off for burial, so because of this word, many commentators suggest this may have been Lazarus. Lazarus lived near this garden, and he was the one whom Jesus had called forth from the dead just days before. Could it be?
One horrific arrest – four different viewpoints. One bad Friday = weeks, days, years, and centuries of Good Friday’s.