The Illegal Night Arrest
When we hear that someone has been arrested, our tendency is to conclude that they deserve to be there. After all, “Law and Order” is almost the default position among those committed to Romans 13:1 and the right of the government to use the sword of justice. But if we are going to hear God accurately in Scripture, we need to be careful to track his thought in the flow of his discussion. For example, Romans 13 was not written to Nero, the Roman Emperor who tyrannically ruled over Rome and the Empire. The Apostle Paul’s purpose was not to give Nero a justification for any of his brutal, cunning tactics.
In the early 60s when Paul wrote Romans, he was counseling the new rapidly growing minority in the city of Rome who had decided to follow Jesus to be obedient to the legitimate laws of Rome. He even told them, the same as Jesus did, to pay their taxes, but he also knew by experience that you could get thrown in jail unjustly because political rulers were arrogant, jealous, and could be murderous. He knew this because he knew about his Savior’s Gethsemane arrest.
“While Jesus was still talking to his disciples, Judas arrived, one of the Twelve, and he brought with him a crowd with swords and clubs. They came from the high priests, religious legal experts, and the elders. Now the one who betrayed him gave them this signal, ‘The one I kiss. He’s the one. Seize him and lead him away securely.’ So when he arrived, he immediately went to Jesus, ‘Rabbi!” And he kissed him. The men with Judas seized Jesus and took him into custody.
Now one of those standing near drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Then Jesus responded and said, ‘So you’ve come out like you were going to arrest a thief with swords and clubs? Daily I was with you in the Temple teaching. Why didn’t you seize me then? But the Scripture must be fulfilled!’ Then all his followers abandoned him. All fled.
Now there was a young man who was also following along. He wore nothing but a light linen garment. When they seized him, he fled away naked leaving his garment behind.” Mark 14:43-52
We don’t know who this young man was, but we do know that just as Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nakedness after sinning at the beginning of God’s Story in Genesis 3, this young man reveals the shame and guilt when we turn tail and run like all the disciples did in this instance.
We also need to see that this arrest was obviously illegal and shameful. I must never have any part with a mob that by stealth takes out innocent victims and excuses it on the basis that they are accomplishing a greater good. Jesus makes it clear his Father is writing the Story and that it will result in his Son becoming the sacrifice that will justly pay for all of our sins, but those who play the role of evil characters, like this midnight gang, will be held responsible before God’s throne for their wickedness.
LORD, thanks that the Story will go on and show that even these disciples who fled in the night in the end came out into the light of your resurrection and were willing to follow you even to death. And if John Mark is the young man who fled naked, thanks for using him to write this powerful account of your Son’s arrest.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!