"While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours."Luke 22:53(NASB)
During the hours before Christ's arrest, many things took place with great rapidity. After Jesus and His disciples had partaken of the Last Supper, Judas, who had been indwelled by Satan, left the Upper Room and returned to the Jewish leaders to betray Jesus into their hands. Jesus was not the Saviour he had expected and earlier in the day he had agreed to betray his Master into the hands of the Jews for 30 pieces of silver - the price of a slave in Old Testament times.
Knowing that his hour had come, Jesus took His followers into the Garden of Gethsemane where He agonised in prayer as the time for His sacrificial offering on the Cross drew ever nearer. He had warned them of what was to happen. Earlier, He had told them that the Son of man was soon to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men who would kill him, and on the third day, He would rise from the dead.
The other disciples were also confused, and although Jesus warned them to watch and to pray with Him, lest they fall into temptation, they were overcome with weariness and sorrow. For hours Jesus agonised in prayer, knowing that the hour of His death drew ever closer: "Father," He prayed, "If it is Your will, take this cup away from Me."
The cup Jesus was about to drink was His crucifixion, where the full force of God's wrath would be poured upon the Son of His love. But there was no other way to redeem fallen mankind and so Jesus also prayed, "Not my will but Thine be done." The Lord Jesus submitted Himself to His Father and willingly walked to the Cross for us - for without the shedding of His blood there would be no remission of sins for this fallen world.
In the dead of night, as Jesus finished praying, a great many people approached Him led by Judas - the betrayer. He came to Jesus and identified Him with a kiss. Temple officials and Roman soldiers came with swords and staves and horses to arrest Him and drag Him off to face many false trials and be accused by false witnesses, but Jesus said to them, "While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me." He was pointing out their cowardly hypocrisy, for they could have arrested him on many occasions as He taught the crowds in the Temple court. For over three years Jesus had been teaching and preaching openly in the Temple and across the entire nation, but they did not arrest him on those occasions because they feared the peoples' reaction.
Jesus was popular with the people because He healed the sick, taught them many things, told some good stories, and had fed them with bread and fishes - but His betrayal by one of the men that had accompanied Him throughout His ministry, emboldened the Jewish leaders to arrest Him. Nevertheless, they carried out their nefarious plan secretly and in the dead of night. He was taken immediately to be tried by various illegal courts before morning dawned - so that the unlawful sentences He received from each of the trials would be completed before the crowd realised what was really happening.
Jesus did not resist arrest because He knew why He had come into the world. He came from heaven to be a willing sacrifice for the sin of the world, but He exposed the cowardice and hypocrisy of his enemies and spoke the plain truth - that He was in the Temple every day and they did not lay hands on Him. Yet in the darkness of night, when no one was around these cowards came with all sorts of weapons and reinforcements to seize Him and arrest Him, and to falsely accuse and crucify Him. But Jesus continued to speak of His accusers, with some strong and sad prophetic words: "But this hour and the power of darkness are yours."
Jesus came into the world to redeem mankind. He came into the world to save His people from their sin. He came to rescue His own people, but they rejected Him and His hour had finally come, when He would be the sacrifice for sin. But the very hour that Christ would triumph over Satan, sin, death, and hell, was the same hour that He exposed the evil that was being perpetrated by the chief priests, the soldiers, the captains of the temple court, the scribes, the elders, and all the participants in this illegitimate arrest.
The goodness and truth of Christ's words and actions exposed the demonic evil lies of His enemy's words and actions. Not only did these cowardly people come to arrest Jesus under cover of darkness, but they were acting under the evil influence of Satan and the wicked powers of darkness.
The purity and truth of the Lord Jesus is contrasted with the polluted lies of those that came to arrest Him under the cover of darkness. He was the Light of the world and His radiant truth exposed the wicked hypocrisy of His opponents. His goodness exposed their evil. His light exposed their darkness. His truth exposed their lies and the hour of Christ's victory was the hour that the powers of darkness were defeated.
Heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You for sending Jesus to earth as the sacrifice for sin. Thank You that He was willing to suffer at the hands of evil men and to die on the Cross so that by grace through faith in His sacrificial offering, I might believe on His name and be saved from Satan and sin - death and hell. I pray that the hypocritical works of darkness that were happening during Christ's first coming and continue today, might be exposed, just as Jesus revealed the hypocrisy and lies of those that came to arrest Him in the garden of Gethsemane. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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