In today’s passage, we reenter the story of Jesus Christ just after His agonizing prayer in Gethsemane when He submitted to the Father’s will to take His wrath in our place (see “Jesus and the Wrath of God”). And now, Judas arrives with an armed mob to arrest Him.
What we’ll see is something pretty simple, but important: Jesus fulfilled Old Testament Scripture by the way He conducted Himself during His arrest. By surrendering to the mob, Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies.
The Treachery of Jesus’ Arrest
The first thing we notice in Mark 14:43-52 is how treacherous and back-stabbing Jesus’ enemies were. It says that “Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs” (v. 43). Judas was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples who should have been praying with Him, but instead was off scheming with His enemies. (For more on Judas, see “How Could Judas Be So Close to Jesus & Still Betray Him?”.)
In verse 43, it also mentions that the mob came “from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.” These were the religious and national authorities in Israel. It was not a Satanic cult, radical Islamic terrorists or even the pagan Romans that came to arrest Jesus – it was the people who should have been on His side.
The Violence of Jesus’ Arrest
Another thing we notice is how violent Jesus’ enemies were. Verse 43 says there was “a crowd with swords and clubs.” They came armed, ready to take Jesus forcibly against His will. They came and “laid hands on him and seized him” (v. 46).
We also read that “one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear” (v. 47). This gives you a sense of the tense and violent atmosphere.
How Jesus Responds
Now, we come to Jesus’ response and the main point of this passage:
And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”-vv. 48-49
Jesus knew Judas, the religious elites and the mob were wrong, and He starts to point it out. But ultimately that’s not His purpose. His purpose was to “let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”
Two questions pop up from this. What Scripture was Jesus talking about? And why does it matter to us?
What Scripture Was Jesus Talking About?
There are hundreds of passages in the Old Testament that explicitly point to the coming Messiah that Jesus perfectly fulfilled. Here in Mark, He may have been referring to Psalm 41:9: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (referring to Judas). Or maybe Isaiah 53:8: “By oppression and judgment he was taken away.” He may also have been thinking of Zechariah 13:7, because He just quoted it earlier and that’s exactly what we see in our next verse: “And they all left him and fled” (v. 50).
Jesus fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. There’s no way it’s coincidental. Here are some things to consider:
- The Gospels were written while eye witnesses were still alive, so too many people could have said, “No, that’s not the way it went!” Yet this didn’t happen.
- Even if Jesus purposely steered His life to fulfill Scripture, there’s no way He could control everything. He could not control where He was born, when He was born, how He was executed, how much money Judas was paid for the betrayal, that the soldiers gambled over His clothes while He died or that none of His bones were broken.
- Experts have studied Old Testament prophecies to see if Jesus really fulfills them, and it has always held true. Jesus fulfills all the Scriptures.
Why Does It Matter to Us?
So, Jesus fulfilled Old Testament Scripture. But why does it matter? The apostles in the New Testament talked about this a lot and their conclusion was: “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20).
Jesus fulfilled Scripture, and that gives us yet another reason to repent from the ways of this world and devote ourselves to Him. It’s another reason for us to rest in Him for the forgiveness of sins. It’s another reason to live the Christian life and to have confidence when we share the gospel with unbelievers. He is the Messiah.
When it gets hard to be a Christian, remember that Jesus holds up because He perfectly fulfills the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
- Why is it important to note that the ones who came to arrest Jesus were the very ones who should have been on His side?
- How did Jesus fulfill Scripture in His arrest?
- What questions do you have about Jesus?
- Why does it matter that Jesus was indeed the prophesied Messiah?