The Epilogue

13. Passion and Resurrection of Jesus, 26:1-28:20

iv] The arrest of Jesus


On the conclusion of Jesus' time of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas arrives with a mob who set about arresting Jesus. One of the disciples intervenes, but Jesus demands that he sheathe his sword. After addressing the improper nature, if not illegality, of the arrest, Jesus is taken in hand while the disciples head for cover.


Jesus passively accepts the consequences of the will of God, and does so in conformity with prophecy.


i] Context: See 26:1-16.


ii] Structure: The Arrest of Jesus:

The betrayal of Judas, v47-50;

"Do what you came for, friend."

An unnecessarily violent response, v51-54;

"All who take up the sword will perish by the sword."

Jesus addresses the improper nature of the arrest, v55-56;

"All this has taken place

that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled."


iii] Interpretation:

Emphasizing the improper, if not illegal, nature of Jesus' arrest, Matthew describes Judas arriving with a "crowd" sent from Israel's religious officials. They likely consist of temple police, and, as John tells us, Roman auxiliaries. Actually, Luke implies that some religious officials were there as well. Judas has arranged to identify Jesus with a kiss and does so with a show of affection. Interestingly, the compound word katefelhsen, is a strong verb meaning "to kiss with affection", so Judas makes a show of his actions. He addresses Jesus respectfully as Rabbi, even though Jesus has told his disciples not to use that address (Mann suggests it is a "studied insult").

Jesus' response to Judas is somewhat unclear, v50. Literally Jesus says "upon which you are coming." Is it a question or a statement? If a question, then Jesus is asking "Why are you here?", RSV, if a statement, then a verb must be assumed, "Do what you are here to do", NRSV. A statement seems likely. At this point Jesus is seized and in response, one of the disciples lashes out with his sword (more likely a dagger). John tells us that it was Peter, ever the action man, and that the officer who lost his ear was called Malchus. Jesus reminds Peter of a common saying of the time, and still with us today - "live by the sword; die by the sword" - and goes on to make the point that if he had need, the Father could commit twelve legions (72,000) of angels in his defense, cf., Jn.18:36. The disciples should know better than to interfere with the realization of God's plan for the salvation of the world.

Speaking to the improper, if not illegal, actions of the mob, Jesus points out to them that he has never hidden himself from the public, daily teaching in the temple, while they are acting as if he were a terrorist in hiding. Yet, although their behavior is improper, it aligns with the destiny of the Suffering Servant as foretold in the Scriptures, eg., Isa.53:5. The salvation of the world rests on the humiliation of Jesus.

The disciples now realize that the game is up and scatter.


iv] Synoptics

Matthew's account aligns with Mark 14:43-50, 52-52, other than v52-53. Luke, and especially John, record v52. The saying, v52b, is likely a common one and it is not unreasonable for Jesus to have employed it, given Peter's actions. As for v52a, Jesus' words are probably firmly part of the oral tradition available to Matthew and Luke.

Text - 26:47

The arrest of Jesus, v47-56: i] The betrayal of Judas, v47-50. As France notes, the fact that Matthew didn't mention when Judas left the disciples may imply that he went with them to Gethsemane and then reported where Jesus was to be found. Given the record of the other gospels, it seems more likely that Judas left the meal earlier that evening, knowing where Jesus would end up later that night. Matthew seems to imply that the arresting party is more a lynch-mob than lawful officers acting on a legal warrant. The mention of xulwn, "staffs" = clubs, coshes, cudgels (baseball bats), as part of the assembled armament, points to a lynch-mob. There is no mention of the presence of Roman auxiliaries, as found in John's account.

lalountoV (lalew) pres. part. "while [he was still] speaking" - [and he still] speaking. The genitive participle with the genitive pronoun "he" forms a genitive absolute construction, best treated as temporal, as NIV. The adverb eti, "still", indicates that the action is contemporary; "Before he had finished speaking", Rieu.

twn dwdeka adj. "[one] of the twelve" - [behold, judas, one] of the twelve [came]. The adjective serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, partitive.

meta + gen. "armed with [swords and clubs]" - [and] with [him a great crowd] with [swords and clubs]. The first use of the preposition expresses accompaniment / association, "with Judas was a large crowd", and the second is adverbial, expressing the manner of the crowd's coming; "they came equipped with swords and cudgels."

tou laou (oV) gen. "[the elders] of the people" - [from the chief priests and elders] of the people. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "over / who ruled over the people"


As Morris notes, it seems that the arresting party is only intent on taking Jesus into custody, so necessitating the signal of a friendly greeting in the form of a kiss. It is full moon, so Judas can easily pick Jesus out from the other disciples.

de "now" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, as NIV.

paradidouV (paaradidwmi) pres. part. "the betrayer" - the one betraying [him]. The participle serves as a substantive.

autoiV dat. pro. "with them" - [gave a sign] to them. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage; "The betrayer, on his part, had arranged a signal for them."

legwn (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Being anarthrous (without an article), the participle is likely to be adverbial, probably instrumental, expressing means; "he had arranged a signal for them by saying / telling them" Possibly just attendant on the verb "to give", redundant (not translated); "The betrayer had given them a signal, "Whom I kiss, he is the one", Berkeley.

o}n an + subj. "the one [I kiss]" - who if / ever = whomever [i may kiss, then he is the one you seek, arrest him]. A relative pronoun + an + subj. introduces an indefinite relative cause, sometimes, as here, with a conditional edge. "Judas had told them beforehand, 'Arrest the man I greet with a kiss'", CEV.


The image of betrayal presented here is one that has resinated through the years - frontal affection followed by a stab in the back. Nolland notes that the intensive verb katefelhsen, "kissed", "is used here either to mark the perfidy of betrayal with a kiss, or to suggest that the kiss was prolonged to make sure the crowd had time to mark their man."

proselqwn (prosercomai) aor. part. "going" - [and immediately] having come toward, approached. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say"; "he came up to Jesus and said."

tw/ Ihsou (oV) dat. "Jesus" - jesus, [he said, hail / greeting rabbi, and he kissed him]. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to come toward." "Hello teacher", CEV.


Jesus "lets tragedy take him", D&A.

ef (epi) + acc. "[do what you came] for" - [but/and jesus said to him, friend] upon [which you are coming]. Here expressing the not so common sense of goal / end-view / purpose; "Undertake the purpose for which you have come." When taken as a statement the verb must be supplied; "Do what you are here to do", NRSV, or "I know what you are here for", Nolland. The statement is probably sharp in tone, so Hagner; "Get on with it!", France. As already noted, the clause may serve as a question, although most commentators view it as a statement, contra D&A, "Is that (the giving of a kiss) why you are here?"

proselqonteV (prosercomai) aor. part. "[then] the men stepped forward" - [then] having come to, approached, [they laid the hands on jesus and arrested him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verbs "to lay hands on" and "to seize."


i] An unnecessarily violent response, v51-54. John tells us that our sword-wielding disciple was Peter, and also provides the name of the servant, although it has been suggests that Matthew implies it was Judas who lost his ear - very unlikely! Luke tells us that the disciples had two swords among them (most likely long daggers) and that Jesus healed the wound. "There can be little doubt that more serious harm was intended", Hagner.

twn (oJ) "[one] of [Jesus' companions]" - [and behold one] of the ones [with jesus]. The article serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, partitive. The preposition meta, "with", expresses accompaniment, as NIV.

ekteinaV (ekteinw) aor. part. "reached for" - having stretched out [the hand drew the sword of him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to draw"; "stretched out ..... and drew."

pataxaV (patassw) aor. part. "struck" - [and] having struck [the servant of the high priest he cut off the ear]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to cut off." Olmstead suggests means; "[by] striking the high priest's servant, cut off his ear", Berkeley, etc. "Put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the High Priest's slave, shearing off his ear", Rieu.

autou gen. pro. "his [ear]" - of him. The genitive is possessive, although Quarles suggests that it is partitive.


Peter's action is not in accord with the divine will to which Jesus has committed himself. As the Apostolic Fathers described it, the hook is baited and Satan is going after it, so hotheads like Peter should not get in the way. Yet, Jesus provides a pacifist rebuke to Peter's action. The saying Jesus draws on represents the Jewish principle of measure for measure. "With the measure with which persons measure, it will be meted out to them", cf. Matt.7:2, Luz. The saying certainly gives some support to the pacifist cause, one that has always troubled the Church. When it comes to war, the Church usually rests on the "Just War" theory, ie., A war is just when undertaken as a defense against an aggressor, or an aid of another country facing aggression.

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - [then jesus says] to him [return the sword of you into the place of it]. Dative of indirect object.

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why Peter should put his sword / dagger back in its sheath.

labonteV (lambanw) aor. part. "all who draw [the sword]" - [all] the ones having taken [sword]. If the adjective panteV, "all", is treated as a substantive, "everyone", then the participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "everyone", "everyone who takes up the sword", which substantive serves as the nominative subject of the verb "to die, perish."

en + dat. "by [the sword]" - [will die] in = by [the sword]. The preposition here is instrumental, expressing means.


"Twelve sword-wielding disciples or twelve legions of angels are equally unacceptable if they hinder Jesus' obedience to the command of the the Father and the fulfillment of Scripture", D&A.

h] "-" - Since Greek pointing was added well after the original texts were composed, it is sometimes unclear what word is intended. Here h is usually taken to be the disjunctive particle h], "or", here introducing a rhetorical question, but it may well be the adverb h\, "truly"; "Do you really think .....?", Olmstead. The use of the verb dokeiV, "to suppose, think", itself implies a rhetorical question.

oJti "-" - [do you think] that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what the disciples should think.

parakalewai (parakalew) aor. inf. "[I cannot] call" - [i am not able] to exhort, call upon [the father of me]. Complementary infinitive completing the sense of the verb "to be able."

kai "and" - Here probably consecutive, expressing result; "and consequently he will at once send ......"

moi dat. pro. "[put at] my [disposal]" - [he will present at once more than twelve legions of angels] to me. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage, "for me."

pleiw adj. "more than" - When used comparatively, as here, the adjective "more than" would take a genitive, but often not so with numbers, as here; See Olmstead.

aggelwn (oV) gen. "of angels" - The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / content; "twelve legions consisting of / composed of / made up of angels."


"What was taking place was fulfilling the divine purpose, a purpose that must necessarily come to pass", Morris.

oun "-" - therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion, "therefore" = "So, if I were to call on the support of legions of angels, how ......?"

plhrwqwsin (plhrow) aor. pas. subj. "be fulfilled" - [how] may be fulfilled [the scriptures]. Deliberative subjunctive.

oJti "that say" - [which say] that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the scriptures say. "But then, how could the words of the Scriptures come true, which say that this must happen?", CEV.

genesqai (ginomai) aor. mid. inf. "[it must] happen [in this way]" - to happen [thus is necessary]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb "is necessary." Here expressing divine necessity.


iii] Jesus addresses the improper nature of his arrest, v55-56. As D&A note, it is ironic that Jesus is crucified between two bandits / insurgents, and set upon as if he were himself a bandit / insurgent, by those who act as bandits / insurgents "with swords and clubs."

en + dat. "in [that hour]" - in [that hour jesus said to the crowd]. Temporal use of the preposition; "At the same time Jesus said to the mob", Barclay.

wJV "-" - [have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me] as, like, as if [you were coming out against a bandit, insurgent]. Comparative. The clause is usually treated as a question, but it could also be a statement; "I see you have come out with swords and sticks to capture me as though I were a brigand", Rieu.

meta + gen. "with [swords and clubs]" - with. Adverbial use of the preposition, modal, expressing the manner of the crowd's coming out; they "came out ..... with ...."

epi + acc. "-" - against [a bandit]. Spacial, here expressing opposition, "against", rather than direction. The word for "bandit", lhsthV, usually refers to a "swindler", so "thief", or even "bandit". Some have argued for the particular sense of "revolutionary", "insurgent", "an anti-Roman Zealot", so Barrett.

sullabein (sullambanw) aor. inf. "to capture [me]" - to seize, arrest [me]. The infinitive is adverbial, expressing purpose; "in order to arrest me."

kaq (kata) + acc. "every [day]" - according to day = daily. Distributive use of the preposition, as NIV.

didaskwn (didaskw) pres. part. "teaching" - [i was sitting in the temple] teaching [and you did not arrest me]. The participle is adverbial, probably modal, expressing the manner of Jesus' sitting, he was sitting teaching, but possibly temporal, "while I was teaching."


Luz suggests that this verse, on the fulfillment of Scripture, along with 1:22, frames the entire story of Jesus from beginning to end. As for the disciples, "at the time of crises they simply ran off", Morris.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, possibly to an editorial comment rather than a continuation of Jesus' words; "a narrative observation", Luz.

iJna + subj. "that" - [all became, happened] that [might be fulfilled, completed]. Introducing an adverbial clause, final, expressing purpose, "in order that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled", or consecutive, expressing result, "with the result that the writings of the prophets were fulfilled."

twn profhtwn (hV ou) gen. "[the writings] of the prophets" - the writings, scriptures [of the prophets]. The genitive is adjectival, usually classified as verbal, subjective, but may also be classed as idiomatic / producer; "the scriptures which were revealed by / produced by the prophets."

tote adv. "then" - Transitional use of the temporal adverb, indicating a concluding step in the narrative.

afenteV (afihmi) aor. part. "deserted [him and fled]" - [the disciples all] having left [him fled]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to flee", as NIV.


Matthew Introduction

TekniaGreek font download


[Pumpkin Cottage]