By and by the mood quiets, the calm returns and deepens. The changed prayer reveals the victory: “My Father, if this cup cannot pass away except I drink it—if only through this experience can Thy great love-plan for the race be worked out—Thy—will”—slowly, distinctly, with the throbbing of His heart and the iron of His will in them, come the words—“Thy—will—be—done.” In between times He returns to the drowsy disciples with the earnest advice again about being awake, and alert, and praying because of temptation near by.
And gentle reproach mingles in the special word spoken to Peter. “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not be watching with me one hour?” Yes, this was Simon now, the old Simon. Jesus’ new Peter was again slipping from view. Then the great love of His heart excuses their conduct. What masterly control in the midst of unutterable agitation! Back again for a last bit of prayer, and then He turns His face with a great calm breathing all through those deep lines of suffering, and with steady step turns toward the cross.
Yielding to Arrest.
It is probably close to midnight when Jesus steps out from among the trees to meet the crowds headed by the traitor. He knew they were coming, and quietly goes to meet them. There is a great rabble that the chief priests had drummed up, a city rabble with Roman soldiers, some of the chief priests’ circle, and in the lead of all, Judas. Judas keeps up the pretense of friendship, and, advancing ahead of his crowd, greets Jesus with the usual kiss. Jesus dispels the deception at once with His question of reproach, “Betrayest thou with a kiss?” Damnable enough to betray, but to use love’s token in hate’s work made it so much worse. Then He yields to Judas’ lips. It was the beginning of the indignities He was to suffer that night. Jesus quietly adds, “Friend, do what you have planned. Let there be no more shamming.” But Judas’ work is done. The silver secured under his belt is earned. He drops back into the crowd.
Jesus steps out into the clear moonlight, and faces the crowd pressing eagerly up. His is the one masterly, majestic presence. Quietly He asks, “Whom are you hunting for?” Back comes the reply, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus at once replies, “I am He.” Again, that strange power of Jesus’ presence is felt, but now more marked than ever before. The crowd falls backward and down to the ground. Soldiers, priests, crowds, Judas lying prone before Jesus! Again the question and the answer, and then the word spoken on behalf of His followers. This manifestation of power is for others this time.
Recovering themselves, the crowds press forward. The bewildered Peter makes an awkward stroke with a sword he had secured and cuts off the right ear of a man in the front of the crowd. Jesus gently stops the movement with a word. The Father would even then send twelve legions of angels if He were but to give the word. But He was not giving words of that sort, but doing what the Father wished. With a word of apology for His impetuous follower, the man’s ear is restored with a touch. Surely he never forgot Jesus.