We started out the discussion by sharing stories of one time when we got arrested.
One man was 15 at the time, and after driving a car he didn’t own, and with no license, he ran down an alley, but there was a cop at each end of the ally who boxed him in. It was lunch time and a. large crowd of people watched as he was led away in handcuffs to the squad car.
Another man was 18 years old. He tried running through backyards and eventually crawled into a dog house. Fortunately the dog was not home at the time. However, he was soon apprehended in spite of his hiding place.
A third man was 11 years old when he was first arrested. He was in the company of his older cousin who tended to be a bad influence on him introducing him to alcohol, drugs, and the trappings of gang life.
There were seven guys at the study including me. A few I have seen get released and come back a few days to a few months later. I told them that for tonight’s study we were going to read the story of how Jesus got arrested. One man was surprised by that. He never knew Jesus had been arrested.
John 18 (NIV)
18 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus.
I asked the men to describe this story in their own words.
Jesus was with his own gang. They went to a park that had a nice garden. (We have garden parks like that in this area.) Judas was a snitch and led the cops to Jesus – some of the men in the group know firsthand what it is like to have someone in your own gang testify against you. The soldiers must have been expecting trouble because there was a whole detachment of soldiers with torches and weapons.
The guys were confused why the soldiers fell back when Jesus said who He was.
They understood Peter pulling out a weapon and going at it. I pointed out that Peter must have been flailing the sword wildly in order to take off someone’s right ear. Holding a sword in your right hand it is far more likely that you would cut an opponent’s left ear, head, or neck. Gang shootings are more notable for their randomness due to adrenaline rather than any marksmanship. The same seemed to be true of Peter’s use of a sword.
Even as He is arrested, Jesus seems to care more for His disciples than for His own situation.
And He went willingly.
There was some discussion on why Jesus went willingly, and why He had to die. One man said it was to be the sacrifice on our behalf. Another said it was because God was mad at Jesus for taking up with a prostitute, Mary Magdalene.
At that point the entire facility was put on lockdown, the men were hustled back to their cells, and I was directed out of the building.