Suddenly, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came with a mob carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests, legal experts, and elders. His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss, and take him away under guard.”
As soon as he got there, Judas said to Jesus, “Rabbi!” Then he kissed him. Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew a sword and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his ear. Jesus responded, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, like an outlaw? Day after day, I was with you, teaching in the temple, but you didn’t arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.”
And all his disciples left him and ran away. One young man, a disciple, was wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They grabbed him but he left the linen cloth behind and ran away naked.
Mark 14:43-52, Common English Bible (c) 2011
A mob – more than enough to take on Jesus and those with him. Armed with swords and clubs – prepared for a fight. And “someone” responded with a sword.
The other gospels indicate the “bystander” is one of Jesus’ disciples. John names him as Simon Peter and says Jesus told him to put his sword away (John 18:1-12). Only in Matthew does Jesus respond with the line “for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:47-56). Luke is the only gospel to report Jesus did one last miracle, healing the ear of the high priest (Luke 22:47-54a).
Note that “All his disciples left him and ran away.” Peter is going to get a bad rap for denying he knew Jesus. But what about the rest of the disciples? What about us?
-Teressa Clark, 2012, 2019
Lenten Reflections 2019: Following Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the Tomb ~ Day 31