Raymond E. Brown, The Death of the Messiah,
v.1, Act 1, scene 2 - #11. The Arrest of Jesus, Part Two: Accompanying Incidents, pp 264-293

(detailed summary)


The Arrest of Jesus, Part Two: Accompanying Incidents
(Mk 14: 47-50; Mt 26: 51-56; Lk 22: 49-53; Jn 18: 8b-11)


Summary

In spite of similarities, especially between the synoptic accounts, each evangelist offers us his own vision of Jesus' arrest, a vision coloured by their theology. Who draws to strike the servant of the high priest? For Mark, it is one of the spectators of the scene. For Matthew and Luke, it is one of the disciples. For John, it's Simon Peter. And where does the sword come from? If he is a spectator, his intervention with a weapon (legal or illegal) has nothing to do with Jesus. Matthew gives us no clue why a disciple would have carried a weapon. Only Luke brings some consistency to the scene: at the last supper, Jesus had asked to be prepared for battle, and the disciples understood this request literally and mentioned that they had two swords; one of these two swords would probably have been used in Gethsemane. As for the scene itself, apart from the two common words "sword" and "servant of the high priest," each evangelist uses his own description: the vocabulary for drawing a weapon and striking is different for each one; in Mark, Matthew and Luke the ear is taken off, in John it is cut off; only Luke and John speak of the right ear; even the word for ear varies. Finally, only John identifies the victim as Malchus, in keeping with his style of privileging person-to-person encounters, in this case Peter and Malchus.

While Jesus does not react to this violent gesture in Mark, there is a response from Jesus in the other three that calls for sheathing or stopping. But the way in which this decision is explained varies: Matthew refers to the Christian moral tradition on weapons before letting it be known that God could have intervened on his behalf, but that he wanted to do God's will to the end; John places in this place what Mark placed in Jesus' prayer before his arrest, his decision to drink the cup given to him by the Father; in Luke, finally, Jesus is content to repair the damage by healing the wounded servant.

The three Synoptics present a recrimination of Jesus before those who came to arrest him with weapons, as if he were a bandit, even though they had had the chance to arrest him while he was openly teaching in the Temple. But Luke saw the inconsistency in Mark's text where Jesus addresses a crowd that did not have the power to decide to arrest him when he was teaching in the Temple, and therefore introduced into the crowd high priests and chief guards. This creates the unlikely situation of having religious dignitaries in Gethsemane doing the dirty work of arresting Jesus themselves, but it has the advantage of being consistent with the content of Jesus' speech about authority to arrest someone.

The scene ends differently according to the evangelists. Mark insists that the disciples left Jesus and all fled: we have, on the one hand, an inclusion with the protest of Peter and all the disciples that they were ready to die for him, and on the other hand, an inclusion with the beginning of the Gospel where Peter and Andrew left everything to follow Jesus; the adventure ends in a form of failure. In Matthew, even though the disciples also abandon Jesus, the evangelist is more interested in using a reference to Scripture to make an inclusion with the beginning of his Gospel where everything happened for the fulfillment of God's plan. In John it is Jesus himself who asks to let the disciples go, in keeping with his portrait of the sovereign Jesus who controls the situation from beginning to end. As for Luke, who had eliminated the prophecy about the dispersal of the disciples, he remains totally silent about their flight in order to maintain a positive image of the disciples.


  1. Translation
  2. Comment
    1. Cutting Off the Servant's Ear
      1. Who acted against the servant?
      2. Where did the sword-wielder get the sword
      3. The action of striking with the sword and cutting off the servant's
      4. Was the servant a known figure?
    2. Jesus' Response to the Sword-wielder (Matthew 26: 52-54; John 18:11; Luke 22:51)
      1. The Response in Matthew 26: 52-54
      2. The Response in John 18: 11
      3. The Response in Luke 22: 49-51
    3. Jesus' Complaint (Mark 14:48-49a; Matthew 26:55; Luke 22:52-53a)
    4. Fulfillment of Scripture: Departure of Disciples (Mark 14:49b-40; Matthew 26:56; John 18:8b-9)
      1. Mark 14: 49b-50
      2. Matthew 26: 56
      3. John 18: 8b-9
    5. Luke 22: 53b: "Your Hour and the Power of Darkness"

  1. Translation

    Words of Mark shared by the other evangelists are underlined. Words in red indicate what is common to John and other evangelists.

    Mc 14Mt 26Lc 22Jn 18
    49 But those about him, having seen what would be, said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”8b “If therefore you are seeking me, let these go away, 9 in order that the word may be fulfilled which says that ’those whom you have given me, I have not lost one of them’”.
    47 But a certain one of those standing by, having drawn the sword, hit at the servant of the high priest and took off his ear.51 And behold one of those with Jesus, having stretched out his hand, drew out his sword; and having struck the servant of the high priest, he took off his ear.50 And a certain one of them struck the servant of the high priest and took off his right ear.10 So Simon Peter, having a sword, pulled it out and hit at the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. (The name of the servant was Malchus.)
    52 Then Jesus says to him, “Return your sword to its place, for all who take the sword, by the sword will perish.51 But in answer Jesus said, “Let that be enough!” And having touched the ear, he healed him.11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the scabbard. The cup the Father has given me – am I not to drink it?”
    53 Do you think that I am not able to call upon my Father, and He will at once supply me with more than twelve legions of angels?
    54 How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must happen thus?”
    48 And in answer Jesus said to them, “As if against a bandit have you come out with swords, and wooden clubs to take me?55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “As if against a bandit have you come out with swords and wooden clubs to take me?52 But Jesus said to the chief priests and captains of the Temple and elders who were arrived against him, “As if against a bandit have you come out with swords and wooden clubs?
    49 Day after day I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you did not seize me. Day after day in the Temple I was sitting teaching, and you did not seize me.53 Even though day after day I was with you in the Temple, you did not stretch out your hands against me;
    However – let the Scriptures be fulfilled!”56 But this whole thing has happened in order that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”.However, this is your hour and the power of darkness!”
    50 And having left him, they all fled.Then all the disciples, having left him, fled.

  2. Comment

    1. Cutting Off the Servant's Ear (Mark 14:47; Matthew 26:51; Luke 22:49-50; John 18:10

      In Mark/Matthew, this gesture is motivated by the arrest of Jesus. But in Luke, since Jesus had not yet been taken, he had to create an introduction to justify it: "But those about him, having seen what would be, said, 'Lord, shall we strike with the sword?'". In John, finally, since Jesus has already asked to let go his disciples, Peter's gesture appears as a bravado movement, faithful to his promise to give his life for Jesus (13:37).

      1. Who acted against the servant?

        1. Mark does not identify the one who makes this gesture: a certain one of those standing by. When we look at the four other uses of the expression "those standing by" that will follow (14:69.70; 15:35.39), we see that it is never about the disciples. Furthermore, Jesus' reproach of coming with weapons is directed at those who came to arrest him, not at the disciples. But then, does the expression "those standing by" refer to those who came to arrest him? That would be nonsense. We must therefore imagine that there was a third group, spectators who witnessed what was happening.

        2. For Matthew and Luke, it was one of the disciples who made this gesture. Matthew writes: one of those with Jesus, an expression that refers to those who were with him, his disciples. In Luke, Jesus is given the title "Lord", which is typical of the disciple. Moreover, the expression "those with him" refers to companions as we see in Acts 13:13 (Paul and those around him set sail from Paphos). Matthew and Luke thus reflect the popular tendency to identify or clarify those who are not named, which in our case allows us to individualize the theme of the misunderstanding of the disciples.

        3. For John, it was Simon Peter who made this gesture. If this was a historical fact, it would be difficult to understand why it is ignored in the Synoptics. Rather, it appears rather as a creation of John, who sees in it the opportunity to continue the dramatic portrait he paints of Peter: on the one hand, he is quick to make a gesture of bravado, on the other hand, he will find himself denying his master a little further on. Peter finds it difficult to understand his master, as shown by his refusal to have his feet washed (13:8). And here, his gesture betrays his incomprehension that the kingdom of Jesus is not of this world (18, 36).

      2. Where did the sword-wielder get the sword

        1. i. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus tells us that the Essenes carried weapons when they took the highway to protect themselves from thieves (Jewish War, 2.8.4; #125); but here we are not on the highway.

        2. Since the sword bearer in Mark is a spectator, his possession (legal or illegal) has nothing to do with Jesus and it is not necessary to presuppose that he stood up for Jesus.

        3. It is much more complicated in John. Did Peter regularly carry a weapon? Since he was one of those who learned that Judas was leaving the dining room to prepare for Jesus' arrest, did he arm himself accordingly? John, who sometimes fills in certain gaps in the Synoptics, leaves us no clues here.

        4. Matthew gives no reason why a disciple would carry a weapon.

        5. Luke seems to be the only evangelist to have thought about this problem. At the Last Supper he presents us with this scene (22:35-38).
          35 He said to them, "When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?" They said, "No, not a thing." 36 He said to them, "But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, 'And he was counted among the lawless'; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled." 38 They said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." He replied, "It is enough."

          The majority of biblical scholars consider that Luke drew here from an earlier source that was not necessarily in the context of passion. The idea is that the prospect of Jesus' arrest and crucifixion introduced a new period of struggle and persecution, and so the disciples must prepare themselves for this difficult journey and be able to defend themselves. Of course, the disciples understood the need for swords in the literal sense, and therefore misunderstood their master. Jesus' answer ("Let that be enough") puts an end to the discussion and their misunderstanding. This dialogue must be remembered when, eleven verses later, the disciples ask if they should intervene with their swords, more precisely with their two swords.

      3. The action of striking with the sword and cutting off the servant's

        Only the words machaira (sword) and "servant of the high priest" are common to all four evangelists. Otherwise they vary.

        1. Draw the sword
          • Mark : spaō (draw, pull)
          • Matthew : apospaō (draw away)
          • John : helkō (drag)
        2. Hit
          • Mark and John : paiō (strike, sting)
          • Matthew and Luke : patassō (beat, strike)
        3. The action of cutting off
          • Mark, Matthew et Luke : aphaireō (to take from, take away)
          • John : apokoptō (cut off)
        4. Ear
          • Mark and John 18, 10 : ōtarion (ear)
          • Matthew, Luke 22: 51 et John 18: 26 (and version P66 of John 18: 10) : ōtion (ear)
          • Luke 22, 50 : ous (ear)
        5. Ear identification
          • Luke and John : right ear

        These variations can be explained by various factors

        • Ear: it is probably the literary concern to avoid repeating the same word
        • Right ear: the right side is more valuable than the left side, and therefore allows the significance of the damage to be accentuated; it is not necessary to presuppose a common source.
        • The rest of the variations can be explained by the literary style of each author and by the popular imagination that has shaped the narratives on which they depend.

      4. Was the servant a known figure?

        1. The name Malchus is quite common at this time. Some biblical scholars have seen here another case of the popular tendency to identify or clarify those who are not named. In any case, it is in keeping with John's style of favouring person-to-person encounters, in this case Peter and Malchus: before the latter, he defends Jesus, but later, before a relative of Malchus, he will deny knowing Jesus.

        2. The four evangelists say: "the" servant of the high priest, not "a" servant. Some biblical scholars have speculated that Mark knew his identity, without naming him, assuming that the community knew him well (perhaps John's Malchus who had become a member of the Christian community). What is certain is that readers of Mark, Matthew and Luke (and even John) may have perceived here a figure hostile to Jesus and rejoiced at what happened to him.

    2. Jesus' Response to the Sword-wielder (Matthew 26: 52-54; John 18:11; Luke 22:51)

      In Mark, Jesus did not react to the gesture of cutting off the servant's ear. This reinforces the thesis that the author of the gesture was not one of his disciples.

      1. The Response in Matthew 26: 52-54

        1. Here we have one of the first clear examples of Matthew's own material. He does not take elements from his own Gospel as some biblical scholars think, but rather rewrites a Christian tradition in his own way. For example, the whole is introduced by his fetish word tote (then). In the circles in which the arrest of Jesus and the gesture of the disciple carrying a sword were told, a response from Jesus probably developed in which he asks to sheath the sword. Matthew, like the other evangelists, took up this tradition, imprinting his own style on it.

        2. The request to sheathe the sword is reinforced by a poetic statement in the form of chiasm or inclusion: "for all who take the sword, by the sword will perish". This approach is consistent with Matthew's style (5:39): "But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also"; 10:39: "Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it"). Note that the scope of this statement extends beyond the author of the gesture to include all the disciples. The source of Matthew's words may be Christian moral teaching, a reflection of Jewish moral teaching. This type of teaching was already present in Judaism: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, through man shall have his blood shed" (Genesis 9:6). The same type of teaching is found in Revelation: "If anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must perish" (13:10).

        3. "He will at once supply me with more than twelve legions of angels". This word reflects the angelic imagery in the Old Testament (see Joshua 5:14 where a leader of armies is an angel; Psalm 148:2 where angels are associated with armies; Daniel 12:1 which speaks of the intervention of Michael, the great Prince; 2 Maccabees 15:22 which refers to the sending of an angel to slaughter 185,000 of Sennacherib's army). In his Gospel, Matthew refers several times to the angels who support the Son of Man (13:41; 16:27; 24:30-31; 25:31). This new reference here is no doubt based on the tradition where Jesus declined all violence at the time of his arrest (see John 18:36 where Jesus says that he could have called for guards if his kingdom were of this world). Why twelve legions? This may be in contrast to the Twelve Disciples, who cannot help.

        4. "How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must happen thus?". Matthew repeats Mark's text. In Mark's text, the reference to Scripture comes after the reference to the Temple teaching. Matthew will do the same thing, but here he anticipates this reference, which leads him to address this theme twice, which is completely in keeping with the leitmotif of the fulfillment of Scripture that runs through his Gospel. It is part of his theological purpose to explain to his community how Jesus fulfilled God's plan, not only through the great events of his life, but also in minor events.

        5. "that it must (dei) happen thus". In his first proclamation of the Passion (Mt 16:21), Jesus had already warned his disciples that it was necessary (dei) for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer at the hands of the elders, chief priests and elders. What was then implicit, now becomes explicit. This period had been inaugurated with a quotation from Zechariah 13:7 in Mt 26:31 (All of you will be scandalized in me this night, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.') and will reach its climax in Mt 27:46 with Psalm 22:2 (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?). For Matthew, God has written from the beginning to the end what must happen, as the prophet Daniel explains (there is a God in heaven who reveals the mysteries and who made known to king Nebuchadnezzar what must happen at the end of days, 2: 28).

      2. The Response in John 18: 11

        1. This answer has two segments. The first, where Jesus asks Peter to sheathe his sword, is identical to Jesus' answer in Matthew as to its content, but not as to its formulation.

        2. The second segment (The cup the Father has given me - am I not to drink it?) comes from the tradition that is also reflected in Mark 14:36 (Abba, Father, all things are possible to you: Take away this cup from me). The two evangelists also present us with the related theme of the hour, Mark in the prayer in Gethsemane where Jesus wants her to pass away from him (14:35), John referring to Jesus' meeting with the Greeks has the same formulation of a theoretical question (And what can I say? Father, save me from this hour? 12:27). But while in the Christology of Mark Jesus can still ask God to change his plan, and only joins it after having prayed, in the Christology of John Jesus does not need to pray to join this plan, because he and the Father are one. John also agrees with Matthew's theme that the bearer of the sword should not intervene to prevent the realization of this plan.

        3. The diversity among the four Gospels is so great that literary dependence is unlikely. Mark grouped together the themes of the hour and the cup in Gethsemane, while John kept them separate, retaining only the cup for the passion scene, which is probably closer to the original tradition. Mark's formulation, on the other hand, is probably closer to the ancient form than John's transformation into theoretical questions under the impulse of his high Christology. As for Jesus' answer to the swordbearer, John's formula is less elaborate than Matthew's.

      3. The Response in Luke 22: 49-51

        1. As mentioned earlier, the disciples' question about the use of the sword allows us to link the dialogue about the two swords (22: 35-38) at the last meal with the scene around the sword bearer. This question bears the stylistic traits of Luke (question introduced by ei: whether). It provides the setting for Jesus' answer. And just as in the dialogue about the two swords where Jesus has to face the incomprehension of the disciples of the need to prepare for battle, while they have a literal interpretation of it, so here Jesus faces their incomprehension as they prepare to take up arms.

        2. "Let that be enough (eate heōs toutou)!". The expression is very difficult to translate. Eate is the 2nd person plural of the verb imperative eaō. Now, only one person had taken a sword, so Jesus would address all the disciples. The verb means: to allow, to let go, to leave alone. The purpose of "allow" is not clear. heōs toutou means: "as far as this". Does the phrase refer to assault or arrest? Various translations have been suggested: "Stop! That's far enough!"; "Let them (those who came to arrest him) be, even to the point of arresting me!"; "Leave him (the servant) alone! That's far enough!". All of this makes the same point: Let that be enough!

        3. Luke does not explain the reason why he does not want his arrest to be interrupted, because it was expressed in a previous dialogue: it is necessary (dei) that this which is written be fulfilled in me (22:37). After his resurrection, Jesus will return to the subject, especially in his meeting with the disciples of Emmaus: Was it not necessary (dei) that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory? (24: 26).

        4. "And having touched the ear, he healed him". Most biblical scholars consider this scene to be a creation of Luke. The combination of the verbs "touch" and "heal" reflects a very Lucan style. Luke had already expressed his perspective on healings (My Father is at work and I am at work, 5:17), and the work of Jesus the Saviour continues even in the heart of the Passion. Moreover, he is consistent with one of his words: love your enemies, do good and lend without expecting anything in return (6:35).

    3. Jesus' Complaint (Mark 14:48-49a; Matthew 26:55; Luke 22:52-53a)

      1. For Mark Jesus complains about the attitude of the crowd that came to him with swords and clubs. This recrimination is not related to the gesture of the sword bearer, which reinforces the claim that the sword bearer is not a disciple.

      2. In Matthew, after addressing the sword bearer, he now turns to the crowd. For Matthew, both audiences do not understand God's plan.

      3. Luke also has two rebukes, one addressed to a disciple, the other to his opponents. It is only at this point that Luke becomes specific about who they are: the chief priests, the temple guards and the elders. He probably borrowed these characters from Mark, only replacing the scribes with the chief guards of the Temple. But while Mark had merely said that these dignitaries had delegated Jesus' arrest to the crowd, Luke presents them to Gethsemane to make the arrest themselves. There is something improbable about having dignitaries do this dirty work themselves. It is one of the most unsuccessful cases of tidying up a story, as Luke boasts at the beginning of his Gospel (1:3).

      4. "As if against a bandit (lēstēs) have you come out with swords, and wooden clubs to take me?". There is a remarkable agreement in the Synoptics in the first part of the recrimination; Luke drops the "to seize me", probably to avoid a repetition with what he will say a little later on when he leaves Gethsemane. But what exactly does lēstēs (bandit) mean? It usually refers to a violent, armed man who was associated with a looter or thug. We can understand Jesus' reaction to being associated with a violent man, like Barabbas who is also called lēstēs. But it should be remembered that the Gospels were written during the period from 70 to 100, and therefore after the Jewish revolt. It is therefore possible that the popular mentality of the time threw an anachronistic look at lēstēs by putting the filter of violent rebels fighting against the Romans, thus giving a new definition of the word.

      5. "Day after day (kath' hēmeran) I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you did not seize me". There is also broad agreement among the Synoptics in this second part of the recrimination, apart from certain grammatical peculiarities. But what is the meaning of kath' hēmera (literally: as per day)? Every day (I was teaching) or (I was teaching during the day)? According to Mark, Jesus taught only two days out of the three days spent in the Temple (11:11; 11:15.17; 11:27 13:1). In his Gospel, Luke evokes the two senses: He was teaching in the Temple during the day (19, 47) and during the day he was in the Temple teaching (21, 37). This difficulty is lessened if we accept the idea of several biblical scholars that Jesus made several sojourns in Jerusalem during his ministry, as John states, and that the reduction to a single sojourn is a construction of Mark to follow his theological plan.

      6. We have already noted Luke's implausible assertion of the presence of the high priests and elders in Gethsemane. However, this last point gives some logic to Jesus' word that he was not arrested while teaching in the Temple: only they had the power to intervene, not the crowd that Mark speaks of. Does Luke not try to introduce some order by having the same audience as the one who heard Jesus in the Temple (19:47; 20:1,19) and tried to lay hands on him? The most important clue comes to us from John 18:19, when the high priest asks Jesus and he answers: "I spoke to the world in broad daylight, I always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews gather, and I said nothing in secret". Thus, there would exist an ancient tradition where Jesus defended himself before the religious authorities. John would have adapted it by using his vocabulary and inserting it at the time of his encounter with the high priest on the eve of his death. Mark would have adapted it so that it would become a word of Jesus to the crowd mandated by the high priests. Luke would have seen Mark's clumsiness with a word to people who do not have the power to arrest someone and would have tried to do justice to a tradition where the high priest was the original audience. Thus, we are not talking about a common source, but a common tradition.

    4. Fulfillment of Scripture: Departure of Disciples (Mark 14:49b-40; Matthew 26:56; John 18:8b-9)

      1. Mark 14: 49b-50

        1. The reference to Scripture is introduced abruptly: no one has asked why Jesus, who was able to perform various wonders before, does nothing now; Mark is aiming at his Christian readers who are asking these questions. The answer is clear: let the Scriptures be fulfilled, not only about what has happened, but about what is about to happen.

        2. V. 50 about the disciples running away forms an inclusion with the beginning of the scene in Gethsemane, when Jesus had announced that they would succumb and be scattered (14:26-28). Peter had denied that he would abandon him and all the disciples had said the same thing. This is why, here in v. 50, Mark insists on saying: they all fled. Jesus had made three prophecies:

          • One of the Twelve would give him over
          • The disciples would be scattered
          • Peter would deny him three times

          Two of the prophecies have been fulfilled, and the third will soon be fulfilled. So, not only the Scriptures must be fulfilled, but also the prophecies of Jesus.

        3. There is also an inclusion with the beginning of the Gospel with the verb aphienai (to leave):
          • 1: 18: "Having been called, Simon (Peter) and Andrew left their net and followed him"
          • 14:50: "And when they had left him, they fled"
          The adventure of being a disciple ends in failure, because it was not understood that if one wanted to follow Jesus, he had to take up his cross and follow him (8: 34).

      2. Matthew 26: 56

        1. The phrase "But this whole thing has happened in order that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled" is the last reference to Scripture in Matthew's Gospel and forms an inclusion with an identical expression in his first reference to Scripture in his Gospel (1:22); for we have reached the outcome or the end. And all Scripture is seen as a prophetic word, so that even its references to the Psalms are seen as a reference to the word of a prophet.

        2. Does Matthew want to refer us to a particular text of Scripture? He does not refer us to a particular text, but to a set of texts, especially the Psalms (71:11: "Pursue and seize that person whom God has forsaken, for there is no one to deliver "; 37:14: "The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly; 38:12: "Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin, and meditate treachery all day long"; 41: 10: "Even the confidant on whom I trusted and who ate my bread rises at my expense".

        3. Here we have Jesus' last words to his disciples or to the crowd. The fact that they are framed by a reference to Scripture shows the importance of what Jesus said in his prayer in Gethsemane: Your will be done.

      3. John 18: 8b-9

        1. "If therefore you are seeking me, let these go away". Here we have another case of the principle of Jesus' sovereignty in John. For if the disciples had fled of their own accord, it would have been on their own initiative. So just as it was Jesus who allowed Judas to leave at the Last Supper (13:27: "What you do, do it quickly"), so it is Jesus who now controls the departure of the disciples. This departure is therefore part of the realization of God's plan. In fact, it is the fulfillment not of a word of Scripture, but of Jesus himself (see 17:12: "I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost"). Subsequently, the evangelist does not feel the need to confirm that this request of almighty Jesus has been granted. But this departure becomes evident with their absence in the rest of the story, except for Peter and the beloved disciple.

        2. Some biblical scholars have wondered why the disciples were not also arrested. A simple answer is that, in the minds of the evangelists, what led to the intervention of the religious authorities was not the "Jesus movement" in some of the disciples, but the very person of Jesus, his claims, his actions.

        3. And what has become of the aggressor of the servant of the high priest? In Mark's case, since he is not a disciple, it is of no interest. In Matthew, he escaped with all the disciples. With John, it is a little more complicated. Perhaps we should read this passage in the light of 2 Samuel 17:1-2 that we mentioned earlier, where Ahitophel asks Absalom to pursue David and his companions on the run to the Mount of Olives, and to strike only the king. Rereading history through the Bible is an approach that is foreign to us, but not to evangelists.

    5. Luke 22: 53b: "Your Hour and the Power of Darkness"

      1. Apart from the "however (alla)", Luke presents us with a totally different version than the other Synoptics, starting with the absence of flight of the disciples. Of course, he is following the tradition by keeping them invisible for the rest of the passion narrative, but he does not want to present them in an unfavorable light. He is consistent in his portrayal of the disciples: he has eliminated Jesus' prophecy that they will be scandalized and scattered, he will also eliminate the mention of their flight.

      2. Instead of having a reference to Scripture, he speaks to us about the hour. He had introduced Jesus' last supper with : "When the hour was come, he sat down to eat" (22:14). For Luke, the hour of Jesus began when he began to give himself at the last supper and Satan had already entered Judas. This perspective on the hour is different from that of Mark, where the hour corresponds to the arrival of Judas in Gethsemane (14:41), and also from that of Matthew, where the hour corresponds to the moment when Jesus addresses the crowd that came to arrest him (26:55), and also from John, where the hour corresponds to the arrival of the Greeks who want to see him (12:23).

      3. "the hour / power of darkness". Luke had prepared us for this hour in 20:19: "The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour". Acts 26:18 helps us to understand what he means by darkness: "so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God". Thus darkness corresponds to the empire of Satan and is opposed to the light of God. And in the story of the arrest, it refers to the presence of Satan in Judas. Thus, the word "hour" has two aspects: on the one hand, there is the hour of Jesus which corresponds to the gift of himself expressed at the Last Supper and culminating in the handing over of his spirit to the Father; on the other hand, there is the hour of Satan's power through the enemies who will crucify him.

Next chapter: The Arrest of Jesus, Part Three: Naked Flight of a Young Man

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