Thursday, August 2, 2012
“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53 KJV).
God the Father could have sent tens of thousands of angels to rescue His Son, Jesus Christ, from being arrested and eventually crucified, but those angels were never sent. Why?
Judas Iscariot has led a “great multitude” of Roman soldiers, Israel’s chief priests, and Jewish elders to arrest Jesus (verses 47-49). Immediately after Judas identifies Jesus by betraying Him with a kiss, the mob grabs Jesus. Then, someone with Jesus panics, draws a sword, strikes a servant of the high priest, and cuts off the servant’s right ear (the servant probably ducks to avoid decapitation!) (verse 51). (The one wielding the sword is the Apostle Peter; John 18:10.)
Jesus scolds Peter: “Put up thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matthew 26:52). In Luke 22:51, Jesus says, “Suffer [Allow] ye thus far.” Jesus forbids His disciples to defend Him: He is letting them arrest Him. Why does Jesus not fight back? Jesus says in today’s Scripture that God the Father can send over “twelve legions of angels” to defend Him (a Roman “legion” consisted of 5,000–6,000 soldiers, amounting to as many as 72,000 angels!) (To imagine the power of such an army, consider that one angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night [2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21]). But God the Father never sent “bodyguard” angels to rescue Jesus at His arrest. Why?
John 18:11 explains, “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Jesus submits to His heavenly Father’s will, allowing Himself to be taken captive by the Roman soldiers and the Jews. God the Father wants Jesus Christ to “drink” of the cup of His wrath against sin (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; cf. Revelation 14:9,10). There is no way around it: Jesus knows He has to die, so He does not fight back… yet….