Consider this passage from Matthew 26:
47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
I suppose there are not a few things we could say about these verse. I am sure that commentators and scholars have done their best to foul it up by dissecting paragraphs, deconstructing sentences, and parsing verbs and declining nouns. Aside from all that, there’s one thing that has caught my eye over and over again every time I read this paragraph. It’s that verse 55. I’ll quote it again:
55At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.
At the heart of this sentence by Jesus is this implication: “I was at my most dangerous when I sat in the temple courts teaching and there you didn’t arrest me. Now, here I am in a garden, at night, praying and you arrest me?”
Sure, it probably means other things too. But in that short statement is what drives me crazy: The most dangerous thing Jesus did was teach people openly in the temple courts, and yet those in authority were too simple to arrest him there because they didn’t see the danger of his words. They didn’t need torches, clubs and swords. Maybe a muzzle, but certainly not swords.
Isn’t that amazing, that the greatest weapon Jesus wielded was his voice; his teaching? Isn’t it sad that the church thinks it needs something more than His voice?
Soli Deo Gloria!