It is probably close to midnight when Jesus steps out from among the trees to meet the crowds headed by the traitor. He knew they were coming, and quietly goes to meet them. There is a great rabble that the chief priests had drummed up, a city rabble with Roman soldiers, some of the chief priests' circle, and in the lead of all, Judas. Judas keeps up the pretense of friendship, and, advancing ahead of his crowd, greets Jesus with the usual kiss. Jesus dispels the deception at once with His question of reproach, |Betrayest thou with a kiss
?| Damnable enough to betray, but to use love's token in hate's work made it so much worse. Then He yields to Judas' lips. It was the beginning of the indignities He was to suffer that night. Jesus quietly adds, |Friend, do what you have planned. Let there be no more shamming.| But Judas' work is done. The silver secured under his belt is earned. He drops back into the crowd.
Jesus steps out into the clear moonlight, and faces the crowd pressing eagerly up. His is the one masterly, majestic presence. Quietly He asks, |Whom are you hunting for?| Back comes the reply, |Jesus of Nazareth.| Jesus at once replies, |I am He.| Again, that strange power of Jesus' presence is felt, but now more marked than ever before. The crowd falls backward and down to the ground. Soldiers, priests, crowds, Judas lying prone before Jesus! Again the question and the answer, and then the word spoken on behalf of His followers. This manifestation of power is for others this time.
Recovering themselves, the crowds press forward. The bewildered Peter makes an awkward stroke with a sword he had secured and cuts off the right ear of a man in the front of the crowd. Jesus gently stops the movement with a word. The Father would even then send twelve legions of angels if He were but to give the word. But He was not giving words of that sort, but doing what the Father wished. With a word of apology for His impetuous follower, the man's ear is restored with a touch. Surely he never forgot Jesus.
The leaders, now satisfied that Jesus will not use His power on His own behalf, seize Him and begin to bind His hands. As He yields to their touch, Jesus, looking into the faces of the Jewish leaders, said, |You hunt me and treat me as though I were a common robber. I have never tried to get away from you. But now for a while things are in your control, the control of the powers of night.|
Meanwhile the disciples forsook Him and fled, except two, John and Peter. Peter followed at what he thought a safe distance. John kept along with the crowd, and went in |with Jesus.| Mark tells about the attempted arrest of a young man who seemed friendly to Jesus, but in the struggle he escaped, leaving his garments behind. And so they make their way, a torch-light procession through the darkness of the night, back across the brook, up the steep slope to the city gate, and through the narrow streets to the palace of the high priest.