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When Darkness Fell Upon the Garden

Art: Hans Holbein the Younger, 1524

As our reflections upon the last days of the Lord’s passion week progress, we move from the intimate scene of yesterday’s post, where Jesus was pouring out His anguish to His Father, to the mob scene of today. Imagine with me as we remember the Garden . . . when darkness descended.

Confusion erupts in the dark, among the ancient olive trees of Gethsemane.

Awoken to confrontation, the groggy disciples face highly-charged mob. An armed battalion carrying torches invades their peaceful rest. Judas breaks through the crowd to greet Jesus with a kiss.

Chaos breaks out. Peter draws a sword. Not only does he meet flesh, he meets a rebuke from Jesus.

It's unclear what all happened next, for it came crashing quick as lightening. Could it really be Jesus they arrested?!

No one stuck around to find out, as the group dashed into the cover of night—unfaithful under fire, fear their only master.

“But this has all taken place that the writings

of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Then all the disciples deserted him and fled

(Mt 26:56).

As for Jesus, He received Judas' kiss. He watched His friends run. (Of course, He knew they would.) He did not slay the mob. In fact, His final act of freedom was to heal the wounded enemy.

This had all been foretold. And now the time had come. Trinity's battle, begun in the first Garden, reached its climax in yet another garden.

The olive grove was enveloped in the dark of this night, as the plans of man converged with the will of God. The world crashed in and shattered the tranquil scene. But the Prince of Peace was not unfamiliar with this propensity while doing the Father’s will. If He was not exempt, should we expect any less?

An unjust arrest is always hard to stomach. But especially this one. Nevertheless, we must remember what the Righteous One endured—because what He suffered He suffered for a world of sinners who should have been the ones hauled off, arrested, tried, and rightly found guilty.

Lord Jesus, make me strong to remain faithful under fire. To stand, when fear challenges faith.

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