Chapter 22 : The Ambush

Jesus arming his followers (based on “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler” by Heinrich Hofmann, 1989)

(Matthew 26:36, Matthew 26 40-50)

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane and told them, “Sit down here while I go over there and pray. And know that the beginning of the end is upon us”

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived with a large mob armed with swords and clubs. They’d been sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. The betrayer had given them a signal: “The one that I kiss, that’s him—arrest him,” he’d told them.

Right away he came up to Jesus, and said, “Hello, Rabbi,” and kissed him.

“My friend, do what you came to do,” Jesus said to Judas. So they came and tried to arrest Jesus, but soon they would realise their mistake, for Christ is the best of schemers. 20

(Matthew 26: 55 – 56)

Then Jesus told the crowds, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me as if I were a robber? Every day I was sitting in the temple teaching and you didn’t arrest me. But all this has happened to fulfill what the prophets wrote.”

Then he made a sign with his hand and all the disciples drew their swords, for Jesus had made sure that they were armed.51 From behind the trees many others came who had been waiting to defend their Saviour, and so the trap was sprung. 20



In the original verses Jesus watches his friends and followers abandon him in his hour of need. This was inevitable: he had just forbidden them to draw their weapons in his defence (Matthew 26:51-54). In the Quran (4:102) the believers are asked to keep their weapons with them, even in places of worship, and be ready for a fight. In recent conflicts Mosques have often been used to stockpile weaponry or as vantage points in battle. This is in serious contrast with most Christian churches and monasteries because these are traditionally held to be sanctuaries from all forms of violence.