On the night of Jesus' betrayal and arrest, Matthew 26:51-52 reveals a surprising conflict. For in the midst of Jesus' betrayal at the hands of Judas and Jesus' arrest at the hands of the temple guard, this brief passage also reveals a deeply rooted difference between Jesus and his own disciples. Matthew 26:51-52
51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
52 Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Though Jesus had been preparing his disciples for what would happen to him at the hands of his enemies, in this event the disciples finally get a glimpse of the radical nature of Christ's Kingdom. As Peter and the disciples were prepared to take a life in order to deliver Jesus, Jesus rather displays how he is prepared to give his life in order to deliver them. Jesus assures them that this arrest is not due to his own weakness or lack of control.
53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?"
Jesus reveals that he goes willingly to the cross while the disciples reveal that they had a very different expectation for Christ's Kingdom. For they stand ready to defend their king one moment, and after they hear Jesus ordering the sword back into its sheath, "Then all the disciples left him and fled." (Matt. 26:56).
Christ's Kingdom continues to unsettle our expectations, for Christ's kingdom does not operate according to so many worldly principles. As Jesus would soon reveal to Pilate,
"My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."
Therefore, as the events of the past few weeks have shown us how easily the kingdoms of this world can be shaken, let us respond, not with fear. Rather, "...let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken..." (Heb. 12:28a). Our response to the nations which rise and fall is to look to our Savior, who has risen once and for all. For his victory can never be extinguished.
—Rev. Paul Johnson