Right away, while he was still speaking, Judas – one of the twelve – arrived with a brigade of soldiers with swords and knives – from the chief priests, scribes and elders. Now the one who turned him in gave them a signal. He said, “Whoever I kiss will be him – seize him and arrest him.” After his arrival, Judas immediately approached him saying, “Teacher,” and kissed him. They seized him and arrested him. Then one of those who was standing with him drew his sword and struck a servant of the high priest – cutting off his ear. Then Jesus told them, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me as you would a thief? Every day I was with you, preaching in the temple. And you didn’t seize me. Rather, this has occurred to confirm the Scriptures.” (Mark 14:43-49)
Jesus protested but didn't runJesus was prepared and waiting to be arrested, but he wasn't happy with the way they did it. By this statement we know that Jesus didn't think it was necessary for a brigade of soldiers with swords and knives to his arrest. He wasn't going to fight them. He wasn't going to resist arrest.
He didn't even run when he saw them coming.
This is what a thief would do when they saw the police coming. They would first try to run off, to evade capture. Then they might, if they had weapons, battle the police so they could get away without being arrested.
But Jesus didn't do this because he was going to stand up to those who criticized him for his teachings.
Jesus was a rabbi
Jesus says, "Every day I was with you, preaching in the temple. And you didn’t seize me." This indicates that Jesus was accepted as a rabbi (teacher) by the very same temple officials that had sent the guards to arrest him - and some of the guards were certainly part of the assemblies.
So why did they arrest him if Jesus was a rabbi? It is because they were following orders and they didn't want to take a stand on their own. They didn't want to refuse to arrest Jesus. They were following orders. If they didn't arrest him they would be in trouble or kicked out of their positions.
We are each given these sorts of tests in life. Do we follow our conscience or do we follow orders and/or just do what everyone else is doing?
Each of the guards had their own decision to make - just as Jesus' followers did as well.
Was God pulling the strings?
Some might say that Jesus' being arrested was simply a twist of fate. Others will say that God arranged for this to happen ahead of time. They also propose that Jesus' statement about the scripture means that this event was pre-ordained, and everyone had to do these things without having a choice.
Such a proposition would mean that God is simply pulling the puppet strings and we are each like little puppets. This would mean that we have no choices in life.
Others have proposed that it was just a random occurrence. It just happened to Jesus on accident. This would mean that there was no meaning to the event.
What about Jesus saying it was according to the scripture?
This is an important point. If Jesus is saying that it was all predicted, then no one had any choice. It was going to happen whether or not they participated.
That is malarky. Certainly the chief priest Caiphus made the choice to have Jesus arrested. He wasn't hypnotized by the scriptures or something. He had the freedom to order the arrest and the freedom to block it.
And certainly Judas made the choice to lead the men to where Jesus was arrested. It wasn't that some devil guy took over his body and he did it without having a choice.
What Jesus means about it being according to the scripture is something else entirely. Jesus is speaking of the fact that this had occurred before and this type of event had been documented in the scriptures. It was supported by prevent events told in the scriptures.
Scriptures document what wicked people do
In other words, Jesus expected this because this is what wicked men do to those who represent God and teach love of God. This is documented throughout the Old Testament. So many Prophets were persecuted. Even the enslavement of the Jews by the Egyptians and the Pharoah was based upon this reality.
Wicked men persecute those who serve God. Wicked men want to stop those who are teaching love for God because they are envious. The scriptures document this over and over.
Those who teach love for God on behalf of God can attract many followers because this teaching connects with those souls who are seeking to re-establish their personal relationship with the Supreme Being.
This can make wicked people envious because they want to be the big teacher. They want to be the person who has all the followers. They want to be the big guy who tells others how to become happy.
This envy is the wickedness that arose within the heart of Caiaphus, which made him order his guards to have Jesus arrested. Then he and his underlings recommended his persecution to the Romans.
So there is no question about Jesus' arrest being random, nor being pre-ordained. There were real people who made the choice to have Jesus arrested and persecuted. These people are responsible for Jesus' murder.
Unless people were given the freedom to reject Jesus and even persecute him, we would not have the freedom to love God and follow the instructions of Jesus. This is because freedom is the basis for love. You can't have love without freedom.