Jesus then, bending over his sleeping Apostles, said in a low, deep voice, Arise! He who is to betray me is near at hand!’
He had scarcely spoken these words when Judas and his band arrived. Advancing to Jesus, emboldened by his escorts and with a false smile masking his lips, he pointed out the Lord to the hostile troop who came to seek him, by giving him that sacrilegious kiss which has since taken his name; this was the prearranged signal. Jesus received the traitor kindly, and said to him, with an undercurrent of knowing and of divine love, “Friend, whereto art thou come?” Such words of a higher love that would afterward ring in Judas’ mind again and again to torment him.
Judas had not time to answer this embarrassing question, for the others, advancing, threw themselves on Jesus and laid hold of him. Then arose the hot blood of Peter, Prince of the Apostles, who drew his sword and smote one of the servants of the high priest; but Jesus, arresting the only arm that was raised in his defense, commanded the sword to be restored to its scabbard. “That the Scriptures may be fulfilled,” said the sacred one, “so it must be done.” The Lamb of God was willing to be immolated for the sins of the world.
Thereupon there was heard within the garden a confused sound of retreating footsteps, of breaking branches, and the shadowy forms of men were suddenly seen scaling the low wall which surrounded the garden, as the disciples made their escape!
For three years they had lived by his every word and action, they had obeyed his every command, and looked to him for direction. Suddenly that direction was taken from them, snatched by a senseless crowd. What could the sheep do at that first instant without a shepherd, but to scatter impulsively as the scripture had prophesied? They ran from the unbelievable – the sight of their all-powerful Lord, in captivity. If he, their Saviour, would not help himself, what could they do against the priestly authorities and armed soldiers to save him? It was a surprising turn-about. They had thought him infallible, and did not yet understand that he had to suffer this.
It is possible that the Spirit itself blinded their understanding and sent them fleeing, in order to preserve their lives for the work ahead, lest they should all have been arrested.
Mary in this was stronger than they. She had come to lean on his will and commands like them, but less fully. For she still remembered the years when she had commanded the child Jesus, and had cared for him. This gave her strength now, for she was once more brought to the consciousness of motherhood. –from Mary of the Holy Family