Matthew 26:55-56 – At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. NIV
The NIV’s translation of this question is a little misleading. In effect, Jesus was leading a rebellion…a spiritual rebellion! A better translation of this question is found in other versions. The New American Standard Updated version translates it: “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber?” (Matthew 26:55 – NASU) The Greek word has to do with one who takes plunder by force, hence a robber, thief, brigand, outlaw … not necessarily one who leads a rebellion. It is not translated that way anywhere else in the New Testament. They were treating Him as a common criminal. They were doing it in a clandestine manner because they could have arrested Him publicly in Jerusalem. It appears that at this point they were afraid of public outcry. Again Jesus refers to the fact that prophecy had to be fulfilled.
What is it about Jesus that threatens people? What gets some people uptight when someone prays “in Jesus’ name?” He is not that brigand or robber; but He is leading a spiritual rebellion that threatens the powers of darkness that have strongholds in this world and sometimes in our lives. They often resist giving in to Jesus’ authority and put up quite a fight.
It is interesting to note that the Disciples flee at this point. They were semi-prepared for a physical fight with a couple of swords and the physical strength they had acquired as fishermen for the most of their lives; but they had not prepared themselves for the spiritual battle that was ahead. Jesus had prepared and was willing to face it head-on as “the lamb being led to slaughter” as was prophesied. He boldly surrendered to the physical that He might win the spiritual.
In what areas of my life as I fighting a physical battle when I should be fighting it as a spiritual battle? Have I joined Jesus in His spiritual rebellion or am I still treating Him as a robber of my life and my time and my will?