Some have wondered about me using an interpretive paraphrase of Scriptures, namely, THE CLEAR WORD. I agree with what Jack J. Blanco says in the preface of the book that it is to provide “fresh insights into the gracious character of God… in hope that the Holy Spirit may use it as an agency to stimulate a new experience of faith and spiritual growth.” It is not to be used to prove a Biblical point. We should go to authentic translations for that. It has given me much beauty that I have not picked up from the KJV, but it has also given me many moments of thrilling excitement or tears as I read.
What I want to share with you is one of four portions of the book I read today about Jesus and his disciples just
before His crucifixion. I read the same story from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and chose Luke, not
because I liked it better, but because it mentions something not mentioned in the other three gospels. (See if you
can find it.)
(Luke 22:40-65) “When He arrived at the garden called Gethsemane, He took three disciples into the garden with Him. Then He said to them, ‘You need to pray so you won’t be overcome by temptation.’
“He walked about a stone’s throw beyond them and knelt down on the ground and prayed, ‘Father,’ He said, ‘If you see fit and are willing to release me from this part of my mission, please do so. I recoil from this experience, Nevertheless, if that is what you want, may your will for me be done.’
“When He had finished praying an angel came from heaven and strengthened Him so He could go on and
experience the full impact of separation from God.
“In agony He swayed and again fell to His knees. He clutched the ground as He prayed earnestly, and His perspiration was discolored by blood as it dripped to the ground.
“Finally, He got up and walked back to His disciples. He hoped to find them in prayer, but instead they were sleeping, exhausted from sorrow. He woke them and said, ‘Why did you sleep when I needed you? You’d
better get up and pray for yourselves so you won’t fall prey to Satan.’
“But before He finished talking, Judas, one of the twelve, appeared in the garden, leading a mob straight
toward Him. He walked up to Jesus and kissed Him on both cheeks.
“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘Judas, why do you betray me with a kiss?’
“By this time, the disciples had pressed around Jesus and said, ‘Lord, do you want us to fight for you? Just say the word.’
“In fact, Peter pulled out his sword and swung it at the high priest’s servant who was standing nearby. This man ducked, but the blade caught his ear and sliced it off. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Stop! No more of this!’ Then He touched the servant’s ear, and instantly it was whole.
“He turned to the chief priests, the officers of the Temple guard and the elders and said, ‘Why have you come out here in the middle of the night like you were planning to catch a thief or a robber? Why didn’t you arrest me when I was sitting in the Temple teaching the people? But I guess this is the time when the power of darkness has its hour.’
“Then they led Him into the city to the palace of the high priest for a preliminary night trial. Peter followed the mob at a safe distance.
“When they arrived, they took Jesus inside. Those who were not allowed in stayed in the courtyard where they built a fire and sat around it to keep warm. And Peter sat down with them.
“As they sat there, one of the servant girls looked at him carefully, then said to the group, ‘This man is one of Jesus’ disciples and was with Him in the garden.’ Peter denied it and said, ‘Woman, I don’t even know Him.’
“Later, another person recognized him and said, ‘You’re one of Jesus’ disciples, aren’t you?’ Peter answered, ‘Man you are crazy! I am not!’
“About an hour or so later, another person confidently said, ‘There’s no doubt that this man is one of the disciples of Jesus! Just listen to his Galilean accent!’
“Peter said, ‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Then he started cursing to prove that he wasn’t Jesus’ disciple. He had hardly finished when a nearby rooster crowed a second time.
“While in the guard room waiting for His legal trial, the mob had been mistreating Jesus. When the rooster crowed this time, Jesus turned and looked at Peter just as Peter looked up, and their eyes met. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had told him earlier that evening. “Before the rooster finishes crowing in the morning, you will have denied knowing me three times.’
“Peter ran from the courtyard back to the garden where Jesus had prayed. There he fell to the ground and wept
“Once inside the assembly hall, the guards holding Jesus started making fun of Him. They blindfolded Him, slapped
Him in the face and then said, ‘You’re supposed to be a prophet, aren’t you? Well, tell us who slapped you!’
“There were many other cruel things they did to Him as they cursed Him.”