John part 77
Betrayed and arrested.
John 18:1-11 ESV – 1When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Jesus had just finished His prayer on the way to the garden. Now in chapter 18, He enters the garden.
In chapter 18 we will deal with the following:
- The betrayal and arrest of Jesus.
- Jesus before the High Priests Annas and Caiaphas.
- Peter’s denial of Jesus.
Now John does not record for us Jesus agonizing prayer in the Garden. There could be many reasons why. I personally feel one reason might be that throughout John we see Jesus in complete control of His destiny. Everything was according to the Father’s plan. Perhaps John is emphasizing this by omitting the Garden prayer.
Here in verses 1-11 we see a great example of Christ’s attitude and how He faced the difficulty of His betrayal and arrest. At the end of the sermon we will try to apply this example to our lives. But let’s first unpack the text and do some digging.
Jesus enters the garden.
John 18:1 ESV – When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
Jesus was walking across the Kidron Valley and had just finished praying His great prayer of confidence concerning Himself, the disciples, and future believers. They now enter the garden. The other Gospels reveal this as the Garden of Gethsemane.
Now while John does not record it, before Judas and the posse betrays and arrest Jesus, the other Gospels reveal Jesus praying to the Father in agony. Let’s look at one of these Gospels record.
Mark 14:32-42 ESV – 32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
After this event as recorded by Mark, the betrayal and arrest of Jesus begins.
One important truth I want everyone to notice here is that Jesus willfully entered this garden and willfully submitted to the plan of the Father. He did not try to avoid what was decreed by the Father to happen.
Enter: Judas and the posse.
John 18:2-3 ESV – 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
Judas comes to this garden because He probably had been with Jesus there many times before. Notice verse 2 says, “Jesus often met there with His disciples.” According to Luke 21:37, this garden on the Mount of Olives Jesus often went too at night. It was probably to get away from the crowds and spend time alone with both His disciples and His Father. But on the night of His betrayal, the crowd comes to Him.
In verse 3 it says that a “band of soldiers” came. This possibly was Roman soldiers, plus officers from the Chief Priests and Pharisees. Band in Greek means, “a tenth of a legion.” A Roman Legion was around 6000 foot soldiers. So there might have been around 600 or so people in this posse who came to arrest Jesus.
They come with, “lanterns, torches, and weapons.” The lanterns and torches were to seek Him out at night. The weapons were to take Him by force and quell His disciples and possibly quell a riot.
Jesus: confidence, power, and submission.
John 18:4-9 ESV – 4Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”
Notice the mob does not catch Jesus unawares, “then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him.” You see, Jesus faces this mob with a quiet confidence, right after pouring out His heart to God as recorded in Mark. There is a great lesson to be learned here: take your fears and tell them to the Lord, then surrender to His will and face it with the confidence that God is in control.
The posse does not first approach Jesus; He approaches them: “….came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’”
Next we see the power of Jesus words in verse 6: “When Jesus said to them, ‘I am he, they drew back and fell to the ground.” Now here is where I have to part ways with many English Translations. I believe they miss the emphasis because they add the word, “he” to the text for clarification. However “he” is not in the Greek text at all. Green’s Literal Translation does not add it. Here is how Green translates it: “Then when He said to them, I AM, they departed into the rear and fell to the ground.” Here is what Jesus said in Greek: ego (ego’) eimi (i-mee’); which means, I am. It is equivalent to the Old Testament Covenant name of God as revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush. The power of these words caused these 600 men to fall under the power and authority of this revelation of Jesus. Now we are not talking about the modern day evangelist type of slaying in the Spirit, but a true revelation of Jesus Christ.
Here is what John Calvin had to say in His commentary concerning this passage: “He mildly replies that He is the person they are looking for, and yet He lays them prostrate on the ground, as though they had been struck down by a violent tempest, or rather by lightning. He did not lack the power, then, to restrain them if He had thought it right; but He wished to obey His Father, by whose decree He knew that He was called to die.”
Paul in speaking of His conversion has something similar happen to Him and those with Him at the revelation of Jesus.
Acts 26:12-15 ESV – 12“In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
Next, notice that Jesus does not walk away, but willfully submits to the arrest in verses 7-8: “7So he asked them again, ‘Whom do you seek?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ 8Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.’”
Simon Peter: an example of the foolishness of reaction without understanding.
John 18:10-11 ESV – 10Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Peter reacts in fear and anger and comes out fighting; a foolish thing when you are eleven against 600 men with weapons. Peter obviously did not realize that this betrayal and arrest of Jesus was part of the Father’s plan. He reacted without understanding.
Sometimes when things don’t go the way we plan, we – like Peter – have a tendency to react in a negative fashion. But remember that things may not go according to our plans; but God has a far greater plan. While we may not understand His plan, we can understand and trust in Him because He is in complete control.
Now John doesn’t record it, but Luke records what happens to the man whom Peter had cut off his ear.
Luke 22:50-51 ESV – 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.
Finally, Jesus rebukes Peter and accepts the Father’s plan in verse 11: “So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?’”
What can we apply from this passage to our lives?
- Difficult times and difficult people will sometimes invade our lives.
- Follow Christ’s example: put your confidence in God; recognize He has all power, and submit to His will.
- Don’t react hastily, but seek God’s counsel through the Word and prayer.
- If you do react hastily, repent and learn a lesson from it.