Today we are in the 18th chapter of the book of John.
This chapter covers
The arrest of Christ in the garden.
The denial of Christ by Peter.
Pilate’s court and the Jews' desire to trade Jesus for Barrabas.
We see that Jesus had gone to a garden with His disciples except for Judas. I want to focus on the events of the garden and Christ’s determination to do what was necessary to save us.
Judas knew about the garden because Jesus had gone there with His disciples often.
The time had come for Jesus' suffering to begin. The Jewish leaders had sent a Roman cohort of soldiers, along with officers from the chief priests, led by the traitor Judas to arrest Jesus.
Just think, a cohort of 500, or a battalion of soldiers were sent to arrest Jesus as though He were an enemy of Rome, trying to destroy the state. The chief priests had convinced the governor that this Jesus was a dangerous man. All this was led by Judas. Perhaps he had been tempted by the money he received, or perhaps he was tired of being part of the disciples that the Pharisees held in such contempt and desired to be important. Judas, this man that was loved by God’s Son himself, turned his back on Jesus. How did Judas who had seen what Christ had done and experienced His power and love have the confidence and desire to turn on Him?
Jesus, knowing all these things did not run. He went courageously to meet what was to come. He showed His willingness to suffer and die for you and me. He wasn’t forced to do this— He gave Himself by consenting to His Father’s will. Jesus asked, “Whom do you seek?,” like asking why are you here in the dark at this time of night with all these soldiers? Even though He knew they were coming, He didn’t run or hide but went out to meet them. When He asked them, "Whom do you seek?," they answered, Jesus of Nazareth.
Immediately, when Jesus answered "I am He", they drew back and fell to the ground. The power of God when Jesus spoke went forth over the men and soldiers and felled them to the ground. He once again showed that He was God. He could have struck them dead or blind or deaf but He instead showed them His power to give them the opportunity to see who He really was.
Amazingly, when they got up from the ground, Jesus had not run away, and they were just as determined as ever to arrest Him. Their hearts were so hard that even the very evidence of the power of God did not affect them.
Jesus asked again who they were looking for and again they answered Jesus of Nazareth. He told them again, "I am He. If you seek me, let these go their way."
He protected His disciples. He was being arrested and yet He excused them because of His love for them. He knew what was coming and He knew their faith was weak and He knew they had work to do to go into all the world and spread the gospel. He offered Himself for us, to suffer and die so that we could escape. So that we could be saved.
As you read on you see how all that happened had to happen so that Jesus could fulfill His purpose for salvation. If Peter had used his sword to kill Malchus instead of cutting off his ear, there could have been a riot and the disciples could have been killed. Even then, Jesus' miraculous, powerful healing of the ear, settled things down so that the disciples were not killed or arrested, and only Jesus was taken into custody to fulfill the prophecies and His purpose.
Today as you read this chapter, thank God for His divine plan and that Christ was willing to endure it all to offer us salvation and blessing.