Jesus arrested. John 18.1-14
Take a look with me at John’s rendering of what happened that Passover night so long ago … “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.”
It had been a very long day, and John, like the others, was tired. The day had included Passover Dinner, (don’t forget the four cups of wine), and it had been quite a meal! Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, his talk with them that he would be leaving them to return to the Father, and the sudden departure of Judas from the room—which was really quite strange. And then, Jesus prayed for himself, them, and the believers yet to know him. There was the walk through the night out into the valley, where Jesus moved away to pray alone.”
It is here we see through John’s eyes, and hear his retelling: “Jesus had asked us to wait, watch and pray with him, and we could hear him in agonizing prayer to his Father. But in spite of that, as tired as we were, as late as it was, we all fell asleep. Our Lord had to wake us up three times! The third time, as he was standing near us, noise split the quiet of the night as the clanging of metal and harsh voices could be heard approaching.
Suddenly hundreds of soldiers and some high Jewish officials came through the olive trees! The men were armed, angry, and aggressive looking from left to right as they surrounded us, with their torches in the air. There was one man out front, who seemed to be leading them … Judas? I could not imagine what Judas was doing with these men. Jesus took control of the scene, stepped forward and asked who it was they wanted… knowing, of course, it was him.
Apparently, whatever Jesus had been agonizing about in prayer was over; there was only resolve in its place. When they said it was Jesus of Nazareth they wanted, my heart skipped a beat, as my thoughts raced round—‘Wait! This is happening so fast. How could they want to arrest Jesus? What has he done, but preach and heal and point us to God the Father? What should we do? What should I do—anything? Should I step out in front of Jesus, and place myself between him and the soldiers?’ Just then, Peter drew his sword and charged at one of the men, and cut off his ear. The Lord picked it up and reattached it. Yes, just like that.
But one thing struck me—he was one, they were many, but it was Jesus who was in control. He separated himself from us and submitted to his arrest, because that had been the plan from the start.
Then, they shackled our Lord, and lead him off into the night.
It was dreadful, I felt sick, but as I look back, it was as it had been meant to be.
Jesus has been arrested, aye, but it was all part of the plan.
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