Contributed by Jerry Cosper on Apr 17, 2012 (message contributor)
Summary: At this point, I’m sure that Jesus was feeling the awful pressure of God’s coming judgment on sin. The fleshly side of Jesus surely wanted to run. He wanted another way to be chosen to save man. Yet He was committed to God, He was totally devoted to Hi
READ 1-2. Jesus has just finished praying for Himself, His disciples, and all the future believers. Jesus gives us a picture of His devotion to God in verse 4. After His prayer, He left from where He was and went into an olive grove. His actions seem to be deliberate. He went with purpose, knowing exactly what He was doing.
Jesus left to prepare Himself spiritually. He was facing the hour to which God had called Him, the time of His death. He knew that God’s will for Him was to die for the sins of the world. Now Jesus knew the separation from God that sin causes. So He knew that He was going to be cut off from God’s presence, that God would have to forsake and turn His back on Him because of sin.
At this point, I’m sure that Jesus was feeling the awful pressure of God’s coming judgment on sin. The fleshly side of Jesus surely wanted to run. He wanted another way to be chosen to save man. Yet He was committed to God, He was totally devoted to His Father, and He knew that He MUST do God’s will.
But to do God’s will, He had to have God’s help. He had to pray and seek God’s face. He desperately needed God to meet His need tin some special way. That is why He headed for the garden. He wanted to get alone with His Father. He wanted to have His father strengthen Him for the terrible ordeal and judgment of the cross.
For us, this should bring us to tears. Jesus knew He was going to be bearing the sins of the world on the cross and the pressure was almost unbearable. Could Jesus have fled? Surely He could have. He could have turned away and insisted that the cup pass from Him but He didn’t. He was totally devoted to God, so He left, went forth deliberately—for the purpose of praying and seeking strength from God, for the strength to fulfill God’s will.
John’s gospel is not as detailed as the other gospels as to the agony that Jesus went through as He prayed. John’s purpose is simply to show the total devotion of Jesus to God’s will. READ Matthew 26: 36-46. Luke adds a little more detail than that. READ Luke 22: 43-44.
So Jesus left and went forth to prepare the scene so that God’s Will could be done. This was the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus could have gone to any place but He chose this place, a place that was familiar to Judas because Jesus had often met there with His disciples.
Note the large force that came to arrest Jesus. READ v. 3. This detachment of soldiers is also called a cohort in some translations. I’m not sure if we realize how many soldiers there were that came to arrest Jesus. A cohort was 1/10 of a Roman legion. It usually had 600 soldiers. On a rare occasion, the word cohort was used for a detachment of 200 soldiers.
Note also that the authorities also had their temple police join the force. So this was a large armed force of several hundred who came out to arrest Jesus. The rumor had been that the Messiah, the promised Jewish King, had come. Apparently, the Romans felt they had to make sure there would be no uprisings when they arrested Jesus.
Lets’ go just al little deeper with this. Note that they brought lanterns and torches. This was Passover week. Passover was held during the days of full moon, so there would have been plenty of natural light. Why then, were lanterns and torches needed? They were probably expecting Jesus to flee and hide in the bushes and trees and dark spots of the garden.
READ 4-6. Notice how willing Jesus was. He went forth voluntarily. Note the words, “knowing all that was going to happen to him.” He knew all the suffering He was about to go through. But He still went to meet the world that was rejecting him and that was coming to arrest and kill him. The point is this: He was willing and determined to die for the sins of men. He was voluntarily choosing to die for men.
So it’s here that we must note that Jesus didn’t run form the world and its persecution. Instead, He made a courageous confession: I AM. He knew God’s will and He was determined to carry it out. The statement I AM goes back to God’s name mentioned to Moses to describe Himself. This is a claim of deity.
Imagine the scene. The soldiers had come out to arrest a peasant. They expected him to flee and hide for His life. But there He was, a solitary man standing face to face with them, courageously proclaiming “I Am.”