Summary: Jesus shows us how we can achieve spiritual victories.
Jesus, the God-man: Gospel of John
“Crossing Dark Waters”
Introduction: December 25, 1776 and Gen. Washington had a daring plan to attack the Hessians at Trenton, NJ while they were asleep or drunk with Christmas merriment. In order to do this, they had to cross a frozen Delaware River in the middle of the night and trudge through the snow to the city. It worked and the Hessians were defeated with minimal loss of life to the Americans.
We have seen the picture and many know the story of this bold move which became a turning point in the war for our independence. Everything went according to plan, but it required these men to cross over a dark river in silence.
We too must many times cross over dark treacherous waters in order to see spiritual victories. Jesus Himself literally and symbolically had to cross some difficult waters to achieve victory over sin and the devil.
Today, we will see as He concluded His High Priestly Prayer, He began to move toward that event for which He had come to earth – death on the cross. But to arrive there He had to begin by “crossing dark waters.”
1. Jesus knew what was coming. (vv. 1-4)
Finished praying and now heads toward the garden.
He took His disciples over the Brook Kidron which literally means “dark waters”. It got its name from the fact that this brook, which was no wider than 6 or 7 feet, would have the blood of the Passover lambs mingled in the water along with the city’s refuse. It was literally dark water or sediment.
Jesus has finished His prophetic work and now it is time to begin His priestly work of offering Himself as the sacrifice so He takes His disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane whose name means “olive press”.
Why go into the garden at night? 1) Fulfilled Scripture that said the sin offering would be offered outside the gate. 2) He was a type of David because King David crossed the Kidron in 2 Samuel 15 before he too was betrayed by a friend. 3) He wanted to give His enemies a chance to catch Him away from the people and give His disciples a chance to escape.
There is a great contrast between this garden and another garden named Eden. The first garden was a place of defeat and failure. This garden would be a place of victory/triumph.
The other gospels tell of His agonizing in the garden so those verses would be between verses 1 and 2 here. John’s focus in on Jesus, the God-Man so he did not include that, but instead tells us something the other gospels did not.
v. 2 – Judas the betrayer knew of this place which demonstrates that Jesus was not hiding out because He knew what was coming and that it had to happen.
It also shows the depth of Judas’ betrayal because he chose to catch Jesus in His place of solitude and prayer like they did Daniel in the OT.
v. 3 – Judas comes with great power and show of force. He brought officers from religious leaders and Roman soldiers (as few as 150 to perhaps 600) carrying torches and weapons because he thinks that he is in control and perhaps thought they would have to do a search.
v. 4 – “knowing all” – Jesus is omniscient. He knows all that will happen because His time and hour have come. When He left heaven He knew it was to die on a cross for us. Prophecy and the entire OT pointed to this.
That begs the question – if you knew the cost of your obedience would you still obey? Jesus did.
Jesus tells us to count the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:28.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it… So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:28, 33
“came forward” – Jesus takes action. He is not hiding. He is bold. He does not act like a criminal.
“Who are you seeking?”
Good question for us to consider. Who are you seeking? A temporary fix? Your own will? “religion”? a Savior?
2. Jesus had the power to stop it. (vv. 5-9)
They tell Him they seek Jesus of Nazareth – a mere man.
“I AM” – ego eimi. The word He is italicized meaning the translators added it to help it make sense. Jesus identified Himself as deity. I AM is the name given by God to Moses at the burning bush. Yahweh or Jehovah is His name!
“Judas…with them” – Chosen his side. Where do you stand?