Summary: I would like to examine briefly the arrest behind the death of Jesus.
Last year I began what I plan to be a seven-year series of messages. It is based on the book by James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken that is titled, Jesus on Trial. My goal is to teach on seven important aspects of the trial of Jesus Christ: the diabolical conspiracy to kill him (which I covered last year); his night-time arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane; the short resistance that the disciples mounted in his defense; the witnesses who accused him of blasphemy during his ecclesiastical trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin; the verdict reached in his civil trial by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate; the sentence of death that his enemies demanded; and his execution by crucifixion.
Let us read John 18:1-9:
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now 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. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They 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. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus 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.” (John 18:1-9)
“Jesus Arrested!” That could have been the headline of The Jerusalem Post on the morning of 14 Nissan, 30 AD. The report would have indicated that Jesus had been arrested the evening before in the Garden of Gethsemane. A large band of soldiers had managed to arrest Jesus without too much commotion.
If you had been privy to what was going on behind the scenes, you would have been aware that it all began with a conspiracy. The religious leaders and the political leaders had conspired together to get rid of Jesus. But they were having great difficulty doing so because of Jesus’ immense popularity with the people. However, a stunning development took place when one of Jesus’ own inner circle of friends stepped forward to betray him to the authorities. Judas Iscariot volunteered to betray Jesus for some unknown reason.
Tonight, I would like to examine briefly the arrest behind the death of Jesus Christ.
I. The Confrontation in Gethsemane (18:1-3)
First, let’s look at the confrontation in Gethsemane.
Jesus and his disciples had just finished the last supper in the upper room in Jerusalem. Earlier in the evening Judas had left the meeting to go and talk to the authorities.
A. Jesus and the Eleven Go to Gethsemane (18:1-2)
First, notice that Jesus and the eleven go to Gethsemane.
1. The Place of Their Going
First, the place of their going.
John 18:1 says that when Jesus had spoken these words, that is, after Jesus had finished praying his High Priestly Prayer, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. The place of their going was the garden known as Gethsemane.
2. The Time of Their Going
Second, the time of their going.
Since this was after they had eaten and Jesus had spoken to his disciples, the time of their going was very late at night, perhaps around midnight. After Jesus and the disciples arrived in the garden, Jesus went off alone to pray, as was his custom. Some time later he came back to the disciples and found them asleep.
3. The Reason for Their Going
And third, the reason for the going.
John noted that Jesus often met there with his disciples (18:2b). He went there to teach them, and also to pray.
B. Judas and the Mob Go to Gethsemane (18:3)
Second, notice that Judas and the mob go to Gethsemane.
1. The Members of the Group
First, the members of the group.
Now Judas, who betrayed Jesus, also knew the place (18:2a). He had been with Jesus and the other disciples on previous occasions, and he knew exactly where Jesus would be.
So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees (18:3a), went to the garden. According to the gospels, there was a large crowd who came to arrest Jesus. The officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees were the temple police, and they were the primary arresting officers. The band of soldiers was merely there to provide protection and to physically secure the arrest of Jesus.