Summary: Jesus faced his cup of suffering willingly. God had a plan and Jesus, as difficult as it was, was willing to carry it out. Jesus needed to teach this lesson to Peter and it's a good lesson for us as well. Are we willing to 'drink our cup'?


John 18:1-14

1) Agony in the garden (vs. 1). John’s gospel doesn’t mention anything about the events that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before Judas showed up. It’s important to look at what Jesus dealt with there. Luke 22:41-44. Jesus knew what was coming. He agonized over the thought of what that would entail. Such was his intense agony that his capillaries burst causing a mingling of blood and sweat called hematidrosis. Jesus asked the Father to take the cup of suffering from him. Paying the penalty for the sin of mankind was no small matter. Yet even in such a gut-wrenching moment as this, Jesus followed that up with, “yet not my will, but yours be done”. When we face the cup that we need to drink, it’s okay to ask that it be removed from us but we need to seek God’s will above our own. “An angel appeared and strengthened him”. We’re not told specifically whether or not Satan was tempting Jesus in the garden but I believe, based on the sending of the angel, that he was. Satan was successful in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve but he was not successful in the garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. Jesus was willing to take the cup. He would persevere and reclaim the freedom from sin that was lost and the intimate relationship with God that was lost. This is encouraging for us too. When we’ve been given our cup to drink we are going to be tempted to give up or tempted to be impatient and take matters into our own hands. But we can know that when we have our ‘agony in the garden’ we will be strengthened and encouraged like Jesus was so we can carry out our mission.

2) Bring it on (vs. 2-5). Judas knew where Jesus would be going after the supper (vs. 2). And Jesus knew where Judas was going when he got up and left the supper. Jesus purposely went to Garden of Gethsemane, the place where he knew Judas would lead the mob to come and arrest him. I guarantee Jesus was tempted to stay away from the garden. Tempted to go into hiding and make his captors come find him. But he didn’t do that. The soldiers would’ve expected Jesus to run and hide or fight. That’s what they were prepared for. They came with torches, lanterns and weapons. And the word translated as detachment in vs. 3 can mean a legion of up to 600 men or more. Whether it was that many or not, they were prepared for the normal reaction. Instead, Jesus willingly stepped forward and made himself known. He wasn’t afraid, he wasn’t enraged; he was calm and confident. Like David said in Psalm 27:3, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.” Jesus went to the Garden knowing what was going to happen yet he didn’t run; instead he stepped forward. This highlights Jesus’ willingness to face his situation courageously. This shows Jesus’ confidence in the Father’s protection. This shows Jesus’ desire to fulfill the mission of salvation. What if we knew a difficult situation was coming our way? How we would react? Would we be willing to drink the cup or would we be looking for a way out of it?

3) “I AM” (vs. 6-9). Our English text has Jesus answering, “I am he” in verses 5 and 6. But, in the Greek, Jesus answered, “I AM”, thus declaring to his captors that he was God (Exodus 3:14). Whether due to fear, awe or perhaps both, these men fell down because of the power of the Holy Spirit. In case anyone thought Jesus was rendered powerless he showed them that the exact opposite was true. This was also to show his disciples that he was in control here. Jesus was not absent of control nor was he absent of power. Nothing had changed. The same Jesus who spoke control over the wind and the waves is the Jesus who spoke these soldiers to the ground. He wanted them to know, and his disciples to be reminded that he is the great I AM; God in the flesh. Vs. 7-Jesus asked a second time who they were looking for. Why? Now, after the demonstration of power Jesus wanted these soldiers to comprehend the realization that they were arresting God. The repetition was to cement in these captor’s minds the gravity of what they were doing and who they were doing it to. And it was happening only because it was God’s will. They could’ve brought a million men out to the garden that night and it wouldn’t have mattered. Even though this was the hour of darkness Jesus was still the one who had the power and the one who had control. Vs. 8-“let these men go”. The soldiers had grabbed the disciples and I’m sure they were afraid, wondering what was going to happen to them. But Jesus was in control. Jesus saying “let them go” was a command not a request. They were going to be protected; they were going to be rescued (vs. 9-none were lost [killed] {17:12}). It shows us that even though it may look like we are doomed nothing will happen to us apart from God allowing it. It seemed like the disciples would be killed but Jesus rescued them. When we are facing a scary situation we need not fear; God is in control. 2nd Tim. 3:10-12. There were numerous times Paul should’ve died, but God rescued him. The God of power watches over us and sees us through every situation until it’s our time.

4) Peter’s will vs. God’s will (10-11). When Peter realized that Jesus was giving himself up without a fight he decided to take matters into his own hands. Peter may have been thinking, “I’m not going to take this. I’m not going to stand by and let them do this. If you’re not going to fight then I will.” Peter was out for blood. Peter wasn’t trying to cut off an ear, his intent was to kill. Peter thought Jesus needed rescuing. Peter may have been sincere but good intentions don’t warrant improper actions. We’re like Peter sometimes. We think we’re helping but we’re just getting in the way and making things worse. And why do we do that? One reason is because we’re prideful; we think we know better. We don’t think Jesus is handling things the way he should, the way that makes sense to us so we take matters into our own hands like Peter did. We do a lot more harm than good when we do things our way. Another reason we do this is because we’re selfish. Peter’s attack was to rescue himself too. Peter’s reaction showed his fear in thinking Jesus wasn’t in control. Peter’s reaction showed he was fearful for his own life. Peter messed up by taking matters into his own hands. That’s the irony. Peter’s desire to protect himself from harm caused the situation to worsen. That’s how we are. We lean on our own understanding, thinking we will make our situation better when in fact we make it worse. Peter’s reaction, although out of concern, was also due to a misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission or worse, a refusal to accept Jesus’ mission. Jesus had to correct Peter’s thinking. He had tried this before also. Matt. 16:21-26. Jesus rebuked Peter because Peter was thinking of himself (what’s going to happen to me). Otherwise Jesus would’ve commended Peter for being so concerned about him. I’m not saying Peter didn’t care about Jesus but he apparently had a greater concern for what Jesus’ death would mean for him since it didn’t fit with his plans of how he thought things should’ve went. And here at Jesus’ arrest, we see Peter was trying to escape his situation. We need to understand the concept that we shouldn’t seek to escape every situation we’re in. The Lord has a plan and if we abandon his plan to do our own will we will get in the way of his will being accomplished. “Kari Malcolm served for 15 years as a missionary to the Philippines. Kari was an MK (missionary kid) who grew up in China. As a teenager, she was confined for a time during World War II in an internment camp, and there she discovered a deep truth that changed her life. In the camp she was number 16, and only one of many Westerners who sought self-identity and comfort behind the walls and the electric fence that separated them from the outside world. There were other MKs in the same predicament, and often they managed to get together for a few moments of prayer--praying for freedom. But as time passed, Kari began to feel uneasy about these times of prayer. Freedom was becoming the ultimate goal in life, and God seemed to become less and less important--except for His answer to their prayers for freedom. She began to pray and search the Bible. It was only then that Kari was able to pray the prayer that changed her life: `Lord, I am willing to stay in this prison for the rest of my life if only I may know You.' At that moment, she was free.” Kari was able to accept the situation that God had her in. And although it isn’t necessarily wrong to pray for our situation to change, we need to be careful that our desire for that doesn’t overshadow our desire for God. And it’s important to note that even if we can change our situation it doesn’t necessarily mean we should. Matt. 26:52-54. Jesus didn’t have to be arrested. He could’ve escaped as he had done before (8:59, 10:39, Luke 4:30). Or if he wanted to he could’ve wiped them all out. Instead, since he knew that now was the time for his mission to be fulfilled, he willingly went with them. Jesus didn’t get arrested because he had to; Jesus wasn’t crucified because he had to be. He chose to be. John 10:17-18, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” His love for us was the driving force behind his arrest and crucifixion. His willingness to drink the cup came from his undying love to see us trust in him for salvation. We can either do things our way or God’s way. We can strive to see our will accomplished or relinquish our will for God’s. We can do things according to our understanding or according to God’s. Are we willing to drink the cup that the Father has given us? We learn from Luke’s version of events that a wonderful event took place after Peter’s mishap. Luke 22:49-51. Jesus healed Malchus’ ear highlights that even though Jesus was facing the most difficult time in his life he still sought to serve. Jesus was focused on the needs of others. He was focused on his disciples “let them go”. He was focused on helping Malchus. Here’s Jesus not just healing but healing the one who has come to arrest him. Jesus is loving his enemy. Peter tried to kill his enemy; Jesus chose to love his enemy. When people come against us Satan wants us to grab the sword, Jesus wants us to grab the cup. When we are facing a difficult time our tendency is to seek to be served. We are so obsessed about our own problems we aren’t thinking about how we can meet the needs of others. Are we willing to be like Jesus and drink the cup of selflessness and service?

5) Willingly bound (vs. 12-14). Vs. 12 “they bound him”. Jesus allowed himself to be bound and taken away. They probably didn’t bind him to secure him since they had already witnessed his power that drove them to the ground which proved that if he was capable of that then no amount of restraints would hold him if he didn’t want them to. Plus, they had witnessed Jesus coming forward instead of trying to hide which showed his willingness to go with them quietly. And finally, they saw him heal Malchus’ ear and rebuke Peter which showed he was not bent on violence. No, the reason they bound him was more likely due to their evil desire to torture him. Matthew Henry’s commentary states that according to tradition, "They bound him with such cruelty that the blood started out at his fingers' ends; and, having bound his hands behind him, they clapped an iron chain about his neck, and with that dragged him along." This shows the spite of his persecutors. They were no doubt embarrassed over Jesus sending them to the ground. They bound him that they might torment him and put him in pain. That they might disgrace him and put him to shame. Reduce the king of the Jews to the status of a slave. This was the cup that Christ was willing to drink. Christ being bound symbolizes our bondage. Prov. 5:22, “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.” Being in sin is being in bondage. Jesus willingly allowed himself to be bound. As Jesus’ captors bound him in cruelty so our captor, Satan, binds us in cruelty. Jesus wants us to be broken of the chains that bind us. He wants to free us from sin so we can persevere. Heb 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Accomplishing this takes discipline, sacrifice and a faith that is steadfast and immovable. Jesus was willing to drink his cup and if our eyes are fixed on him we will be willing to drink our cup. Vs. 14-“better that one man die”. John 11:49-52. Even though there was going to be a “trial” this shows that the religious leaders had already declared that Jesus was going to be found guilty. They considered it to be beneficial that Jesus be put to death (other translations have advantageous, profitable). They were not going to stop until Jesus was dead. Such was their mission, yet ironically such was Jesus’. Caiaphas was right for the wrong reason. He was right in that one man did need to die for the people but the reason was for the salvation of their souls, not for the preservation of their nation. Ironically their plan didn’t work for them. Jerusalem, and its temple, was destroyed in A.D. 70. The plan, however, did work for God. Jesus’ death paved the way for the nation of Israel and every other nation as well to become born again. Jesus was willingly bound so that we would willingly become free. Psalm 116:13, “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath so that we could drink the cup of salvation.