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.

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