Summary: Expository sermon explores the majesty of Christ even during His time of humiliation: 1. His Decision 2. His Demeanor 3. His Demonstration of power 4. His Dramatic healing of Malcus.
Still Lord Even at His Arrest
Fortifying the Foundations #38
In our study of John’s gospel we come this morning to the story of Jesus’ arrest. Here we see Jesus. We see him fully in control of his destiny. We see him full of majesty and authority even while being arrested as a common criminal. John does not want us to get the wrong idea about Jesus’ arrest. This arrest was like no other arrest you have ever heard about. In this situation the person being arrested is in charge. The mob that arrests Jesus think they are in charge but John lets us know in no uncertain terms that Jesus as the Lamb of God is voluntarily laying down his life in our behalf. Do you remember John’s objective in writing this gospel? John 20:30-31 “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John wants us to get an accurate revelation of Jesus so that we will put our trust in him.
Christ was not the victim of an angry mob even though every person in that mob stands morally accountable for his choices. Every person in the mob was exercising free will and exercising their wills against the Lord of Glory. But none of that thwarted the sovereign purpose and plan of God. Remember how Peter addressed the people of Jerusalem about 50 days later on the day of Pentecost? Acts 2:22-23 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Wicked, accountable hands were at work on the night of our text. But we will see that “This man”, our Lord and Savior is being arrested “by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge”.
I want to share with you five powerful demonstrations of Jesus’ lordship in our text that assure us beyond any doubt that he was in control of the situation, that he gave his life for us voluntarily so that we might have life.
Observe with me
1st His Decision to go into Gethsemane (Verse 1-2).
Immediately after his prayer in John 17 Jesus leads his disciples across the Kidron valley into the Garden of Gethsemane. This is particularly significant because this is where Judas would expect to find him. Jesus knows that his hour has come. He is positioning himself to be arrested.
John 1:2 “Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.” Judas knew the place and Jesus knew that Judas knew the place. When Judas was leading the mob to arrest Jesus he probably went first to the upper room. Not finding Jesus there he led them to the Garden.
From the synoptic gospels we know that Jesus prayed in great agony there in the garden.
In fact, the emotional and spiritual pressure was so great that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. There he was in a deep spiritual struggle dealing with the ordeal that lay ahead. He had asked Peter, James, and John to pray with him. They tried but failed. They would start to pray but then fall asleep. Can anybody besides me identify with that? Jesus had gone a little space from them and prayed “Father, if You are willing take this cup from me; yet not by will but Yours be done.” Three times when he would come back to them they would be asleep. Luke, the physician, makes an interesting observation about their sleep. He says that they were “sleeping from sorrow”. The emotional strain of everything that is going on has exhausted them and caused them to seek escape through sleep. I have never experienced what they experienced that night. But I have been in some situations where I found myself sleeping for sorrow—just trying to escape from it all by sleeping and hoping everything would be different when I woke up. Sleep is not the answer. Escape is not the answer. Prayer is the answer.
When Jesus comes to them the third time the crowd arrives in the Garden. The lights from the lanterns and torches could be seen in the distance. Perhaps the rumble of their footsteps and the clanging of their swords could be heard as well.
John does not specify where Judas’ betrayal with a kiss fits into the chain of events. It probably occurred somewhere between verse 4 and verse 10 of our text. What John wants us to see is that Jesus was not caught off guard, not surprised by Judas’ deception, fully knowledgeable of what is happening and submitting himself fully to the Father’s will. He is in this place where he knew they could find him. And when the crowd arrives he goes out to meet them.