Summary: Jesus was in complete and absolute control of the situation. He wasn’t the helpless victim of a cruel and unjust system and His life wasn’t snatched from Him either but He surrendered Himself to sinful hands.
The arrest of Jesus John 18:11-27
Job 5:7 says, "People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire." Troubles are part of life. And there’s no end to the troubles you will probably face. Let me give you some examples.
A fierce gust of wind blew 45-year old Vittorio Luise’s car into a river near Naples, Italy in 1983. He managed to break out a window, climb out, and swim to shore where a tree blew over and killed him. Mike Stewart, 31, of Dallas was filming a public service movie in 1983 on "The Dangers of Low-Level Bridges" when the truck he was standing on passed under a low-level bridge and killed him. Walter Hallas, a 26-year old store clerk in Leeds, England was so afraid of dentists that in 1979 he asked a fellow worker to try to cure his toothache by punching him in the jaw. His friend punched him and this caused Hallas to fall down, hitting his head, and he died of a fractured skull. Surprised while breaking into a house in Antwerp, Belgium, a thief fled out the back door, clambered over a nine foot wall, dropped down, and found himself in the city prison. And you thought that you were having a bad day!
The last couple of weeks I tried to cover the passage in verses 1-11 and I got hung up and we never got to the end of the chapter, so, what I want to do now is to start with those remaining verses and hopefully this will lead into if not finish this section.
And so, we begin in verse 4 where it seems as though Jesus left His disciples in the garden and then He went out the gate by Himself to meet that massive crowd of clergyman, temple police, Roman soldiers and basically hangers on who have a tendency to join in whenever they see something happening and they want to know what’s going on. And all these people had just come out of the city of Jerusalem and then walked up the hill with all their lanterns and torches and you’ll remember that I said they were all led by one person and that was Judas. Now, he wasn’t leading in the sense that he was in charge of this group but he was simply showing them where Jesus and His disciples had spend time together.
And, as they were all coming to arrest Jesus, we know that He was more than aware of what they had intended to do because He had already told the disciples about what was going to happen when they were back in the upper room. And don’t forget, that Jesus is omniscient which means He knows everything. I mean, nothing takes Him by surprise. And that means, you can never do something stupid and then God will say, “I didn’t see that coming.”
Now listen to this, God has seen every success and every failure you’ll ever experience before you ever experience them and this is why I say, you can’t lose your salvation based on what you do because God knew you would do these things before you ever did them. I mean, that’s why He saved you in the first place. His salvation wasn’t based on how good you were or even on how good you were going to be. We seem to have this mentality that God forgave everything we did before we were saved but now somehow we’re accountable for our sin. God expects us to live according to the teaching of the scriptures but at the same time He realizes that none of us will ever be perfect until we stand in His presence. So, on one hand, He’s not cutting us slack and telling us to do whatever we want to while on the other hand He’s not going to punish us for things Jesus died for. So, we are all accountable and responsible to Him but at the same time, we also realize that we’re still sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness.
So, Jesus had seen Judas make his deal with the religious crowd and then He had seen them all getting organized as they left Jerusalem and He had seen them all going down the hill into the Kedron Valley and then climbing back up to the Mount of Olives.
And as they approached the garden Jesus stood there and asked them a very simple question which was, “Whom do you seek?” Now, we hear that and we have to wonder, why did He ask that? I mean, wasn’t it obvious who they were looking for? And they responded by saying, “Jesus of Nazareth.” And He said, “I am.” Now, I know in the King James Version it says, “I am He” but the word ‘he’ is assumed, in other words, it’s not actually there. And then it says, “As soon then as He had said unto them, I am they went backward, and fell to the ground.”