Title: A LIFE GIVEN, NOT TAKEN
Text: John 18:1-11
Following the high priestly prayer in chapter 17, Jesus leaves the upper room with the intention of meeting the prince of evil and those used by him. The glory of the Father rested upon Him in this hour of destiny. Jesus has already prayed, “Father, keep them from the evil one” (17:15), and so, knowing they are safe, He departs to do battle with him.
Crossing over the Kidron valley into the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, the second Adam, deliberately enters the final conflict, reversing the situation where the serpent made the assault on the first Adam in a similar garden. As every rose has its thorns, so this garden has its sorrow. As told by other gospel writers, the conflict with flesh and blood was preceded with an intense battle in prayer. But it was only through the power and peace He gained in that time of prayer that He was able to face a betraying disciple and the events that followed. Let’s read how the Suffering Servant displayed His quiet strength in the final hours when His closest friends deserted Him. This quiet strength is needed by all that face their own Gethsemane. Read Text.
1. What other events do you recall happened in the Garden of Gethsemane that are not recorded in this gospel account?
2. Besides the sting of betrayal, what other sting is there in Judas bringing the mob to this garden? (He knew Jesus often met there with His disciples – a place of intimate retreat – but now he uses that information to be the place of betrayal.)
3. What two armies are mustered together to take Jesus? (Romans & temple guards.) Do you suppose such an entourage gathered sightseers along the way on this dark night?
4. Like Jesus, have you also faced your hardest struggles during the dark of the night? What strategy insight do you gain from how Jesus faced His dark night? (Prayer; closest friends gathered nearby and were invited to pray with Him.)
5. “Jesus, knowing all things that were coming upon Him…” (18:4) What kind of heart and character would it take to know what was coming and not run away in this circumstance? If the rest of the events your life were to be revealed to you, would you want to know? What extra burden is placed upon you if you were to know?
6. John offers a different insight about the approaching mob in verse 4 than the rest of the gospel accounts. What is it? (Jesus approached them, rather than them finding Him in the recesses of the Garden.) What is courageous about this? (He separates Himself out from the rest of the disciples, and even requests that they be left alone – the one they are after is He.)
7. What do you think is going on when the mob steps back and falls to the ground when Jesus states, “I am He”? (The power of the spoken word of Yahweh.)
Insight: “I Am” in this passage in Greek, are the same words used in the Septuagint for translating the same words spoken of God in Ex. 3:14. At this moment of revelation, Judas and two armies, all the politics and physical force could not stand against Him who is unarmed and puts up no opposition. How do you explain such virtuous power? How do you stand up against such virtue? They couldn’t – they were blown away temporarily! Ps. 27:2; 129:5-6 No one could stand in this moment when Jesus unveiled His essential nature momentarily. The spoken word of Yahweh has no equal. Gen. 1:3; Matt. 8:32; Mk. 4:39; Rev. 19:20-21
8. Why do you suppose Jesus asks a second time, “Whom do you seek?” (Your business is with Me, not My disciples – let them go free. What a caring Shepherd – and a willing Lamb to be lead to the slaughter ALONE!)
9. As John reflects on these events years later, he pens, “…so that it could be fulfilled that He lost not one.” Do you recall similar words previously? (John 17:12 Jesus prayed the prayer, and now He insures the prayer comes true.)
10. How would you describe Peter’s act towards Malchus? (Impulsive; an act to display his love and loyalty to Jesus; willing to die with Jesus on the spot.) Why do you think Jesus stopped Peter from stopping the mob with force? (Because evil can be overcome only if Jesus drinks the cup of God’s wrath in behalf of man.)
We are too much like Peter and not enough like Jesus. We are brave at one moment, ready to fight against overwhelming odds, and the next moment, our courage collapses when those who are not Christians question us. How like us Peter was.
Will you stand up for Jesus bravely, as He did? Or will you hesitate to witness for the Lord when threatened by ridicule or indifference? The day will come when the ridicule and indifference will be replaced with acts of violence and even death. If we cannot stand against ridicule, how will we stand when it comes time to confess or deny Him?
"Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32-33)
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:4)
“But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:17-24)
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” (Rev. 2:10-11)