Was Christ Killed? John 18a
Stephen Caswell © 2005
This coming Friday is Good Friday. Therefore I thought it would be good to look at Christ’s arrest. Who Killed Jesus Christ? Some people believe that Christ was a victim of circumstance. Yet, Jesus came to earth to do His Father’s will; and this included His death on the cross. This morning we will see 3 things about His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. 1. Christ’s Adversaries, 2. Christ’s Authority, 3. Christ’s Accomplishment.
1. Christ’s Adversaries
Who was responsible for Christ’s death? Who orchestrated His undeserved death? The Gospels tell us that a number of people were responsible.
1-2: When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.
At the top of the list we would have to place Judas Iscariot. Judas was one of the 12 disciples. Although he was a personal friend of Christ Judas betrayed his Master for 30 pieces of silver. He sold his soul to the devil for money. The name Judas, has become synonymous with treachery. His affection for Christ shown by a kiss was only a cover for his covetous heart. On the other hand Jesus still called Judas friend when He asked why he had come. Jesus said woe to the man who betrays the Son of Man. Yes, Judas is guilty.
b. Jewish Authorities
John 18:3: Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
The chief priests and Pharisees sent 600 Roman soldiers and temple guards to arrest Jesus Christ. They were jealous because the people followed Jesus. They envied His authority. On a number of occasions they incited the people to stone Christ for blasphemy. In fact they had been plotting to kill Him for some time because He exposed their sin. John 11:47-48, 53: Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, what shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. The religious leaders are guilty.
John 13:1-2: Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,
Satan has been at war with God from the beginning. He brought sin into the universe when he rebelled against God. He then tempted Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden. When Jesus Christ became a man, Satan tried to kill him. He had all the young children 2 years old and down killed in Bethlehem. He tempted Christ to sin in the wilderness so that He couldn’t save mankind. Satan’s demons also confronted Christ only to be defeated. Satan attempted to kill Christ on the Sea of Galilee with a violent storm. However Jesus calmed the wind and the waves. Satan wanted Jesus Christ out of the way. He moved the religious leaders against Christ. Satan also tempted Judas to betray Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:7-8: The rulers of this age didn’t know God’s wisdom; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Satan is guilty of Christ’s death.
1 Peter 2:24: who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed.
Finally, we are all guilty of Christ’s death. It was our sin that nailed Him to the cross. Calvary was the only way that a holy God could save sinners like you and me. On the cross Jesus said it is finished. The work of salvation was complete. These words also mean paid in full. The debt we owe God because of our sin has been paid. 1 Timothy 1:15: This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Ultimately you and I are responsible for Jesus death. He died for our sin. We’re all guilty.
Who is responsible for Christ’s death? Many people. Judas, the religious leaders, Pontius Pilate and Satan were all involved. Yet ultimately our sin nailed Jesus Christ to the cross. He came to die for you and me. How deep is God’s love for us? The cross is the answer! Have you thanked Christ for dying for you? Salvation is a free gift, but it isn’t cheap!
2. Christ’s Authority
a. He Sought His Enemies John 18:4: Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, whom are you seeking?
Jesus knew that His enemies were coming out to arrest Him. He could have fled into the night and escaped from them. But He didn’t. In fact Jesus Christ went out to meet them. He was in control of the whole situation. He was not afraid of the soldiers or the religious leaders. He knew that the cross lay before Him and went out to confront His enemies. Hebrews 12:2: looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Death did not take Christ; He pursued it and conquered it. Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life and proved it by His resurrection from the dead.
b. His Sovereignty Over His Enemies
John 18:5-9: They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, I am He. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, I am He, they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, whom are you seeking? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way, that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.
Jesus asked the soldiers who they were looking for. They answered, Jesus of Nazareth. To this Jesus replied I Am. The word he is not in the original. The name I Am is a name for God. The I Am appeared to Moses at the burning bush. The I Am refers to the eternal God. Jesus was claiming the divine name for Himself. He had done this previously. At His reply all the soldiers fell backwards. All 600 of them. They didn’t have the power to stand before an all powerful, holy God. So, they fell down. Christ then arranged to have His followers set free. Christ was in control of the whole situation.
c. His Submission To His Father
John 18:10-11: Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?
Christ allowed the soldiers to arrest Him because this was His Father’s will. He didn’t resist them and told Peter to put His sword away. Christ had the power to resist them as can be seen by the way they all fell back; but He didn’t use it. He also had the authority to call 72,000 angels to come to His aid. But instead Jesus submitted to the Father’s will. Matthew 26:51-53: And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
In the Passion, Jesus places Himself on the cross. He died for us because He loves us.
Diety Of Christ
The following quote is attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte: I marvel that whereas the ambitious dreams of myself, Caesar, Alexander, should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant, Jesus, should be able to stretch His hands across the destinies of men and nations. I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I myself have found empires; but upon what do these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded his empire upon love; and to this very day millions would die for Him.
Never think that Jesus Christ was a victim. He willingly laid down His life for us. Jesus Christ had authority over the religious leaders and their soldiers they sent out. They fell back at the mention of His name. He submitted to them because it was God’s will.
3. Christ’s Accomplishment
a. He is the Savior
John 18:12: Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.
Jesus Christ laid down His life to save lost sheep like you and me. No one took His life from Him; Jesus laid it down willingly for us. John 10:14-15, 17-18: I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.
Christ the Savior
A native of interior China wanted to become a Christian but couldn’t understand how Christianity was superior to Confucianism and Buddhism. One morning he came to the missionary in a happy mood saying, I dreamed last night, and now I understand. I dreamed I had fallen into a deep pit where I lay helpless and despairing. Confucius came and said, Let me give you advice, my friend; if you get out of your trouble, never get in again. Buddha came and said, If you can climb up to where I can reach you, I will help you. Then Christ came. He climbed down into the pit and carried me out. It takes the Savior of man to do that. Only He would stoop so low to save a sinners like you and me.
b. He was Sinless
John 19:4: Pilate then went out again, and said to them, Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.
After Pontius Pilate examined Christ he said that Jesus was without fault. He was sinless. To atone for our sin and guilt, God requires a perfect sacrifice. Jesus is the Holy One sent from God to save us. He lived in the world and experienced the same temptations that we do, yet without sin. If Christ had sinned He would be just like us and unable to save us. Praise God Jesus Christ resisted all temptation to sin. John called Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 1 Peter 1:18-19: knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Spurgeon Tests The Acoustics
Charles Spurgeon, once while testing acoustics in Agricultural Hall in London, rang out over the empty building, Behold, the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world! A workman up in the ceiling heard the message, was convicted, went home, knelt before the Lord and found salvation.
c. He was our Substitute
John 18:14: Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. This verse was taken from a statement made earlier.
John 11:49-52: And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish. Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.
God’s justice requires that all sin must be punished. We are the ones who deserve to die; to be separated from God in hell. But Jesus Christ died for us on the cross. He received our punishment when He was beaten and crucified. He cried out in victory on the cross, it is finished. Our salvation was complete. The punishment for sin was paid in full. Isaiah 53:4-6: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Memorial To A Crushed Lamb
On a little church in Germany stands a stone lamb which has an interesting history: When some workmen were building the roof, one workman fell to the ground. His companions hastened down expecting to see him killed. But he was unhurt. A lamb was grazing below when he fell on it, crushing the lamb. He was so grateful that he made an image of the lamb in stone and placed it on the building as memorial. Romans 5:10: For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Jesus Christ was God’s perfect sacrifice for sin. He was not a victim. He was a victor. He conquered sin, death and hell through the cross and His resurrection. He cried out in victory on the cross, It is finished. He had completed the work of salvation. Our debt to God was paid in full. Hebrews 2:14-15: Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Yes, Jesus Christ was not a victim; He was a victor. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He wants to be your substitute. You only have to believe in Him. Will you ask Him to save you from your sin? Have you received Jesus Christ into your life as Lord and Savior? He came to save us! Will you receive Him now?
Nu 6:24-26: The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.