Our lesson this week is going to start us into the last unit of lessons for this quarter.  The unit of lessons for this month is titled – Triumph over Trials.  In our lesson last week – Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples – we saw Jesus’ prayer for His disciples in Gethsemane.  Immediately following His prayer in the garden, Jesus was arrested.  We are going to be taking a look at Jesus’ arrest in our lesson this week.  This week’s lesson is being taught from John 18:1-13.

Betrayed and Arrested

Our lesson opens with Jesus having concluded His prayer for the disciples.  It’s not recorded in John’s gospel but in the synoptic gospels, it is recorded that while Jesus had prayed multiple times to the Lord, the disciples had fallen asleep (Matt. 26:40-46; Mark 14:35-41; Luke 22:45-46).  After the last time He prayed, Jesus came to the disciples and woke them up because His time was at hand; He was about to be betrayed.

Judas’ betrayal

Our lesson opens with Jesus and the disciples making their way over the Brook Kidron and entered into the garden (v.1).  Now this was a meeting place that was familiar to the disciples and we are told that because Judas Iscariot once followed Jesus closely, he also knew this was a meeting place for them (v.2).  

With this knowledge in mind, Iscariot led a detachment of troops to this meeting area to arrest Jesus (v.3).  The detachment of troops that Iscariot led to arrest Jesus were given to him by the Jewish leaders.  John does point out the things that this detachment was carrying – lanterns, torches, and weapons.  The other gospels will point out that the weapons these troops were carrying were clubs and swords (Matt. 26:47; Mark 14:43; Luke 22:52).  The King James Version states that the clubs were wooden staves (daggers).  

I also want to point out that John does not go into the detail of Iscariot approaching Jesus and giving Him a kiss on the cheek as shown in the other gospels (Matt. 26:48-49; Mark 14:45; Luke 22:47).  Not to necessarily put words into John’s mouth, but John’s attention was not necessarily on Iscariot’s betrayal but how Jesus handled Himself in this situation.  This arrest was only the beginning of Jesus’ trial and I believe what was important to John was to show that Jesus acted in the manner that He taught us to act with in the face of hostility and persecution.

Jesus’ response to being arrested

So, Jesus being aware of what was taking place, does not respond with hostility towards Iscariot and this detachment of troops.  Jesus calmly asks, “Who are you seeking (v.4)?”  

Now, something that is very interesting about Jesus’ arrest is the manner in how He was arrested, or maybe I should say the manner in which He was treated.  So, I have already pointed out the fact that this detachment that came with Iscariot was carrying torches and swords.  What I have failed to mention is the number of troops that were in this detachment that came to arrest Jesus.  We are not given an exact number of this detachment, but that only it was a “great multitude” (Matt. 26:47; Mark 14:43; Luke 22:47).

Jesus even remarked at the sight of this multitude that was coming to arrest Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs (Luke 22:52)?”  In our day, you would say that they came at Jesus like how we would think officers would respond to serial killers and mass murderers.  Iscariot desired that Jesus be taken away safely but this detachment was ready for action, I believe.

I will even point out that there seems to be some hostility aimed at Jesus as well.  I say this because in the answer that they respond with to Jesus, they say that they are looking for “Jesus of Nazareth” (v.5).  There is no acknowledgment of Jesus being the Son of God or even a great teacher.  Nazareth was a place that was commonly looked down on as it was believed that nothing good could come out of Nazareth (John 1:46).  So, I believe there was some hostility towards Jesus – these men were working on behalf of the Jewish leadership which hated Jesus.

While there was hostility aimed at Jesus, He remained calm and was even accepting of being arrested as He asked that the disciples be let go (v.8)    Something I preached last week was about having peace of mind through our faith in the Lord while we are in the midst of trouble.  We would say that Jesus was in the midst of trouble but the manner in which He is calmly handling this situation shows that He was not troubled.  Faith in the Lord, again, will give us peace of mind in the midst of all of our troubles.

Peter’s troubling response to Jesus’ arrest

The last thing we should do in the midst of a storm is get riled up and frustrated in our heart.  When we get frustrated in our heart it becomes easy for us to lose our focus on the way of God.  Peter, who by this point in time, was in the beginning stages of crossing over to being strong in the faith, showed great weakness in his faith.

Now, while Jesus was going through His own ‘trial’ in this moment, we should understand that the disciples were about to go through a very great trial of their own.  Jesus had just prayed for the disciples about the trials they were about to go through as we saw in our lesson last week.  

Not only had Jesus prayed for them, He had also prepared them for what they were about to go through.  As we have seen in our recent lessons, Jesus taught the disciples that when their hearts were troubled that they should lean on their faith in the Lord.  Jesus taught that when their hearts would be filled with sorrow to not worry because the Lord would replace their sorrow with joy.

Jesus set the example for how the disciples should have responded in this situation – He acted with a great amount of calm.  Peter, as we would say nowadays, did not ‘read the room’.  Not only did Peter not read the room, he did not lean on his faith.  We are told that Peter, having a sword, drew his weapon and struck Malchus, the high priest’s servant (v.10).  Having done this, Peter cut off the right ear of Malchus.

I want you to understand that this was not an act that was done out of faith.  The child of God is not meant to act in such a manner as we are meant to be humble and show grace to all who are around us.  Jesus taught that we should ‘turn the cheek’ and to love our enemies (Matt. 5:38-39, 43-44).  Now, this is a saying that many people do not like; this even includes those who profess to be followers of Christ.  Yet, we are again called to act in a manner that Jesus did when He literally faced His persecutors.

Striving to live like Christ

Jesus commanded Peter to put away His sword so that He could fulfill His Father’s will (v.11).  After this was said, Jesus was taken away to stand before Annas and the Sanhedrin.  Jesus, again, did this without argument or even putting up a fight.  Jesus, even though He knew what awaited Him, remained humble and at peace.  Something I should also point out, just to look back at how Jesus mentioned carrying out the Father’s will to Peter.

Jesus was doing all of this in a manner of being faithful to the Father.  We may not agree with the idea of always being humble and treating others with grace, and we may even desire to take the route that Peter took.  Yet, if we truly are a child of God, then we should truly strive to be faithful to His way.  Again, we must grow in our faith!  Our faith must be strong so that we can faithfully carry out the will of the Lord and faithfully live according to His way.


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