Jesus Taken: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 18th, 2009

John 18:1–11

Summary:
Judas betrays Jesus.
The officers fall to the ground.
Peter smites off Malchus' ear.

 18:1.  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.
 18:2.  And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.
 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.
 18:4.  Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?''
 18:5.  They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth.'' Jesus said to them, "I am He.'' And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.

 18:6.  Then when He said to them, "I am He,'' they drew back and fell to the ground.
 18:7.  Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?'' And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth.''
 18:8.  Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,''
 18:9.  that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.''

 18:10.  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.
 18:11.  Then Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?''

Comments:

Much of the first part of this month long study was in the old testament, learning how sin came to the world, defining sin, seeing how mankind slowly declined and fell away from God. We were told of a promised savior, of how he came and used physical signs, even taught spiritual ways. Now, we are confronted with his sacrifice for us. The end of his ministry and teaching.

Jesus was at a garden along with his disciples. Judas was going to sneak off and betray him. He returned with an armed guard force. To take such a man as revered as Jesus might mean trouble. But Jesus knew.

They didn't have to find him, Jesus came to them instead. He identified himself as "I am." An unusual thing happened at that moment. The arresting crowd went backwards and fell down. What was that about? Unseen angels? Unseen power at work? This passage doesn't specify, but hold that thought.

Jesus repeats his question and asks to take him and let the others go. Which, when they do will fulfill a prophecy.

Suddenly Peter is in the scene with a sword, ready to defend his master. Maybe an echo of the unseen forces that just put the guards on the ground? Is there a connection there? The scripture doesn't make such things clear. Just something to be speculated over. The possibility that a porrly armed band of men, and the potential armies of heaven, ready to fight, and make a stand hang in the air. But the situation was diffused by a few simple words and actions by Jesus. What was about to happen was meant to be.

Peter, acting in his usual impetuous manner, swings the sword, but the only damage is minor. A person is hurt. Not just a person, but a real human, with a real name, Malchus. Jesus calls off any further physical attacks. What is about to happen, as painful and terrible as it may be, is necessary. In this passage it doesn't mention it, but in Luke 22:51, despite being an enemy, Jesus takes the time to heal the man.

Do you have a close, loved one? A friend, a child, or spouce? Someone who, if they were in some mortal danger, you would step in for them? Take on their burden of suffering for them? We would like to stay together and spend happy moments, but sometimes it can be no other way. That's what God does through Jesus. God cares for us, and wants to take suffering out of our lives.

Through the miracle of Jesus coming to earth in human form, God provided a way so we can avoid an eternal suffering. To do that, a price was to be paid. God is immortal. He can't die. His love is so great that he would die for us if he could. Jesus terrible death is the death that God dies for us. Some people have real hatred towards the Jews in general because they killed their own Messiah, and our Savior. Tragic, but necessary, and woe to the ones who made the deeds to happen.

But even Jesus didn't endorse a battle to interfere with the plan that God had. His capture was voluntary. Assuming the arresting guards were knocked back and to the ground by unseen angels, they were made to stop. The attempt at the disciples in his defense was not only stopped, but healing to the injured enemy was offered.

If you feel a heavy weight over what Jesus has done for you, that's good. You understand. Leave those burdens at his feet though, don't wallow in grief over his death, or the injustice done to him. It had to be that way. Don't hate those who have nailed him to the tree, each of us has played a part in that. Pity the ones who have done it and haven't recognized the significance of the event. They also deserve our prayers of forgiveness and healing, but let God remain as the judge.

That moment in time was just that, a moment. A pivot point that shattered the old bondage of sins and released a new era of spiritual freedom.

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