So Jesus, Knowing All That Would Happen to Him, Came Forward
Truth Taught- Jesus was fully aware and in control of all that took place in His life.
As we march closer and closer to the cross we’ve left the Sage and Teacher Jesus Christ and will now take up the Savior Jesus Christ. The time for teaching is past and the time for sacrificing has come. Of course there is still teaching involved the entire way to and through the cross but our Lord’s emphasis is now on the one thing still lacking in His mission, dying for the sin of His people.
God being in control through all of Jesus’ life is absolutely still in control at Jesus’ death. God is behind the scene orchestrating all that will take place in the next few hours. Never does a second pass without God first holding it in His hand and making all things work according to His divine plan.
Many have tried to teach that Jesus’ death was simply a sad case of twisted and unfortunate events and that He failed to accomplish anything of lasting value. That, beloved, is the furthest from the truth. The cross was no accident and Jesus was no victim.
The cross came about and could only come about by divine decree. God was behind every detail, overseeing every event that would lead to the crucifixion of His Son. Everything comes about by the divine decree and predetermined plan of God, including the crucifixion of Jesus.
Because the entire Bible is God’s Word, it stands to reason that the will of God would be contained in even the OT. The cross has been spoken of in the OT. Many of the specifics of the cross were spoken of in the OT as well. So we see that the cross was planned and not an accident.
Zech 11 foretells of the thirty pieces of silver, Psalm 55 foretells Judas’ betrayal, Zech 13 foretells the scattering of the disciples, Psalm 35 foretells of the false witnesses, Isaiah 50 about Jesus being spit upon and His beard plucked out, Isaiah 53 Jesus being wounded and bruised, Psalm 22 His hand and feet being pierced…etc.
Isaiah 53:10a (ESV)
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
The point here being that for an OT prophet to write Scripture concerning the cross, a future event, God would have to have the event already in His mind and planned out.
So the prophets wrote about the cross and the events surrounding the cross.
The Apostles knew that the prophets wrote about the cross, probably because Jesus later told them in Luke
Luke 24:44–46 (ESV)
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,
Acts 2:22–23 (ESV)
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Acts 3:17–18 (ESV)
17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.
Acts 4:27–28 (ESV)
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.
Acts 13:27–28 (ESV)
27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
Luke 24:44–47 (ESV)
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Matthew 26:24 (ESV)
24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
Jesus also knew that the cross was His mission. He came to earth taking on flesh for the purpose of dying for us.
John 12:27–28 (ESV)
27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
So, rather than being caught off guard and taken by surprise our Lord was focused on accomplishing all that the Father had for Him including the pinnacle event, the cross.
So, with Chapter 18 we begin to look at the cross event and the events surrounding it unfold just as God desired.
Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen
John 18:1–11 (ESV)
18 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 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.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Jesus is the most aggressive and courageous warrior that could ever fight for us to redeem us.
18 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”
From passed verses, we know that Satan had entered Judas. You see, Judas was simply doing what he wanted to do. God did not make him sin but used him and his sin to accomplish the crucifixion of His Son.
It is not by chance that Jesus, the Second Adam, would begin His battle for the life of His followers in a garden. It was the garden…The Garden of Eden where the first Adam was also betrayed by Satan. The first garden was a perfect place and Adam fell. This garden would prove to be the place where the victory started. Here the Second Adam would triumph over Satan, sin and darkness. Here, the victory began!
The first Adam lost his battle with Satan and took all humanity as it were, over the cliff with him. In Adam all are lost. Christ could say to the Father, All You have given Me, I’ve lost none!
The last time we’ve seen Judas was at the Last Supper when, in the upper room Jesus was teaching His disciples. He, of course, knows what Judas is about to do and tells him to go and do it.
John 13:27 (ESV)
27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Jesus gives Judas ample time to make his arrangements and then Jesus and His disciple set out to the garden where Judas would know exactly where to find Him. So, in reality, Jesus was making it very easy for Judas to do what needed to be done if the cross were to come about.
I think we see the pure evil in Judas. This being the place where a great many prayers had been offered up over the course of the last three years. This garden had become a precious place for Jesus and His disciples a place of prayer and precious fellowship. That meant nothing to Judas.
I think we can see the evil and sinfulness of Judas who was now being led by Satanic forces. We can also see the boldness of our Lord. He knows what needs to happen and He takes the lead to see that it all comes to pass.
This is a wonderful example of bold obedience.
Men, we need to take the reins of our family and be aggressive to do God’s will. We cannot sit back and watch. Jesus knew His Father’s will and set out to accomplish it. We too know God’s will and must set out to make sure it is accomplished through us. As Jesus fought for us, we must fight for our families. Our Lord is a great example of boldness and of aggressive obedience.
3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”
Judas betrays Jesus in the garden
No need to look any further Satan…I standing right here!
If we combine the accounts we can see that Judas, as a means of identifying Jesus kisses Him on the cheek.
Matthew 26:48–50 (ESV)
48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss.
Jesus does not back down but steps forward to speak directly to Satan.
The first Adam did not step up to meet the enemy but rather stepped back so Eve could meet the enemy.
Genesis 3:6 (ESV)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Adam left his wife to spar with Satan…what a wimp. Men, stand in the gap for your families and for your wives. Do not let your wife do what you should do. Step up like Jesus does here do not step back.
6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
If we are to understand this verse, we must place ourselves in the garden with Jesus and the others. John tells us that a large band of soldiers were heading up the elevated hill to the flat place, which was called the garden. The army crossed the Kidron Valley, which would have been in plain sight of Jesus and the others…Jesus waited. This time He would not slip away quietly because now His time had come. Everything was in step with the will of God. Everything was in His hands.
This band of soldiers and officers as John puts it were battle worn Roman Legionnaires. These soldiers had seen hard fighting, they had seen death many times they were battle worn and ready. They knew how to dig in and push forward to press the enemy back. Notice what happens here…
4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Ego eimi- is the Greek translation. This phrase is translated literally, I AM. Now we must keep in mind here that Jesus did not say, I Am He…the He has been added to help it read more appropriate in English. However it is a poor translation. Jesus said with the power of God…I AM!
With that declaration, the Roman soldiers, officers, chief priests, and Judas fell to the ground.
Why did they fall to the ground?
Jesus’ humanity kept, as it were, the divine veiled. There was one time recorded for us when His divinity was no longer hidden…
Matthew 17:2–3 (ESV)
2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
Here at the garden in the midst of the march toward the cross our Lord speaks from His divinity the great and awesome words of God…I AM and the crowd there did not bow in submission but fainted as dead men in submission to our Lord’s divine glory and majesty.
Exodus 3:13–14 (ESV)
13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
The great commentator and pastor Alexander Maclaren says this…
I am inclined to think that here,…there was for a moment a little rending of the veil of His flesh, and an emission of some flash of the brightness that always tabernacle within Him; and that…was enough to prostrate with a strange awe even those rude and insensitive men. When He said, “I am He,” there was something that made them feel, “This is One whom violence cowers abashed, and in whose presence impurity has to hide its face.
Why does John report this? What is the significance of this verse?
It seems that what John wants us to see is that if Jesus could drive back an entire armed squadron of trained soldiers with two words, I Am. There was nothing they or anyone else could have done to take Jesus to the cross without His consent. Unless God’s will was for Jesus to go and unless Jesus went willingly there was nothing on this earth that could have been done to get Jesus to the cross. He let them arrest Him. He let them falsely accuse Him, He let them beat Him and abuse Him, He let them crucify Him.
This scene is a warning and assurance.
The scene here of all the soldiers and officers falling to the ground is a warning because it is but a preview of the entire lost world one day bowing the knee to King Jesus. The knee that refuses to bow to the King in humble submission will one day bow in ultimate despair.
It is a scene of assurance to all who are currently submitting to Christ. As we bow the knee to King Jesus now as Lord and Savior will experience great joy in the Day of Judgment.
For Jesus obedience to the Father’s will meant at least for the time being He would endure great cruelty from evil forces. Obedience meant suffering.
Sometimes for us too suffering comes about because God is not punishing us but actually doing what He desires.
Obedience is often challenged by difficulties.
Are you obeying what God desires from you? Great! This is right and good no matter what circumstances come your way. Paul and Silas suffered for preaching the Word. John suffered on the Isle of Patmos because he was faithful. Most of the Apostles also suffered death because they were obedient to God.
The challenge for us is to remain faithful regardless what happens to us as a result…one thing is clear God is always pleased by our obedience.