Sin messes up everything. A lot.
It’s easy for us to forget how that piece of theology works out in life. It means the world is broken. It means people are broken. We are broken.
There are times life seems to spin well beyond our control. In those moments, we are afraid. We are doubtful.
We pray. We hope. We wait. It’s difficult because fear and doubt paint a picture for us that is based on humanity and not the Lord.
But that brush isn’t painting the entire picture for us.
We’ve spent the last couple of months looking at the Last Supper from John’s Gospel. Judas Iscariot had left to wait for the opportunity to pounce on Jesus and betray Him. The remaining disciples heard Jesus’ teaching and prayer at the Last Supper table.
Then we come to John 18:1.
This place was well-known to the disciples. They had gone there often with Jesus. The other Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) inform us that this garden across from the Kidron Valley was known as the Garden of Gethsemane. Our human author, John, doesn’t name it specifically because by the time he penned his Gospel narrative (around AD 90), it was well known to the disciples of Jesus.
It was nighttime. Not only was it dark from a lack of light, but it was also spiritually dark, and Satan’s plans through Judas were nearing completion. Make no mistake: Jesus was not a victim of circumstance. He was not a pawn in anyone’s system. He was in complete control of the situation; even this location had significance.
There is a powerful symbolism between the “garden” of John’s account and the Garden east of Eden, where humanity began.
Adam’s life began in a garden. Jesus located Himself in a garden to give His life for us.
Adam sinned in his garden. Jesus overcame sin in His garden.
Adam fell from God’s grace in his garden. Jesus conquered in His garden.
Adam hid himself in his garden. Jesus offered Himself in His garden.
This comparison isn’t random. It reminds us of the control of Jesus in life.
John’s mention of the Kidron Valley is also significant—there’s nothing random in the Bible.
The Temple at Jerusalem had a drain close to the altar where the blood from the animal sacrifices would drain. It emptied the blood from the Temple altar into the Kidron Valley.
At Passover (which is when these events are taking place), there were easily over 100,000 lambs sacrificed. All that blood ran into the Kidron Valley. The valley floor would have been stained crimson with the blood of the lambs.
The Lamb of God Who takes away the world’s sin was crossing that place on the eve before the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Again, dearly loved of Jesus, I remind you: the Son of God was in complete control of the situation—regardless of how it might appear at first glance.
The Apostle John omits the events occurring between verses 1 and 2 because (again) it was well known. We can reference Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-46 to remind ourselves.
When life seems out of control, consider John 18:1. Jesus walked into the plan of Satan knowing every detail about it and how it was ultimately used to bring us eternal life. We don’t have to doubt His control or plan.
Does the Lord always make sense from our perspective? No. But that doesn’t mean He’s not in control.
We can trust that the Lord who crossed the Kidron Valley, painted crimson by the blood of sacrificed lambs, remains in control when our lives are washed with fear and doubt.
Is it time to dip your life’s paintbrush in a new can?