Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

“Lord, give me patience; because if you give me strength, I’m gonna kill somebody.”

It’s a funny meme and I literally laugh out loud every time I see it.  And I can certainly identify with the sentiment. 

But how often do we really behave this way?  How often do we seriously treat the Lord as if He is supposed to do things our way?

It’s a funny meme but a tragic way to live.

Last week, we saw how the journey from the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane was the plan of God.  We continue in John 18:2-14:

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.  So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)  When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” 

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.  

John 18:2-14
New International Version

Verse 3 tells us Judas was not alone: “So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.”

They sent all these people to arrest one man who never raised a hand against anyone.  At most, they were concerned that Jesus’ disciples would cause trouble, and maybe Judas told them enough stories to make the religious leaders concerned. The “detachment of soldiers” they brought were Roman soldiers.  Armed Roman soldiers.  Peace was going to be kept at all costs.  

And by the flicker of the lanterns and the glow of the moonlight, the events of verses 4-12 occur.

“Jesus, knowing all what was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” They respond, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  

Jesus wasn’t making idle conversation or stalling.  He was voluntarily submitting to the events transpiring.  Jesus was etching His identity into their souls.  

Jesus responds in verse 5 with the same identification given to Moses in the burning bush of Exodus 3“I am.”  Our English Bibles add the “he” at the end, and although it’s not incorrect, it obscures what He meant. “I AM”…this is the name of God Almighty.  Once again, Jesus reminds them Who He really is.  

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

And look what happens: “When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground” (Verse 6). At hat moment, they came face-to-face with the terrifying mystery of the ultimate reality.  If the mere mention of the name of God was enough to knock down this motley crew coming to arrest Jesus, imagine what blasphemy against this name could do.  The Father did not and does not play games concerning His Son.

Peter tried, in his humanity, to protect Jesus, but it was not to be so.  This was the way the Father’s plan had to unfold.  Should Jesus not have stopped Peter, there would have been tremendous bloodshed, and faced with the Roman guard, the over-zealous disciples would have been hopelessly outmatched.  No.  It was to be a peaceable arrest; Jesus was willing to go.

When they arrest Jesus, they take him to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law.  Annas was like the “power behind the throne” of Caiaphas.  Appointed by the Roman legate Quirinius in A.D. 6, Annas should have held that office for life, but the procurator Valerius Gratus, Pilate’s predecessor, found him intolerable and removed him in A.D. 15.  He subsequently appointed his son-in-law Caiaphas.  In many ways, Annas was still considered the High Priest and certainly had the political power of the office in the eyes of the Jewish people, who generally despised their Roman occupiers. 

Whether it was Annas, Caiaphas, Judas, the other disciples, the Romans, the temple guards, or us today, we, too, can disregard him.  We can know the truth of Who He is but still act as if we don’t.

We brush off His commands for living a holy life. 
We intentionally neglect His path of blessing.
We try to live our lives our way.
We try to push Jesus into doing things our way.
We take matters into our own hands—just like Peter tried to do.  

And just like Judas tried to do.

When we disregard Him and His place in our lives, we act like those in the garden.

How have you disregarded Jesus?  How does Jesus want to step into that place and become Lord there too?