“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples…” They are leaving together like so many times before but this will be the last time and no doubt only Jesus knows what awaits them.
Together they cross the brook Kidron – the name Kidron is from a Hebrew verb meaning to be dark or mourn. King David crossed this brook when He was fleeing Jerusalem when his son Absalom was seeking to overthrow his throne. It is all the more striking this is the only place in the New Testament the brook Kidron is mentioned. (I can’t help but draw the parallel between David, voluntarily leaving his city, mourning over his son and waiting to see if God would restore him and Jesus, voluntarily leaving His throne, mourning over our sin and waiting to be restored in victory. What you might find in a name!)
They enter a garden there – The other gospels mention the Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed and sweated blood while the disciples could not stay awake but John does not. John focuses on how Jesus cared for the people around Him.
This was a familiar place for Jesus and his band, so Judas knew about it. Judas came with soldiers and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees. He could not do this dirty deed alone. He had sided with the world and chosen the world’s power and the world’s authority. They had lanterns and torches and weapons. And before they could even speak, Jesus asks, “Whom do you seek?” (I could stop right here and ponder this question for myself – Who am I seeking?) I have to say they were seeking the right person: “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Now I love this part. Jesus says, “I am he” and “they all drew back and fell to the ground.” Well, so much for soldiers and officials and weapons! So Jesus has to ask them again – they are in a hard place, sent out to arrest God – He is helping them along.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” I’ve always thought the best defense is a good offense. You would think Jesus, the hunted, would be in the position of weakness but He is anything but. His primary focus in this moment is to fulfill His Father’s plan and to protect His own.
“Then Simon Peter…” Peter the Panicked tries to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! (How many times have I done this? I get scared – I don’t ask – I re-act instead of act – I screw-up and Jesus has to fix things and rescue me…again!) Peter slashes out at the High Priest’s servant – not even a soldier. How can we sometimes just be so misdirected? We are dangerous and likely to hurt the very people Jesus came to save. Fortunately, Jesus heals in spite of our clumsiness – Luke 22:51. Malchus will never be the same.
So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Peter seems always to be in this predicament. (I’m just like him. We are smart. We are capable. We have skills. We are devoted – even zealous. But without His guidance pride sends us off course and Jesus has to remind us, sometimes painfully, we have missed the mark.)
At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess He is Lord. Some will just fall to the ground!
Don’t be a panicky Peter!
About the World?
If you are seeking Jesus, He will walk right up and introduce Himself.