Arrested Development, John 18:1-14, 18 August 2013

Big Idea: Jesus willingly surrendered Himself for us.


After months of studying the life of Jesus, we turn a sharp, dark corner. For the next few weeks, we will be examining those final, bloody hours before His death. As one of Jesus’ best friends, John gives a unique account of this scandalous expression of God’s love for us.

In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) the humanity of Jesus is emphasized, His sufferings. John emphasizes the deity of Jesus, the God man. The emphasis is on His glory and His return to the Father.

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. (1)

The 17th chapter of John records Jesus’ prayer for Himself, His disciples, and us. If you missed them, I urge you to listen to the podcast or read the message notes at

John does not record the agony of Jesus sweating drops of blood, instead focusing on His glory, His ability to be in complete control.

David fled his son, Absalom, in 2 Samuel 15 after crossing this same Kidron Valley. Another interesting parallel is David’s counselor, Ahithophel, betrayed him and later hung himself, the person in the Bible besides Judas to hang himself. The agony of David and Jesus are oddly similar. Coincidence?

The scene is dark, both literally and figuratively.

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. (2-3)

Earlier, Jesus eluded his enemies because it was not yet time. Now is the time for His arrest. A detachment is a tenth of a legion or as many as 1000 soldiers! It is unlikely that they all came, but imagine dozens or even hundreds of armed soldiers going after one man…one unarmed man!

One writer noted how they bring torches and lanterns to search for the Light of the World; they bring weapons against the Prince of Peace.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” (4)

Jesus approaches them! What kind of person goes out to their enemies?! I love that He knew all that was going to happen, yet He asks who they want.

Jesus’ first words in the Gospel of John were “What are you seeking?” (1:38). These people are seeking Jesus, not to know Him but to kill Him.

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. (5a)

“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. (5b-6)

Twice Jesus calls Himself “I Am.” John has given us many “I Am” statements already such as, “I am the bread of life” and “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Jesus is divine, yet notice they didn’t fall forward to worship Jesus but backward in fear and confusion in the presence of the LORD they do not know or recognize.

Psalm 27 says

The LORD is my light and my salvation —whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. (Psalm 27:1-2)

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.” (8-9)

Jesus remains in complete control. He tells the crowd to let the disciples go and they obey Him. He issues orders to those arresting him! He is the Good Shepherd laying down His life for the sheep.

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.) (10)

Peter was a fisherman, not a soldier. He probably went after the neck and only got the ear! Why didn’t they go after Peter? Luke tells us Jesus healed the ear of Malchus (22:51). As is so often the case, Peter is clueless. He is out of control. He takes matters into his own hands. Then he is scolded by Jesus!

Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (11)

There is the cup of salvation (Psalm 116:13), consolation (Jeremiah 16:7), but this is the cup of judgment that Jesus will bore for us on the cross. He is willing to drink the cup given to Him by the Father.

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. (12-14)

They didn’t need to bind Him. He willingly went with them. He went alone. His friends have all fled the scene.

Caiaphas was the one the Roman government accepted. Annas was the head of the religious leaders, their high priest.

Notice the final sentence. John shows us that it was predetermined that Jesus would die (see John 11:43-53). Jesus knew the plan and was in complete control of every moment. The true high priest will be put to death by the religious high priest.

So What?

In the beginning, there was a beautiful, perfect garden. Generations later, sinful men arrested the only perfect Man in a garden in order to restore humanity, in order to bring healing and reconciliation rather than violence and bloodshed.

Despite the nightmare He was about to face, He chose to follow the Father’s plan of seeking and saving us—broken, messed up sinners. Jesus willingly surrendered Himself for us. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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Jesus Prays For Us: Unity, John 17:13-26, 1 August 2013

Big Idea: Jesus wants us to be joyful, missional, unified, and loved.


Two weeks ago we began John 17, the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in which He prayed for Himself and His disciples prior to His arrest and crucifixion. Essentially John allows us to eavesdrop on Jesus praying. We’re going to review some of our previous text beginning with verse 13 because much of what He prays for His disciples is relevant to us.

Jesus Prays For His Followers

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

  1. 1. Jesus wants us to experience joy

Sin always leads to death (chocolate poop!). Joy only comes from the LORD. Jesus said in chapter sixteen that He would send the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). The world is not where we find joy, but where we love and serve others. This world is not our home.

The mark of the Christian is joy, not the pursuit of happiness. Joy comes from the Holy Spirit. It is not dependent upon our circumstances. When—not if—we suffer and die, it can glorify God and be used to grow us and others.

Jesus prays that He would suffer well and that His disciples would suffer well.

We can’t do everything. We need wisdom to know how to live within our many limits.

Again He prays that the Father would protect them.

Sanctify them.

  1. 2. Jesus wants us to be missional.

He wants us to be joyful missionaries. Missionaries used to be people that were sent to strange people that don’t know God and live alternative lifestyles…overseas. Those people live in Ann Arbor…and Ypsilanti, and Dexter, and all around us! The world is here and we can reach the world without a passport. We can reach other peoples with a passport, too, but Scio Community Church is a church on mission, God’s mission. I’ve said this many times but it’s worth repeating, Jesus did not come to earth to start another religion. His vision of the Church, His Body and Bride, is not to be a country club dispensing religious goods and services for its members. It is to be a mission outpost seeking and serving the lost in order that they might encounter Jesus and be saved.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, here to re-present Jesus to the world…at Meijer, on Facebook, at Ford and GM, at school, in the subdivision,…and Macedonia, too! It is not a duty but an honor.

Every two years billions of people around the world watch the Olympic games. I’ve often thought of the thrill of participating in the games, but athletes do more than represent themselves. They represent their nation. They stand with pride when medals are presented and the respective national anthem is played. A win for them is a win for their country.

In the same way, we are privileged to re-present the King of kings to the peoples of this world. We are not home nor are we here to make a name for ourselves. We are not here for ourselves, our comfort, or convenience. We are here for Jesus!

If you were a missionary overseas, you’d study the culture, learn the language, understand the traditions, and build bridges. We do the same here today.

Jesus is God sent into human history as a missionary, living and serving and loving in the culture. John tells us more than forty times that Jesus was “sent.”

God determines where and when we live (Acts 17). We are here now. God’s plan is for us to be missionaries here today. There are two aspects of being a missionary:

  • - sanctified: holy, set apart (like special China and silverware used for special occasions); every Christian is sanctified and set apart for their mission; we are to live lives that are different from the world; money, sex, and power are different for Christians; we are to be distinct because we belong to God

  • - sent: we spend time with non-Christians; we get to know our neighbors; we b.l.e.s.s. others and our communities; we get to know what is happening around us

As we have said in previous weeks, there are two extremes that are dangerous. The first is syncretism. This is when we look and act just like everyone else. If we do not reflect the light of Christ in the darkness, we are just as dark as our surroundings. We are not sanctified, holy or distinct.

The other extreme is separatism. This is when we avoid the world, separating ourselves, ignoring the darkness and keeping the light to ourselves. We are not sent as missionaries, but rather huddle as members seeking shelter from “those people out there.” They know nothing about the world because they’re stuck in Christian subculture watching Christian TV, listening to Christian radio, reading Christian books, and drinking milk from a Christian cow! The question in this camp is, “When do we get to leave?” rather than “How can we live out God’s mission, the
missio Dei?”

Jesus prayed against conservatives (separatists) and liberals (syncretists).

We are to be in the world but not of the world. This is a delicate balance, but this is what Jesus did and what He prays for us. The answers can be found in the Bible and by being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus wants us to be in Christ and in the culture, in the Word and the world.

Jesus Prays For Us

Have you ever wished you could be an eyewitness to biblical events? How cool would it be to walk with Jesus and have Him pray for you, not people thousands of years ago, but you!

The final seven verses are Jesus’ specific prayers for you and me…in 2013!

”My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one —I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (20-23)

  1. 3. Jesus wants us unified

Jesus sent His followers our two-by-two. We must work together. This point continues in verse 20.

Jesus does not pray for uniformity but unity.

This past week was the beginning of the NFL preseason. Teams of players are assembling. Players are not asked to all do the same thing, but to play a particular position on one, unified team with one unified mission. When they work together, great things can be accomplished. As the old acronym states, Together Everyone Achieves More, TEAM.

History is filled with examples of great groups of players that were unable to win together. They all tried to play the same role or had different missions. A team of good players working together will defeat a team of great individuals most every time.

What does a “win” look like for Scio Community Church? It is found in our mission statement:

We exist to fulfill the Great Commission and follow the Great Commandment by 
  • - serving our communities
  • - sharing our story
  • - sending disciples to bless the nations

so that God is glorified.

There is one God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We show God’s character to the world when we are unified. Unity comes from Jesus. We need to focus on Jesus. We need Jesus-centered homes and churches.

Like an isosceles triangle with Jesus at the top and us at the bottom, he closer we get to Jesus, the closer we get to one another. We can’t make unity the focus, but if Jesus is at the center, it will occur naturally.

Unity comes through mission, through working together. It also comes when we follow the Bible. Psalm 133 is all about unity. It begins

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Unity is not uniformity. One of my favorite quotes is from Rick Warren: “We need different types of churches for different types of people,” so long as they partner together follow Jesus.

Unfortunately we are hardly known for our unity and partnerships. The single movement Jesus began has splintered…from one church to the great Catholic/Orthodox schism to Protestantism to more than 41,000 denominations!

There are open-handed and close-handed issues. Of course, there are disagreements on which is which, but open-handed issues like whether or not women can be pastors or what translation of the Bible to use or mode of baptism are different from close-handed issues like is Jesus God and is the Bible reliable.

One helpful metaphor is states and nations. We are one unified nation, the USA, even though there are differences between Michigan, Minnesota, and Montana. Buddhists and Muslims are different countries. We love them, but we are not on the same team.

I have been privileged to be one of the founding pastors of PACT, the Pastors Alliance for County Transformation. For more than a decade, about one hundred churches in Washtenaw County have worshipped together on Palm Sunday at Hosanna, served together at Operation Jumpstart, and prayed together through 40 Days of Prayer and Pastors Prayer Summits.

Is Jesus the center? Are people serving Jesus and His mission? Is the Bible the common language and authority? We can have disagreements without division.

Our tribe, the Christian & Missionary Alliance, wasn’t even a denomination a generation ago. It was and is a missional movement that partners with other groups.

Jesus prays for our unity.

  • theological
  • relational
  • philosophical/styles
  • missiological (what are we doing?)
  • organizational (systems)

I have four prayers prayers for Scio Community Church—
direction, protection, passion, and unity.

Unity Is fragile.

We have a real enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy. He knows that a house divided cannot stand. If you’ve ever been on a family vacation you know preferences and personalities can create conflict. In many ways, it would be easier if we all WERE similar with identical gifts and passions, but how boring would that be? God created us to be interdependent—dependent upon Him and each other.

I want to serve notice that Scio Community Church is in the midst of…changes. As our world changes, there are increasing needs to change our methods—never our message—to accomplish our mission.

As our one of the Alliance’s values states

Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change. Hebrews 1

Every change, big and small, has the potential to be polarizing. If we paint the bathroom, you might like or dislike the color. The thing to remember is we are on a mission to make disciples. That is why we exist, and everything we do must be evaluated on that basis. Our mission must drive our focus and unity, not tradition or even popular vote.

I trust our senior Pastor, Jesus Christ, to guide us forward in making disciples in Scio Township and beyond. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Jerusalem is Scio Township and the Ann Arbor area. This is where God has called us to gather and serve.

Judea is the Great Lakes District of Michigan and northwest Ohio. We have sister churches in the region with whom we partner.

Samaria is the area beyond our area—the United States. The Christian & Missionary Alliance provides us with countless connections to make disciples from sea to shining sea, serving in disaster zones like hurricanes.

the ends of the earth are…the ends of the earth. We have built-in networks with brothers and sisters from Vietnam to Brazil, Macedonia to Mongolia.

Needless to say, there is great diversity in the ways we worship and serve, but throughout we have unity in one LORD, one faith, and one baptism.

Next year we will celebrate our church’s 80th anniversary. God has guided us since the founding of the Ypsilanti Gospel Tabernacle in 1934 to today.

LORD, make us one! LORD, keep us one!

Finally, Jesus prays

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. (24)

God is a perfect Dad. Prayer gets easier when we remember God is Dad.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (25-26)

  1. 4. Jesus prays that we would know that He loves us. He gives us Himself.

This world is not our home. We will be hated. We will be together with Jesus forever, home someday. We will have joy, unity, and a completed mission in a world free of sin and death.


Jesus is praying for us now…daily. Hallelujah!


Some ideas from The High Priestly Prayer sermon by Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church and The NIV Application Commentary, John by Gary Burge.

You can listen to the Scio podcast here. You can also subscribe to our podcast here.