deity of Christ

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!

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