After saying these things, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden. He and his disciples went into it. 2 Now Judas, who was betraying him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas took the company of soldiers and some guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who are you looking for?” 5 “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus told them. Judas, the betrayer, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus told them, “I am he,” they backed away and fell to the ground. 7 Then Jesus asked them again, “Who are you looking for?” “Jesus the Nazarene,” they said. 8 “I told you that I am he,” Jesus replied. “So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the statement he had spoken: “I did not lose any of those you have given me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath. Shall I not drink the cup my Father has given me?” 12 Then the company of soldiers, their commander, and the Jewish guards arrested Jesus and bound him.
And so it begins. The promise God first made to fallen mankind in the Garden of Eden was about to be fulfilled. A Savior needed to come to crush sin, death, and the devil. The Son of God had prepared for the fulfillment of this promise by containing himself in a human body and living his entire time on earth without sin. Now it was time for Jesus to place himself into the hands or sinners and to allow them to inflict the most horrifying tortures on him that they could. After Jesus left the Upper Room in Jerusalem, where he celebrated the Passover with his disciples, they traveled to a garden called Gethsemane. John doesn’t record the details of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane or the things he told his disciples while they were there. This information was already covered in the other Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Instead, John describes how Jesus again showed that he is the Son of God and his complete willingness to go through everything that needed to happen for our salvation.
Why did Jesus choose to go to Gethsemane? During his last several days in Jerusalem, Jesus didn’t look for accommodations in town. Each night he took his disciples out to this same place. Jesus knew that Judas the betrayer was going to lead a company of soldiers to arrest him. Jesus didn’t try to hide. He wanted to be found so he could be arrested and begin the battle for our salvation. Jesus went to the most obvious place for Judas to look for him.
When his captors arrived, Jesus went to face them alone. Here again he provided convincing proof that he is the Son of God. When his captors declared that they working looking for Jesus of Nazareth, he replied, “I am he.” With those words, the Son of God displayed his power for all to see. His captors backed away and fell to the ground, utterly helpless. Jesus could have forced them to stay on the ground while he walked away. He could have filled them with such pain and terror that they would have fled the scene with no desire to ever challenge Jesus again. He could have ended their lives in a moment. Jesus proved to Judas and to all who were gathered there that he was in total control of the situation.
But Jesus would not walk away from his assigned task. His Father’s will needed to be carried out. Jesus again stated that he was the one they were looking for. He attached the demand that those who were with him must be allowed to go free. Jesus knew it was necessary for him to suffer the penalty our sins required completely by himself. No one could help him carry his cross. He also knew that everything must be fulfilled as God decided. Jesus promised earlier in John 6:39 that none of those given to him would be lost. Jesus made sure this happened before he was arrested.
Finally, Peter could take no more of the situation. He drew his sword and injured a servant of the high priest. But Jesus immediately stepped in and put an end to the fight. The Son of God didn’t need Peter to save him. Jesus already proved he could cast the whole contingent of soldiers to the ground with no help from anyone. Jesus needed to save Peter, just like he needed to save all of us. For that to happen, Jesus needed to drink the cup of suffering his heavenly Father put before him. There would be no more delays. Jesus healed the servant of the high priest whom Peter injured. (See Luke 22:51) Then he gave himself into the hands of his captors.
As he was being arrested Jesus said, “Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour—when darkness rules.” (Luke 22:53) The powers of darkness would have their time of triumph. The Son of God offered no resistance as they did their worst to him. But as Jesus allowed this to happen, he already knew the outcome of the battle. He would drink the cup his Father gave him. By his suffering and death, the powers of darkness would be defeated. Even in the midst of what seemed like a crushing defeat, the Son of God triumphed. As a result, we triumph as do all who stand firm on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ and the salvation he brings.
1 – Even though Jesus was about to be arrested, how did he show his total control over the events in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Jesus showed that those who wanted to arrest him had no power over him. As he said the words “I am he,” he forced his captors to fall to the ground. Jesus also said he was going to drink the cup his heavenly Father gave him. God had always planned the events of Jesus suffering and death would happen. Jesus’ captors didn’t force Jesus to submit to the brutal treatment he was about to endure. Jesus willingly allowed these things to happen for our salvation
2 – Jesus drove all his captors to the ground with a few simple words, yet they refused to put their trust in him. What does this tell us about our faith in Jesus Christ?
Scripture says “No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3) Saving faith in Jesus is a gift that only the Lord God can give us. We do not come to faith in Jesus by our own decision.
3 – Verse 9 said that Jesus didn’t lose any of those his heavenly Father gave him. What comfort can we take from the way Jesus took care of his disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane?
Our Lord Jesus not only protected his disciples at the time of his arrest, he protects all of his disciples for all time. Jesus promised at the end of Matthew 28 that all authority in heaven and earth belong to him. He will be with his followers to the very end and finally take those who trusted in him to be with him in heaven.
4 – Peter thought he was helping Jesus by drawing his sword and fighting against Jesus’ captors. What lesson did Jesus need to teach him?
Jesus didn’t need Peter to save him. The almighty Son of God could have easily defeated his captors or anyone else who stood against him. If he truly wanted help he could have called on his heavenly Father to send him thousands of angels. (See Matthew 26:53) But Peter needed to understand that he needed Jesus to save him. Jesus needed to drink the cup of suffering and death to take away Peter’s sins, just as we needed Jesus to drink this cup to save us.
If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to