John 18:1-9

In John 18:1-9 Jesus enters His final night of freedom before being arrested and crucified.  He knew exactly what He was walking into as He moved into the night. “After saying these things Jesus crossed the Kidron ravine with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.” It is important to note that Jesus willingly went forward with God’s plan for the redemption of mankind.  He wasn’t forced to go to the Cross.  He chose it.  The disciple who went off the rails and was going to be used of the enemy to kill Jesus was already there. “Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, for Jesus had gone there many times with his disciples.”

The religious leaders were waiting for their opportunity and Judas Iscariot led them directly to Jesus. “The chief priests and Pharisees had given Judas a squad of soldiers and police to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons they arrived at the olive grove.” They came in force, but Jesus wasn’t planning to resist as this was the plan He had signed up for. “Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him. Stepping forward to meet them he asked, “Whom are you looking for?” He in fact engages to move the process forward, knowing they are looking for Him.

Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said.” Jesus doesn’t resist, or try to escape, or hide or do anything other than say ‘here I am’.  He knows what is ahead, but because of His willingness to obey God’s plan for mankind, He is ready to suffer the price of carrying our sin on His shoulders as He goes to the Cross.  But it wasn’t without impact when Jesus tells the group (actually a pretty large bunch of folks) that He was who they were looking for. “And as he said it, they all fell backwards to the ground!” The power of Jesus was evident as the leaders attempted to arrest Him.  But Jesus didn’t use it to prevent their evil plan as it was aligned with God’s strategy for redemption.

Once more he asked them, “Whom are you searching for?” And again they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.”  Jesus was not “arrested” at all; He willingly gave Himself up so He could protect His disciples. After all, He could have just kept saying I AM and walked way! “I told you I am he,” Jesus said; “and since I am the one you are after, let these others go.” Jesus wasn’t concerned for Himself, but for the disciples who had spent the last three years learning and traveling with Him.  He wants them to be protected. “He did this to carry out the prophecy he had just made, “I have not lost a single one of those you gave me.” Jesus loves all Christ Followers with this kind of self sacrificial love.  His focus was on keeping them safe.

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