Jesus’ Final Day
In John 18, we’ve come to Jesus’ final days. After an evening celebrating the Passover in the upper room, Jesus leads His men to a garden near the Mount of Olives. That was His place to go with His disciples, and of course, Judas knew that.
Read John 18:1-4.
His enemies wouldn’t dare lay hands on Him in the temple, so Jesus goes outside the city, and in the dead of night hundreds of soldiers come to arrest Him. Jesus is now resolved to go to the cross. He steps out of the shadows and asks, “Who are you looking for?”
“Jesus of Nazareth.” Even when Jesus identified Himself, for a moment, nobody recognized Him. Even Judas didn’t know Him initially. Have you ever noticed verse six? “Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”
For just a moment, Jesus revealed His glory and the soldiers fall backward—not forward in worship, but backwards in fear and in absolute dismay. Utter confusion broke out. Just for a moment, they see more than Jesus of Nazareth in front of them; they see the Lord of glory, God revealed in human flesh. This all happened to fulfill prophecy (see Psalm 27:1-2, 35:4, and 40:14). Even in this dark hour, for just a moment, Jesus reveals who He really is.
Read John 18:8-10.
Jesus commands the soldiers to let His disciples go and they did. He’s still in charge of everything. They only wanted Him, after all.
In a lame attempt to fight, Simon Peter draws a sword and cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Malchus. He was going after the man’s neck, but got the ear. We’re grateful for that. Dr. Luke tells us Jesus put Malchus’ ear back on—His final miracle before the cross (see Luke 20:51). Then Jesus told Peter to put up the sword. He’s yielding Himself into the hands of His captors and getting ready, as He says, to “drink the cup which my Father has given me” (v. 11).
The Bible describes several cups: the cup of salvation (Psalm 116:13), the cup of consolation (Jeremiah 16:7), and the cup of comfort (Psalm 23:5). Jesus dreads this present cup of judgement, the cup of everyone’s sin. Only He could drink it, because in His perfect sinless life, He became sin for us.
Even in His revulsion of sin, Jesus speaks of this cup with highest willingness. “Since my Father is giving me this cup, I am going to drink it!”
Willingly, Jesus let the band of soldiers and the religious rulers bind Him, though it wasn’t necessary. He’s the Lamb who was slain even before the foundation of the world (see Isaiah 53:7 and Acts 8:32). He doesn’t resist them but goes forward in dignity and in glory.
Next, a dark night in Jerusalem.