Focal Passage: John 18:1-11
When the police arrived, the suspect barricaded himself inside the home and threatened to open fire on the officers. The standoff lasted for over four hours until a special response team carefully made their way into the house and took the suspect into custody. Thankfully no one was injured, and the man was brought to justice.
Such a tactic is a natural reflex for criminals because the last thing they want is to be apprehended and punished. But this reality is what makes Jesus’ arrest so unordinary.
Unlike fugitives, who are guilty of crimes and resist being arrested to avoid punishment, our Lord wasn’t guilty of any crimes or sins but willingly allowed Himself to be arrested and punished in the place of others.
We find the details of this event recorded in John 18:1-11, but there’s actually more to the story than some realize.
After Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room, John mentions that they traveled across the brook Kidron and entered a garden, which is also identified as the Garden of Gethsemane. But while Jesus would often meet with His disciples in this place, there’s no coincidence that our Lord was arrested in a garden.
For it was in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve sinned against God and were given a sentence of death, which ultimately fell upon the entire world (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). But unlike Adam and Eve, who hid themselves, trying to avoid arrest and punishment, Jesus stepped forward, allowing Himself to be found guilty and sentenced to death.
This scene in the Garden of Gethsemane begins a reversal of what took place in the Garden of Eden, where rather than sinners being found guilty and sentenced to death, Jesus was arrested in our place and went on to die the death we deserved.
However, once the soldiers and religious leaders came into the garden, Jesus asked them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.”
When Jesus confessed “I am He,” John records that the soldiers “drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:6). There’s no coincidence that a special power and authority radiated from Jesus when he declared “I Am,” for this is His divine title, the one that connects Him with Yahweh in the Old Testament (Exodus 3).
John has been careful to record seven “I am” statements throughout his gospel, identifying Jesus as God in human flesh.
Therefore, even though these soldiers were tough and brutal, no one has the power to arrest Jesus against His will. He can make even the most ruthless and powerful leaders in the world fall to their knees at His presence.
Finally, as Peter tried to defend his Master by cutting off the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant, Jesus rebuked Peter and graciously reattached the man’s ear. In this final detail, we see a picture of the heart and mission of Jesus, who came to restore His enemies as He went to the cross in their place. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R