1 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. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 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. 4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” 10 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.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” 12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.
(Arrest of Jesus)
Thoughts: John focuses on the soldiers and officials who came to arrest Jesus more than Judas (he doesn't even mention a kiss) or the disciples' running away. They were carrying physical tools- lights and weapons. But while they sought to see in the darkness, they made the world darker by arresting the Light of the World. Jesus identifies himself to them. He does not run from them even though he knew what was about to happen. He was purposefully allowing Himself to be arrested. John emphasizes the soldiers' powerlessness to arrest the Son. They fell back. Later Peter started to defend them, and the soldiers did not fight Peter. Jesus seeks to drink the cup of the Father. It seems as if those who opposed Jesus were powerless to do so without his permission. The opposition to Jesus was used for a higher purpose- to allow Jesus to drink the cup the Father had for Him. Today there is growing opposition to Christ in our world. But the opposition is unaware that Christ uses even them for a higher purpose. The arrest and cross were the means of our forgiveness and salvation.
Prayer: Lord, give me perspective on those who oppose you. Help me to remember that you are able to work all things together for your good if we are called according to your purpose- even our crosses.
John Calvin abridged: John passes over some of the things the other evangelists mention because that was his purpose. John's was trying to point out that Christ went to his death willingly. He did not suffer death by constraint but willingly that He might be a voluntary sacrifice. Christ went to his regular place instead of trying to hide from Judas. The soldiers fell as if struck by lightning- at just a single word from Christ. Thus showing that Christ had power even over them. When Christ comes back with a shout his power will be well known especially to the wicked (Isa. 11:4). Even now, when Christ speaks through His ministers, the wicked tremble out of a guilty conscience.