Study Notes

John 18:1-11

Jesus has just finished what many have called the High Priestly prayer - praying to the Father on behalf of His disciples and all the church throughout history.

18:1 The Kidron

The Ked-RONE is a dry creek or a small river, depending on the weather and the time of year. It is on the eastern side of Jerusalem, dividing the city from the Mount of Olives. It runs down to empty out in the Dead Sea.

There are three very significant historical occurances involving the Kidron.

#1 - The rejection of King David

When King David's son Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel, David fled, passing over the brook Kidron (2Sam 15:23). Israel's true king had been rejected by the people of Israel.

#2 - Blood drainage

The Kidron also served as a sort of drain gutter for the temple's sacrificial area. Blood from the sacrifices was guided down to the river, away from the Temple Mount.

#3 - Idols destroyed and thrown in

In the books of Kings and Chronicles, we read of several events that involved the destruction of idols. King Asa cut down his mother's Ashera pole, and burned it at the Kidron. King Josiah burned all of the idols of Baal and other false Gods at the Kidron. He also smashed the altars and threw their dust into the brook. King Hezekiah commanded that the men of Israel come to celebrate the Passover.

2Chr. 30:14 And they arose and removed the altars which {were} in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and cast {them} into the brook Kidron.

So three significant things relating to the Kidron. As Jesus passed over the ravine cut by the Kidron, He must have thought of David's flight. The true king of Israel was rejected by the people of Israel. Now, the Son of David, the true King of Israel, was being rejected.

As Jesus looked down, He didn't see a dry creek or a river of water. He saw a river of blood. You see, it was after sundown on the 14th of Nisan. 256,000 passover lambs were being slain, their blood flowing freely. And He knew that His own blood would soon be shed - the blood of the Lamb of God.

But just as the idols were burned and smashed at this place during past revivals, Jesus knew that this rejection and shedding of His own blood would result in revival for many millions - and their dead religion and idolatries would be washed away out of their lives.

18:2 Judas Was Betraying Him

Like they had often done, Jesus and His disciples crossed over the Kidron and entered the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas of course knew this place, and that this is where they would be.

I want us to notice something. Jesus knew that Judas was betraying Him all along. He was never ignorant of what was going to happen. Way back in chapter 6, Jesus said,

John 6:70-71 ..."Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and {yet} one of you is a devil?" Now He meant Judas {the son} of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.

John 6:64 ...Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

And at the last supper, this very evening,

John 13:10-11 Jesus said to (Peter), "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."

Jesus was completely aware that this was happening. The disciples will freak out, the devil will think he is about to have victory, but God has a higher plan, and at no time did He lose control over that plan.

Now, let me reassure you: Jesus knows what's happening in your life right now. He knows the letter you'll get in the mail tomorrow that will make you freak out. He knows who will be in a car accident this week. He knows that your close relative will die this month. He knows that you'll lose your job next year. He knows, and even though your instinct will be to freak out, remember: God has a plan, and at no time is He going to lose control over it.

Rom. 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose.

Jer. 29:11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Hebr. 13:5-6 ...He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU," so that we confidently say, THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME?"

Rom. 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dear saint, there may be a Judas betraying you. There may be a cohort about to arrest you. There may be a conflict about to erupt in the garden. But God has a plan, and no matter what it looks like, He has not lost control. Not even for a second.

18:3-6 The Cohort

A cohort is 600 Romans. Add to that the officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, and you've got a pretty outrageously-sized bunch to arrest one man! Even funnier is the fact that it wasn't enough!

I Am

Jesus boldly, calmly, even welcomingly, walks towards them and says, "Who are you looking for?" When they said, "Jesus of Nazareth," He simply responded, "I Am." Your Bible probably says, "I am He," but that is incorrect. Jesus said very purposefully, "I AM."

When God met Moses in the burning bush, He told him that he would be going to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery. When Moses finally agreed to go, he had one last question:

Exod. 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

God calls Himself "I AM." Jesus Christ is the only One who can call Himself the "I AM" without being a blasphemer. And when He said, "I AM," the whole group of men fell over backwards.

Fell Backward

I really do find it interesting that in the last few years, so many Christians are wanting to fall over backwards. These guys coming to arrest Jesus fell backwards. King Saul fell backwards when he was on his way to kill David. Saul the Pharisee fell backwards when he was on his way to kill Christians.

In the Bible, you'll never see a friend of God falling backwards - it is always the enemies of God. Friends of God always fall forwards on their faces. Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, Ezekiel... If you really want to fall down, I suggest you go forwards in worship, humility, and fear!

18:7-9 The Word Fulfilled

The Word of God is so trustworthy. Every detail that has been prophesied has either been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled. 53 times the Scripture says things like, "This took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled," or, "the Scripture was fulfilled."

Jesus - one man, mind you - was commanding these hundreds of men with torches and weapons to let His disciples go their way. It had to happen this way, because the Scriptures had to be fulfilled. And they still do.

Rom. 3:4 ...Let God be found true, though every man a liar...

Like we talked about in chapter 17, the Word of God is truth. It is just as sure as history. God said through Isaiah,

Isa. 46:9-11 "Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; {I am} God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned {it, surely} I will do it.

You can trust the accuracy of tomorrow's events written in the Bible more than you can trust the accuracy of yesterday's events written in the newspaper.

18:10 Peter Cuts Off Malchus' Ear

The other gospel writers tell us that Jesus had spent the time in prayer while the disciples slept. He had awakened them when the soldiers were approaching. I personally believe that if Simon Peter hadn't just woken up, he would have split MAL-khos' head in two with that sword. Luke tells us that when this happened, Jesus...

Luke 22:51 ...touched his ear and healed him.

This is the last miracle before Jesus was killed - healing the ear of an enemy. Are you at this place in your imitation of Christ? Have you allowed God to do such a work in your heart that you are obedient to the Scriptures when they say,

Matt. 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you

Rom. 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

Prov. 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink

Are you walking so closely to Jesus that you would have healed your enemies' ear?

18:11 The Cup Of Wrath

Jesus tells Peter to put the sword away and says,

John 18:11 ...the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?

The cup He is talking about is the cup of God's wrath - punishment for the sins of all people. We read in the Scriptures,

Jer. 25:15 For thus the LORD, the God of Israel, says to me, "Take this cup of the wine of wrath from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.

Ps. 75:8 For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine foams; It is well mixed, and He pours out of this; Surely all the wicked of the earth must drain {and} drink down its dregs.

Rev. 14:9-10 ...If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone...

Jesus willingly took the cup of God's wrath for us. Jesus willingly drank from this cup of God's wrath in our place. Jesus willingly spared us from the cup's contents.

Every human being on earth has made themselves an enemy of God because of their sin. The wrath of God abides on each person, unless they accept the fact that Jesus drank the cup of the wrath of God for them personally.

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