John 18:1-11: Who’s in charge around here?
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?’NIV
At one level, you could say that Jesus is the victim here. The plot hatched against him, aided and abetted by Judas, begins to unfold. But it doesn’t FEEL like Jesus is the victim. He is presented as the Victor (4-6). The Christ we see in these words is a commanding figure. He is portrayed as in control. He’s the One in charge, even as He is arrested. He appears as a majestic figure, inspiring awe and fear. Clearly there was no lasting change in Jesus’ assailants. At least, the text gives no good reason to think that there was. They quickly recovered their composure and got on with the task in hand. But let’s not lose our grip on this great truth that even when it looks like the opposite, Jesus is Sovereign. He is always in charge around here.
Just another thought. It’s good to have a familiar meeting place with the Lord (2). It can be indoors. It may be outdoors. Do you have a ‘garden’ where you regularly meet with Christ? Although it’s important to meet with Jesus alone, don’t neglect meeting with Him together with other disciples (Hebrews 10:25). Such meetings are precious and lie at the heart of what it means to be the church. You don’t have to have a building. You don’t even need to have large numbers. Two or three will do, so long as you come together in Jesus’ Name (Matthew 18:20).