And so, the final hours of glory for Jesus are revealed. Please especially note that Jesus is both fully aware of what is about to unfold and completely in control of the situation.
The last meal has finished, Jesus' talk and prayer with His disciples has ended and they leave the upper room for a stroll in the cool of the late evening. We are told that this was a regular thing for Jesus and the disciples and Judas knew where He would be. Heading towards the garden of Gethsemane they would have to cross the brook Kedron and on this night it would have been red with the blood of the lambs sacrificed at Passover. We know from temple records made soon after this time that around a quarter of a million lambs were slaughtered and from the Temple altar there was a channel which led to this brook and so the blood was washed away. The gardens on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives were all privately owned and one wealthy citizen clearly let Jesus regularly use theirs.
In the beauty and quiet of this place there arrived a company of soldiers and the Temple guard to arrest Jesus. By the Greek words used here we know that at least two hundred soldiers were despatched to accomplish this task! One of the greatest compliments the Jewish religious leaders paid Jesus was in the force they sent to capture Him; with their actions they demonstrated their belief that this was no ordinary man!
We discover the qualities of someone when they go through times of great trial and Jesus is no different here:
1. This passage shows us His courage. The force came with torches to find Him in hiding, but He stepped out and declared who He was to them.
2. It shows us His authority. Face to face with Jesus, these hardened men of war retreated and fell to the ground.
3. It shows us that He chose to die. He could have called on myriad angels to protect Him, but He chose to die.
4. This passage shows us His protective love. He thought of His friends before Himself. ''Greater love hath no man, than He lay down His life for His friends'', Jesus had declared.
5. It shows His complete obedience. Jesus knew His Father's will and walked only in it in life and in death.
''Bow down and worship, for this is your King!''