We have all heard the phrase “the kiss of death”. Many people do not realize it comes from this scene in the garden where Judas will deliver the kiss to signal the soldiers of the one to arrest and bring to “justice”. Unknowing to the army of the enemy, Jesus will certainly provide justice through the salvation of the sins of the world. Yes, the earthly private ministry of Jesus with His disciples has now ended, and the public drama of redemption is about to begin. Man will do his worst, and God will respond with His very best—Jesus Christ, His Son as the One and Only Savior.
John 18:1-27, The Message
Seized in the Garden at Night
Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.
2-4 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was imploding on him, went out and met them. He said, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
5-6 He said, “That’s me.” The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.
7 Jesus asked again, “Who are you after?”
They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
8-9 “I told you,” said Jesus, “that’s me. I’m the one. So if it’s me you’re after, let these others go.” (This validated the words in his prayer, “I didn’t lose one of those you gave.”)
10 Just then Simon Peter, who was carrying a sword, pulled it from its sheath and struck the Chief Priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. Malchus was the servant’s name.
11 Jesus ordered Peter, “Put back your sword. Do you think for a minute I’m not going to drink this cup the Father gave me?”
12-14 Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.
15-16 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was known to the Chief Priest, and so he went in with Jesus to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Peter had to stay outside. Then the other disciple went out, spoke to the doorkeeper, and got Peter in.
17 The young woman who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?”
He said, “No, I’m not.”
18 The servants and police had made a fire because of the cold and were huddled there warming themselves. Peter stood with them, trying to get warm.
19-21 Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a traitor? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”
22 When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”
23 Jesus replied, “If I’ve said something wrong, prove it. But if I’ve spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?”
24 Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was back at the fire, still trying to get warm. The others there said to him, “Aren’t you one of his disciples?”
He denied it, “Not me.”
26 One of the Chief Priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
27 Again, Peter denied it. Just then a rooster crowed.
THINK ABOUT IT…
Human history began in a garden (Gen. 2). The first sin of man was committed in that garden. The first Adam disobeyed God and was cast out of the garden, but the Last Adam, Jesus, (1 Cor. 15:45) was obedient as He went into the garden of Gethsemane. In a garden, the first Adam brought sin and death to mankind, but Jesus, by His obedience, brought righteousness and life to all who will trust Him. He was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). The amazing love of God is portrayed in His plan to reconcile us and bring us back into His Holy Presence.
Judas had lived with the Lord Jesus for perhaps three years, and had listened to Him teach, yet he knew very little about Him. The traitor actually brought a company of temple guards, armed with swords and clubs (Matt. 26:55)! Just think of the privileges Judas despised and the opportunities he wasted! Judas didn’t realize that the Lamb of God would meekly submit and that there would be no need to battle. Judas just didn’t know Him.
Jesus, who was in full control, knew what would happen (see John 13:1, 3, 11; 16:19). Judas expected some kind of deception, so he arranged to identify Jesus by kissing Him (Matt. 26:48–49). But Jesus shocked both Judas and the arresting officers by boldly presenting Himself to them. He had nothing to fear and nothing to hide; He would willingly lay down His life for His sheep. Furthermore, by surrendering to the officers, Jesus helped to protect His disciples. He kept them safe not only spiritually (John 17:11–12) but also physically. Remember Jesus prayer for his disciples?
Judas’s kiss, which was given repeatedly to Jesus, was certainly one of the lowest acts of treachery recorded anywhere in sacred or secular history. In that day, a kiss was a sign of affection and devotion. Members of the family kissed each other in meeting and in parting, but Judas was obviously not a member of God’s family. Disciples greeted a rabbi by kissing him; it was a sign of devotion and obedience. But Judas was not truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, though he belonged to the group of disciples. In the garden, Judas stood with the enemy, not with Jesus’ friends! When people today pretend to know and love Jesus, they are committing the sin of Judas.
Oh Friends, can we say, “bless Peter’s heart”. Peter’s sword symbolizes rebellion against the will of God. Peter should have known that Jesus would be arrested and that He would willingly surrender to His enemies. Peter made every mistake possible! He fought the wrong enemy, used the wrong weapon, had the wrong motive, and accomplished the wrong result! He was openly resisting the will of God and hindering the work that Jesus came to accomplish! While we admire his courage and sincerity, it was certainly a demonstration of zeal without knowledge.
Peter’s Mistakes Led to Repentance
- For one thing, he had argued with the Lord when Jesus warned him that he would deny his Master that very night.
- Peter had slept when he should have been praying, and he talked when he should have been listening.
- He imitated the very enemies who came to arrest Jesus, for they too were armed with swords.
- Peter would discover that the sword of the Spirit is the weapon God’s servants use in fighting their spiritual battles (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17). He would use that sword at Pentecost and “slay” three thousand souls!
Peter was resisting God’s will but the Savior was accepting God’s will!
Peter fell to the temptation to deny knowing Jesus—just like Jesus said. However, think about it, the crowing of the cock was assurance to Peter that Jesus was totally in control of the situation, even though He was bound and being harassed by the authorities. By controlling one bird, Jesus affirmed His sovereignty.
The cockcrowing was also an invitation to repentance! Luke tells us that Jesus turned and looked at Peter (Luke 22:61), and this look of love broke Peter’s heart. Peter had been a witness of Christ’s sufferings (1 Peter 5:1), and by his own denials he added to those sufferings. We have all tasted sin in this way. But there is a Savior ready to forgive—always. Keep in mind that the crowing of the cock was also the announcement of the dawning of a new day! New life in Christ is found in repentance of sin. It’s a new day, a new life, an eternal life!
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PETER AND JUDAS…
Dear Friends, it is worthwhile to contrast the lives of Peter and Judas. Peter wept over his sins and repented, while Judas admitted his sins but never really repented. Judas experienced remorse, not repentance. When Judas left the Upper Room, “it was night” (John 13:30), but when Peter went out to weep bitterly, there was the dawning of a new day.
This is the contrast between godly sorrow that leads to true repentance, and the sorrow of the world (regret and remorse) that leads to death (2 Cor. 7:9–10). We will discover that Jesus restored Peter (John 21) and enabled him to serve with great power and blessing!
Jesus went into the garden of Gethsemane, surrendered to the Father’s will. He healed Malchus’s ear. He protected His disciples. He yielded Himself into the hands of sinners that He might suffer and die for us. Mission is being completed all who believe.
PAUSE TO PRAY
Do we really believe?
Are we merely remorseful or truly repentant? Repentance brings the dawn of a new day—a new life forever!
Thank you for all these words to think about today. There is so much more but this more than enough to know the depth of your amazing love and grace. Thank you for saving us.
In Jesus Name, Amen