THE BETRAYAL OF JESUS

Scripture Reading:  John 18:1-11

“Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’  They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’  Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’  Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them.  When Jesus said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:4-6)

Judas did the unthinkable; he betrayed Jesus.  Judas knew where Jesus often went to pray — the Garden of Gethsemane.  He procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and led them to the place where Jesus was (vs. 2-4).  It was quite a scene — soldiers, priests, lanterns, torches and weapons headed to arrest Jesus.  How could such a thing happen?  It was all part of God’s sovereign plan and Jesus knew it:  “Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to Him, came forward…”  Jesus was confident of God’s sovereign hand and thus He voluntarily handed Himself over to the authorities.  It is important for us to see the voluntary nature of Jesus’ work on our behalf.  He gave Himself for us in every way.

Notice also the reaction of the soldiers to Jesus’ words:  “When Jesus said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”  Their reaction was the common reaction of all those who had a divine encounter.  They were taken back with Jesus’ words:  “I am He.”  When they heard Him say this, they drew back and fell to the ground.  They were confronted by God Himself.  Even though they did not fully understand it,  they felt it, — a divine presence among them, — and they fell to the ground.

Of course, impetuous Peter reacted also:  “having a sword, he drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear” (v. 10).  Jesus stopped him and said:  “Put you sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup the Father has given to Me?” (v. 11).  Jesus would indeed partake of the cup of God’s divine wrath (Revelation 14:10) when He was nailed to the cross and suffered death.

Look at our Savior.  He voluntarily surrendered Himself to the injustice of men.  He was fully confident in the sovereign hand of His heavenly Father, and He willingly gave Himself to partake of the cup the Father had given Him.

Lord Jesus, how amazing is Your strength, dignity, love and grace.  You voluntarily surrendered Yourself and faced the cup of the vengeance of God for me.

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