John 18 – The Garden, the Response and the Cup

Last week we finally finished up John 17 with a discussion on unity.
·  Divine Unity
·  Shared Unity
·  Believer’s Unity

We focused primarily on Divine Unity and a discussion on the Trinity.
·  We briefly tried to understand why Christianity cannot stand w/o the Trinity.

Today, we are going to hit on a few themes in the narrative that unfolds in John 18:1-14.
·  We will briefly talk about:
o   (1) The Garden
o   (2) The Response
o   (3) The Cup


John 18:1–3 (ESV) — 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

(1) The Garden – John tells us that after Jesus’ Farwell Discourse and Priestly Prayer, He took the disciples “across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden” (vs. 1).
·  The Kidron was a valley on the east side of the Temple mount that separated the temple mount from a slope full of olive trees known as the Mount of Olives.
·  On the western slope of the Mount of Olives was the Garden of Gethsemane.
·  It was here, John tells us, that Jesus “often met there with his disciples” (vs. 2).
·  Luke 22:39 (ESV) — 39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.

(2) Garden Habit – Interestingly, John points out that because Jesus “often met” in the garden “with his disciples” explains why Judas was able to track Jesus down without much trouble.
·  If you remember, Judas left during the Last Supper in John 13 and was not part of John 14-17.
·  John 13:30 (ESV) — 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
·  So while Jesus is teaching the 11 remaining disciples a lifetimes worth of truth, Judas was out organizing a posse with the help of the powers that be to hunt Jesus down.

This fact raises an important question for us to consider.
·  Jesus, faced with the anguish and pain of the coming crucifixion, dealt with it by falling back on a habit that was such an integral part of His ministry that Judas knew right where to find Him.
o   He sought communion and comfort with God in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
o   Mark 14:32b (ESV) — 32b And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
·  What habits do we fall back on when we are in the midst of, or are about to face temptation, suffering, inconvenience, etc.?
·  Do we seek communion and comfort with God through study of God’s word and prayer?
·  Or do we fall back into a nagging sin so that we might distract ourselves from our circumstances?

(3) Garden Arrest – Judas shows up with a “band of soldiers” and “officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees” to arrest Jesus and complete his betrayal (vs. 3).
·  And like the townsfolk of Frankenstein, Judas and the townies are carrying “lanterns and torches and weapons” as they track down the town “freak”.
·  There is disagreement as to whether the band of soldiers is the temple guard or actual Roman soldiers.
·  But if Roman soldiers (some say about 200), we have the following irony.
o   Representatives of the religious elite arrest our Prophet and Priest
o   Soldiers of the state arrest our King


John 18:4–8a (ESV) — 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8a Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he.

(1) Jesus’ Response – Jesus brings the encounter between His enemies and Him to a head with the question, “Whom do you seek?
·  They tell Him they are looking for “Jesus of Nazareth”.
·  Jesus responds with, “ego eimi” which is literally translated “I am” (vs. 5).
·  So He not only claims the identity of “Jesus of Nazareth”, but also takes it up a notch and claims to be God.

BTW – Most believe that Judas’ kiss of betrayal took place between verses 3 and 4.
·  But in our text, John omits this and highlights Jesus’ control and willing surrender to His enemies.

(2) Posse’s Response – Then John tells us that Judas and the posse “drew back and fell to the ground” (vs. 6).
·  Why did they draw back and fall to the ground?
·  Context is significant here.
·  Jesus was on the path to exaltation and glorification on the cross at the will of the Father.
·  This moment is the culmination of 1500 years of Jewish history.
·  In this context, Jesus speaks two words that both identify Him as the one they are seeking, and as God.
·  And when God speaks power is unleashed.

Examples of Power in God’s word:
·  Psalm 33:6 (ESV) — 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
·  John 11:43–44 (ESV) — 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
·  Mark 2:5 (ESV) — 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
·  Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) — 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

So the posse’s response was because they were exposed to the power of God’s word as spoken by an obedient, soon to be “lifted up” Jesus – “ego eimi”.
·  Alexander Maclaren describes this fact beautifully.
·  “I am inclined to think that…there was for a moment a little rending of the veil of his flesh, and an emission of some flash of the brightness that always tabernacled within him; and that, therefore, just as Isaiah, when he saw the King in his glory, said, ‘Woe is me, for I am undone!’ and just as Moses could not look upon the Face, but could only see the back parts, so here the one stray beam of manifest divinity that shot through the crevice, as it were, for an instant, was enough to prostrate with a strange awe even those rude and insensitive men. When he said, ‘I am He,’ there was something that made them feel, ‘This is One before whom violence cowers abashed, and in whose presence impurity has to hide its face.’” – Alexander Maclaren.

This also means that, in the grand scheme of things, Judas and his posse weren’t controlling this situation at all – they were experiencing it.
·  “This amazing demonstration of His power clearly reveals that they did not seize Jesus. He went with them willingly, to carry out the divine plan of redemption that called for His sacrificial death” – John MacArthur.
·  Who killed Jesus?
o   Jesus’ death was a voluntary submission to the will of God.


 John 18:8b–14 (ESV) — 8b So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” 12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

(1) The Cup – Jesus speaks words in our text that are a mile deep – “shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given men?
·  Peter, as he often does, acts rashly and attempts to save the day – against 200+ soldiers mind you!
·  And Jesus reminds Peter of what must happen.
·  He must “drink the cup”.
·  “Peter’s effort at defending Jesus was rebuked by Jesus Himself, for despite Peter’s good intentions, the “cup” that was before Jesus had to be embraced” – HBH.

This cup language is also present in the synoptic Gospels.
·  Mark 14:36 (ESV) — 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
·  Matthew 26:39 (ESV) — 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
·  Luke 22:42 (ESV) — 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

What is the cup meant to symbolize?
·  As we have been taught for years, it certainly refers to His being “lifted up” to the cross.
·  But to leave it there is to miss widely the profound symbolism behind “the cup”.

The Cup – God’s Wrath:
The profound symbolism behind the cup is to be found in the OT.
·  Isaiah 51:17 (ESV) — 17 Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.
·  Jeremiah 25:15 (ESV) — 15 Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.
·  Obadiah 16 (ESV) — 16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain, so all the nations shall drink continually; they shall drink and swallow, and shall be as though they had never been.
·  Habakkuk 2:16 (ESV) — 16 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision! The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter shame will come upon your glory!

This means that the cup is not just the cross, but it is the wrath of God poured out in judgment on Jesus Christ for our sake!
·  And “The image of the cup of wrath carries special horror because drinking is something a person does deliberately” – DBI.
·  Jesus did this willingly!
·  To appreciate this, let’s look at an OT description of this wrath.

Example of the Wrath of God:
Ezekiel 22:17–22 (ESV) — 17 And the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21 I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”
·  This is an example of the wrath that Jesus willingly embraced on our behalf.
·  He drank the cup of wrath that we might be restored!

But thankfully, by the grace and loving kindness of God, there is another cup.

The Cup – Salvation and Covenant:
His drinking the cup of God’s wrath made it possible for Him to apply the cup of salvation, a.k.a. the cup of the new covenant, to all believers.
·  Psalm 116:13 (ESV) — 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
·  Matthew 26:27–29 (ESV) — 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.