21. JESUS IS ARRESTED (John 18:1-14)

BACKGROUND: Look on the map of Jerusalem for the Kidron Valley and Gethsemane. Concerning Judas, see John 12:6. A couple of days after this incident Judas committed suicide. Note that the arresters here are mostly Jewish temple guards (verse 3).
  1. Imagine, how things might have been for Judas in the company of Jesus the previous three years. What sorts of good experiences may he have had? What about disappointments? The answer comes outside of this text.
    • Do you think that Jesus loved Judas as much as he did his other disciples? Give your reasons.
    • Did Judas believe in the love of Jesus? Why, why not?
       
  2. Why do you think Jesus had made Judas the keeper of the money bag (John 12:6)?
    • Why can greed for money have such a power over human beings?
    • In what circumstances would you perhaps betray Jesus and your Christian faith?
       
  3. Why do you think Jesus was arrested at night, not during the day?
    • Imagine the scene in the garden of Gethsemane, in the midst of many olive trees: the sound of the steps in the darkness, then the light of torches, shouts... Who seems to be terrified in this situation, and who strikes you as courageous (verses 3-6)?
       
  4. Why did Jesus of his own accord step out of the darkness in full view of those who wanted to arrest him (verse 4)?
    • By saying "I am he" Jesus pronounced the name of God. (“Yahweh” = I am who I am). Why did those arresting him fall to the ground upon hearing it (verse 6)?
       
  5. What was Jesus most concerned about at the time of his arrest?
    • Verses 8-9 describe a “glorious exchange”: Jesus took the place of sinners and in doing so let them flee from the wrath of God. Imagine Jesus saying the words of verse 8 in front of Satan, while pointing to you and your loved ones. What is the meaning of these words for you when read in this way?
       
  6. What was Peter’s purpose in striking with his sword (verse 10)?
    • Other gospels tell us that Jesus, as his very last miracle, healed the ear of Malchus. Why did he do it?
    • What do you think Malchus told his family about the happenings of that night?
       
  7. A few moments earlier Jesus had asked his Father three times to free him from the cup of suffering. Why did he now accept it freely and gracefully?
    • Who imparted this suffering to Jesus (verse 11)?
    • Could you speak about your own suffering in the way that Jesus did in verse 11?
    • What difference does it make from whose hand you receive your suffering, from the hand of Satan, bad people or your Heavenly Father?
GLAD TIDINGS: The cup in verse 11 contained all the sins and filth of this world: all the cruelty that newspapers tell about every day (cf. Rev.17:4). In drinking this cup it is as if Jesus poured into himself all of that filth, and it became a part of him. That is how he became the Substitute of each and every sinner on earth, including you.

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