John 18: 7-11
God Almighty HIMSELF is standing in the garden at Gethsemane (Heb. means “oil press”). So, we have Jesus standing in a garden. Interesting, right?
Could Jesus be fulfilling the fall of Adam in some way? We discussed pastor’s belief (and after some reading of the Word and a glance at a few other resources, it's my belief too) that Adam was a type of Christ. Adam was indirectly cursed by God, and there’s just SO many similarities. Unlike Adam, Christ died for His bride (for us) the right way.
We touched upon an interesting discussion concerning Golgotha (Heb. means “the place of the skull”), the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. We talked about Golgotha being a variant of Goliath, who was a product of the Nephilim. Goliath had 6 toes and 6 fingers – 6 is the number and a symbol of Satan. Goliath was a type of Satan, and that adds context to the site of Jesus’ physical death. Jesus defeated Goliath; He defeated Satan AGAIN.
The Kidron Valley is a key place in chapter 18. Jesus passed through this valley on his way to the garden. The Kidron Valley is where the temple poured their garbage (sounds lovely). Gallons and gallons of blood ran into the valley from all the sacrifices of the lambs, as well as water (Now we see blood and water together – interesting). Could this valley be referenced in Psalm 23 as the renowned valley of death? We know David walked through it barefoot and broken after being sent out from Jerusalem. Perhaps, he did refer to this valley? It’s all cool!
Judas came with his cohorts (NASB says Roman cohorts). There was probably up to 1,000 soldiers – not including Temple guard and whoever else.
In v. 6, Jesus responded to the large group when they replied that they were searching for Jesus the Nazarene, saying, “I am.” Jesus is telling them not just “I am,” but “Yahweh.” When the group fell back after hearing these words, they fell in a physical position that denotes a form of worship. So, they were indirectly worshipping Jesus – which really makes you think that John is writing this screaming, “Wake up!” The first-century Jews were so focused on this physical warrior king (they were so culturized) that they missed Him.
Imagine what the disciples are thinking: let’s go – let’s get this war between us and these filthy Romans going. Let’s setup our warrior king on His throne.
Picture it: There are anywhere from 500,000 to 2,000,000 Jews in-and-around Jerusalem celebrating Passover. (Note: the number varies greatly because there isn’t a pinned down number from any one source.) These young men – and their families – are making their home in tents camped out around the city or bunking up with gracious families. A large constituency of young men would make a great army, wouldn’t it? This is in the minds of the disciples who can simply look around and call their army together with a few shouts. The disciples weren’t cowards – they were ready to fight.
Verse 8 and 9:
Jesus answers them AGAIN – the second time. He already told them who He was, but again He’s asked.
What have the Roman soldiers and the Temple guard heard about Jesus? Who knows what they’re expecting from Jesus and the disciples? Well, after reading a ton about it, I think they’re expecting a violent skirmish – if not an all-out war; however, I can’t prove that…yet. They are expecting something supernatural (Jesus had performed signs and miracles after all, did he not?), perhaps, so they bring their men and a ton of lights. Why the lights? They’re standing in an olive grove! They’re literally conducting an arrest in a grove of trees, which means there are quite a few places to hide – and they know this.
Referenced John 10: 7-11 – “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.’
The sheep are scattered. In the last chapter, Jesus, in prayer, told God that “He kept them.” And those 3 words matter here because Jesus is telling the soldiers and guards that He’ll go peacefully if His disciples are let go. He’s keeping (Heb. means “guarding”) them alive and safe.
Furthermore, in chapter 16 (and 10), Jesus told the disciples that they would scatter back to their own homes. This is about to happen in real time.
Jesus is in control. He’s saving their lives.
There is strong imagery here that invokes chapter 17, with the description of not losing one (of the sheep) – the sheepfold!
Jesus is trying to convey the message to His disciples that there will be no war at this time – not yet.
Common Christian thought today: The disciples were cowards. I would’ve been braver. WRONG!
Why did Peter have a sword if he was such a coward? Furthermore, Peter swings the sword! Why did he do that? He swung his sword in front of 1,000 (at least) Roman guards and Temple guard. Give me a break, people. Peter was NOT a coward; in fact, Peter was itching to fight.
Peter had the same mindset as Judas. Both these men thought they were ushering in the war that would culminate in Jesus being crowned King of the Millennial Kingdom.
Peter strikes Malchus with his sword, severing his right ear. Malchus just so happens to be the slave or servant to the High Priest (the man who started this chain of events). Perhaps, Peter’s actions are a sort-of sign. Now, was the weapon a full-blown sword? Or, was it a smaller dagger? We decided that it was probably a smaller dagger – like the ones the Sicarii carried around in their robes.
What’s the significance of the right ear? Why was Malchus’ right ear severed?
Referenced Exodus 29:20 – “You shall slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear and on the lobes of his sons’ right ears and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, and sprinkle the rest of the blood around on the altar.”
Malchus (now missing his right ear) is unclean. He can’t go into the Temple because he’s now defiled. He’s unfit. Peter didn’t clumsily swing at anybody. He knew exactly what he was doing when he cut off Malchus’ right ear. NOTHING in the Book of John was a “clumsy” gesture. Everything has a purpose and by studying John, that point becomes quite clear.
Jesus tells Peter to “sheath your sword.” I didn’t live during this time, but those might’ve been the most disappointing words spoken to Peter by Jesus ever.
After hearing this, Peter is saying, “Where’s the warrior king? Where’s the great Messiah I’ve been learning about since I was a small child? For THREE years, I’ve learned and persisted with you, and I saw your glory. I was there for the transfiguration. I heard the voice of God!” So, Peter is left to think in the garden that night, “What is happening? I know what I saw, but it’s not what I’m seeing now.”
What Peter and the disciples don’t understand is Jesus is not only fulfilling prophecy but also saving their lives. They’ll be kept and He’ll defeat sin.
Wow. The Book of John has been one of the most rewarding studies of the Bible I’ve ever been a part of, and you can take that to the bank, people