In chapter 18, we journey to the time in Christ’s life where his death is imminent. Judas Iscariot brings the band of soldiers to the place where Jesus often withdraws to pray, the Garden of Gethsemane. The place of arrest is not random or meaningless (nothing is meaningless). Let’s think about the Garden together and see what we can learn.
Garden of Gethsemane
The Garden of Gethsemane is on the Mount of Olives and is right outside of Jerusalem. The name of the Garden literally means “oil press.” It is in the oil press where Jesus goes to pray and asks God several times to remove the cup of wrath He is about to drink. Yet, each time the prayer ends as Christ submits to the will of the Father. We see in Luke 22 that Christ is “exceeding sorrowful unto death” but garners strength as an angel is sent by God to help Him. (There is so much more at the Garden of Gethsemane but I will try and wait until another time to share it!)
The night of Jesus’ betrayal is not the first time Scripture brings us to the Garden of Gethsemane. We see where Christ retreats to this Garden before and seeks His Father in prayer and petition.
The Will of the Father
Why is all of this important? Christ meets with God on the Mount of Olives. We see times of intense prayer and seeking the will of the Father. Jesus being arrested is the will of the Father and what follows is also the will of the Father. Sometimes in our life we confuse the idea that when we are close to God, things will go how we want them to. However, we need to see the measure of God’s will is not what we want but what He wants. Even when we are walking closely with Him, He may call us to something that is not part of our will for our lives. Our only course of action when our will contradicts God’s will is to submit. Times of hardship and struggling will be part of our lives. God’s will is not measured in the ease of life.
Following God’s will in the face of adversary continues in John 18. When the soldiers attempt to arrest Jesus, Peter draws out his sword to protect his master. Listen to the words of Jesus in the wake of his arrest. “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” Jesus knows the will of the Father and the terror it is going to bring (I wish we had more time here). Instead of wanting to be saved from horror, Jesus walks in OBEDIENCE. How we need to long for the same thing in our lives. Walk in obedience because the will of the Father is so much greater than our will. What God calls us to is “immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine” – Ephesians 3:20.
May my life and your life reflect the life and obedience of Jesus. May our greatest desire be to do the will of the Father no matter where it takes us!