Judas leads a group of soldiers and guards to the garden to arrest Jesus (18:2-9). Judas’s role as betrayer is to lead the temple guard to the place where Jesus is camping. It is likely that there are a number of campsites on the Mount of Olives, the Passover crowds probably made finding the exact spot where Jesus was nearly impossible. In addition, it is possible that another person could substitute themselves for Jesus, Judas provides a positive identification of his master.
The solders include Temple guards (who make the actual arrest) and Roman soldiers. Two observations are important about these two groups of soldiers. First, it is historically plausible that the Romans would assign a few soldiers to accompany the Temple guards to arrest Jesus. Passover was a celebration of the Exodus, the time when Israel’s God redeemed his people from their slavery. That imagery was a vivid reminder that the Romans were now the power which “enslaved” God’s people.
Jesus was claiming to be the anointed one of God, he selected twelve disciples who form a new Israel, he rode a donkey into Jerusalem just as Solomon did when he was crowed king, the son of David. The Romans therefore were present to “keep the peace,” or at the very least they were there to keep Jesus from initiating a nationalistic riot.
Second, the two groups represent both Jews and Gentiles. Both come to arrest Jesus and both will have a hand in his execution.
When Jesus speaks, the crowd “drew back and fell to the ground” (18:4-7). Jesus asks the crowd who they are seeking, recalling the first words of Jesus in the book, spoken to two disciples who began to follow him: “What do you want?” When a group representing the whole world arrives, Jesus demands to know their intentions.
Jesus’ response is “I am,” and the guards and soldiers “fell to the ground.” The phrase is rare, the adverb χαμαί appears in Job 1:20, Job fell to the ground in worship; Dan 2:46 (Old Greek), Nebuchadnezzar fell to the ground to honor Daniel (cf. Ant. 20.89). It is hard to know what the solders expected when they went out to the garden, but it was not hearing the voice of God, so powerful that they are driven back in worship!
Jesus specifically asks for the disciples to be left alone, John tells us this fulfills Jesus’ own prayer that not one of his followers should be lost. Peter, however, attacks the servant of the High Priest, cutting off his ear with a short dagger (μάχαιρα). The servant is named in John’s Gospel, although he is unknown to us. (BDAG points out that the name appears in inscriptions, although almost exclusively for Gentiles, Nabatean Arabs (implying that the servant represents the Herodians).
Peter’s actions are sometimes dismissed as laughable, but the represent the actions of the most zealous of Jesus’ followers. Jesus wanted to protect them by giving himself up to the arresting guards, but Peter seizes the moment and “starts the revolution.” Even if this is a colossal failure, it is better than the response of the rest of the disciples!
30 thoughts on “John 18 – The Arrest of Jesus”
I didn’t know that Solomon also rode in as king on a donkey. That is interesting because it was by David’s request that Solomon rode a donkey. I wonder if that was actually weird for the people to see because David might have had access to chariots and other more sophisticated animals that Solomon could have rode in on. I found in Zechariah 9, it talks about a king coming as righteous one, but also lowly riding on a donkey. It also says that He will “proclaim peace to the nations,”(Zach. 9:10, NIV). The reason why I bring this up to share is because it is interesting the tie between the prophesy in Zechariah 9, Solomon’s story of riding in as king in 1 Kings 1 and then Jesus riding on a donkey in John 12 and coming as king!
We see in that in John 12, after Jesus gets up onto the young donkey, He actually says in John. 12:15 saying,
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt,”(John. 12:15, NIV). John includes that to show how the prophecy is being fulfilled through Jesus and that He is the coming Messiah!
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in his name!”(John. 20:31, NIV).
what Peter does is often brushed off as a laughable, failed attempt to kill the high preist or the servant of the high preist. Knowing what we know about Peter, he was a zealous man a very passionate man, but he was a disciple of Jesus and on top of that a good Jew. I doubt Peter was aiming to kill the servant of the high preist right there infront of roman soldiers and of course Jesus his teacher! I think it is possible that Peter had in mind or knew of the Law stated in Leviticus 21:17-18 whe he drew that sword. If Peter wanted to kill that man he could have and he would have been able to. But Peter did this as a mockery to the high preist’s servant to make him “unfit to to come near”, talking about the holy of holies. He was saying and making the statement that he was unfit, and the high preist was unfit. Peter was creating a deformity of the man. This was very intentional of Peter and not simply a failed attempt of murder. It is then even a more amazing picture when Jesus puts the man’s ear back on, showing that Jesus has made him fit, and can restore what is defiled…even if it was his enemies.
It is so interesting to look at what Peter did in the moment of fear and love. Peter was acting a way that may have been irresponsible and rash but a way that showed the love and passion he had for Jesus. I love this story because although he acted wrongly, this is still the man that Jesus said He would build His church on. God looks at us in our brokenness and sees beauty. He wants us to worship Him in the state we are in, and Peter did that throughout the Gospels. In Matthew 14:22-33 we read the story of when Jesus walked on water. Peter, out of all the disciples, had the faith to get out of the boat. Although he began to doubt and started to sink, he at least had enough faith to get out of the boat. Jesus may seem critical of Peter when He says he is one of little faith, but Jesus would not build His church on someone He did not see had faith. I relate to Peter. I find that I have enough faith to get out of the boat most of the time but once I do I begin to doubt and have fear. It is comforting to know that Jesus sees my faith and it makes me want to deepen my faith in Him even more.
Given the build-up behind Jesus’s ministry through the ancient world, it is difficult to judge Peter’s actions due to the significance of the moment. It seems me; Peter did not want Jesus’s ministry to come to an end and might of felt that was threatened by the arrival of Roman soldiers. As Kostenberger states in more than one occasion, Peter has been the one to resist the will of God by seeking to take things into his own hands (Kostenberger, 177). Peter has quite a unique character, and there are a few highlights of his resistance throughout the gospel of John. However, I think Peter acted out with the thought that his actions were good, and maybe Jesus was going to applaud him for his rebellious act. That was not the case, Jesus had his faith already planned out, and Peter’s actions were not aligned with His agenda. Jesus had more to show his disciple through his crucifixion, and Peter’s actions could of but probably not initiated a revolution, as you mentioned.
I like the picture in this post, I find it funny how it shows Judas as a satanic looking person, I find that a lot of people think of Judas a horrible person, and I would as well if I just knew that Judas was that one that told the people who wanted to kill Jesus where he was at. I think that it is also important that we note that without Judas we have no death of Jesus, sure that sounds horrible like we want Jesus to die, but that is what he came for, he came to give us eternal life. that is not to say that if Judas did not do it it would not have been done another way, but I believe that this is the way that God had made it happen. we also see a lot of guilt come over Judas when he comes through and realizes what he has done when he kills himself. I also liked your point about peter, and how he chopped the soldier’s ear off. most people think o silly peter, and I would say that most people think that about peter when he messes up, but in reality, a lot of us are most like peter in the sense that we look away from God when we get in sticky situations, like peter on the water, and we doubt Jesus raised himself from the dead when he is standing right in front of us, or like this situation, we try and go against the will of the father because we love our comfort. I think that the best thing to do is realize that we are all somewhat like peter and we doubt God, but we need to remember when we doubt to always run back to God.
As many times we hear and learn about the arrest of Jesus, there is always something more than we can learn about or notice something that we want to dig into deeper. One of those things I see in this story is the passion that Peter had. I would say this because Peter is a man and although the drawing of his sword and cutting a man’s ear off isn’t good it still shows how much Peter cared about Jesus and would do anything to save him. As I read this story it is hard not to imagine how awkward it is that the disciples minus Judas are with Jesus and then Judas is on the other side with the mob coming to get Jesus. At that point Judas is looked at such a horrible person and a betrayer of the “Family” in a sense. They were a family and when one turns on you it’s hard to look at them again. So as I read this passage and dig deep into it, it’s hard not to think about the disciples and Judas as their feelings are growing about what is going on with Jesus and what is about to happen.
No matter how many times I have heard this story or any other story I have heard multiple times, I always seem to see something I had not seen before. Something new I have wondered about this particular event is how did Judas know that Jesus was in the garden? Was this a common place for Jesus to spend time? Jesus had to have told all the disciples including Judas where he was going to be spending his time that night. Or does Jesus use his Holy powers to ‘place’ the idea into Judas’ head, which is likely not a probable idea. (but may be possible?) Another aspect of this passage that is interesting to me is that “Jesus specifically asks for the disciples to be left alone” (Long). It is interesting to me because the Roman and Jewish guards respected that request. They could have easily just taken the disciples as well considering they were following a man who was claiming to be the king and not following Roman laws to view their leader as king. They could have easily dismissed Jesus’s request, especially after Peter slices off the ear of one of the servants!
In light of why Judas needed to come with the soldiers to arrest him, I never thought about the fact that there would have been a lot of people in this area. I never really questioned why it was that Judas went with them, that was just the way it happened. One reason for not questioning it might be because I know that Jesus is going to identify himself to them, and give himself up, so any reasoning for what could go wrong just dies not come to mind in this story. I also had never thought of the fact that it is indeed both Jews and Gentiles that play a part in Jesus execution. Even though the Jews are the one who do not take part in their role of bringing the world to God, Gentiles still stand there and sentence Jesus to death right along with the Jews. I think that this is a powerful statement being made, because Jesus came to save all, Jews and Gentiles alike, even though both of them stand before him and cry out to have Him crucified.
The other thing that really stands out to me in this passage of His arrest is verse six. When Jesus speaks, and says that “I am He” those who came to arrest Him stumble back and fall to the ground. I wish that there was more to that statement. How did they respond to that? Did they seem confused? Why do we move on so quickly and not get to know what the reaction to that was? Even though we do not know what happens fully here. We are still shown that there is power in just the words that Jesus speaks, even in a time where He is being betrayed by the people He came to save.
What happens in the Garden of Gethsemane is something that I personally have always found interesting. One of the most intriguing parts to me is when the guards fall when Jesus speaks. There is so much power in Jesus’ words that the people standing in front of him literally fall to the ground. Kostenberger describes what happens as a theophany, or appearance of God (Kostenberger, 166). The voice of God has so much power, and it is put on display in this passage. Another aspect that led to the guards falling to the ground is the fact that Jesus says the words “I am.” This is the name of God, and holds just as much power as the voice of God. While it is not God’s name of Yahweh, but rather ehyeh, there is still this calling to God’s name. Regardless, when Jesus says these words, the power is manifested and we can see a physical reaction to it. The other interesting part is the idea of them falling down. Whenever I read this before, I thought that the words knocked them backwards because of the power. But after seeing the other uses of the words in Scripture, and how they typically relate to worship or honor, I can’t help but think it was in that sense of the words. It would be interesting to see how that actually happened.
This may be a very bold claim, but I believe that everybody in their lifetime must confront the person of Christ. When encountering Him for the first time, they have only two options: they may either accept or reject Him. But no matter what someone decides, the power of Christ, I believe, will be prominent. Just as the soldiers in the Olive Garden fell over in a posture of worship when Jesus identified Himself, so too will everybody react when they meet Him. The fact is, Jesus will be known as the one and only God by everybody in the end–whether or not they reject Him. Disbelief does not annul His existence. Moreover, I think it is very significant that both Jews and Gentiles were present for the arrest of Jesus. This conveys the idea that there was not one specific people group that was responsible for the condemnation and crucifixion of Jesus. As it states in Romans 3:23, everybody is guilty; we “all fall short of the glory of God”. Kostenberger, in writing about this passage, argues that the Romans were present during the arrest of Jesus in order to suppress any revolution or insurrection that might have taken place. But I think the theological importance is that we were all, at one point or another, an enemy of Christ; we all rejected Him in the garden. Little did we know that that was the very means by which He was going to reconcile us.
I always like to see how different events in the Bible lead up to another event taking place, and the arrest of Jesus is a good example. I never realized how important it was that Judas be part of the group that was going to arrest Jesus until now. Jesus knew that one of the disciples was going to betray, and because Judas did, he was able to be a part in identifying Jesus. I also did not think about how the crowd would have made it much more difficult to find Jesus, and if there are a lot of followers then there is the possibility that someone would try to impersonate him to save his life. The fact that when Jesus says “I am” it not just stops them in their path, but it drops them down into worship. I think of when I am worshiping at church and when a song is played that just seems to stop and make me think and worship, and that does not even compare to the power Jesus has and what it felt like for those who felt the presence of Jesus. It is important too that it was both groups that were looking for Jesus, the Jews and the Gentiles. Jesus was going to give himself up, but Peter started a uproar. Peter gave a good effort, and I found it interesting that it doesn’t say anything about Peter striking the high priests servant. Jesus arrest was such a focus that the fact that Peter cut off someones ear goes practically unnoticed.
Reading your comparison of Jesus’ response and God’s throughout scripture that causes people to fall on the ground is intriguing. Like these people did not fully understand the claims Jesus made of being the messiah(obviously because they were going to crucify Him). But they did hear the “voice of God” and fell to the ground. This reminds me of what we are told about the return if Christ.”Every knee shall bow ….and every tongue will confess”(Philippians 2;10-11)Even those who want to murder Christ stand no chance when they are up against God. God is so powerful and I am reminded by this verse that even by speaking a word God is so mighty! His power is beyond me and I am amazed by how He chooses us even when He does not need us.
Sometimes it can be easy for us to look down upon others. They may say or do things that do not seem right in our own eyes, or they do things differently than we might have done them. Ultimately, we are all only human, we are all individually unique in our ways of thought and action, and none of us are perfect. The only perfect One is Jesus, and He did not despise or look down upon others despite their words or actions. In the garden where Jesus would be arrested, Judas intentionally betrayed Jesus by bringing a band of soldiers to arrest Him (John 18:3). Rather than resisting His arrest or shaming Judas for what he had done, Jesus humbly and willingly gives Himself over to the soldiers (ESVSB, p. 2060). Jesus displays patience and understanding once again in this story as Peter makes a rash decision and cuts off the servant of the high priest’s ear. Long (2012) notes that even though Peter was wrong in doing this, so were the other disciples for not doing anything (para. 8)! Jesus could have criticized and scolded Peter for his actions, but instead, Jesus asked Peter to stop, then asked him, “shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me” (vs. 11). Jesus is asking Peter to slow down to stop and think about his actions before he commits them. Jesus may not approve of Judas’s or Peter’s actions, but He does not let their actions affect His love for them or His will (to die on the cross). According to Köstenberger (2013), “[Jesus] knows that God is in total control of events” (p. 167) and He trusts His Father entirely. As Christians, we should approach disagreements, misunderstandings, and the inappropriate behavior of others in a similar way Jesus would. By continuing to show love, grace, and forgiveness despite the actions and words of others, others will know we are Christ-followers and that He lives within us.
Oftentimes when I read of Jesus’ arrest for His trial, I focus on the fact that Judas betrayed Him and quickly delivered Him to the soldiers and guards. However, there were a couple things that explicitly stood out in this blog post – Peter cutting off the high priest’s servant’s ear (John 18:10) and the reaction of the guards when Jesus said “I am he” (verse 6). It is very significant to understand the importance of Judas betraying Jesus, and the way that he betrayed Him (kissing Jesus on the cheek). On the other hand, verse 6 does not always get as much attention. In the blog post, Long mentioned that this adverb is so rarely used; it is found in Job and Daniel as a form of worshipping Jesus/the Lord. The fact that these people that were after Jesus “drew back and fell to the ground” (verse 6) is significant in the fact that they recognize Jesus as Lord. They recognized the glory of God, and yet they proceeded to arrest Him. The other interesting point in this passage was when Peter cut of the ear of the high priest’s servant, Malchus. He did this as he was upset at the fact that these people were arresting Jesus, intending to kill Malchus based on the purpose of the sword (ESVSB, pg. 2061). Now this piece of information, I had never known, but either way, Jesus healed Malchus and responded eloquently to Peter. He said, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (verse 11). Jesus was telling Peter and comforting him that this was God’s plan for Jesus, and this trial and the situation had to be seen through so that the prophecy of the Messiah coming could be delivered to the people.
I have heard sermons about this situation where Peter cuts off the ear of the servant of the High Preist. It is commonly referred to as a mistake, and even laughed at. That is sad to me. Just as P Long stated at the very end of this post, his action, although being the wrong thing to do, was by far better than any of the other disciples. I agree with that. He showed that he cared by trying his best. I have often heard of this as; Peter was so zealous that he missed while trying to kill this man. In my opinion, Peter did not miss, but he was however succeeding in making this servant unfit to go near the holy of holies. We can see this in Leviticus 21:17-18. His failure was trying to stop the will of the Father. Jesus had to die to set us free. Peter’s failure shows that he is human. Jesus’ action of fixing the whole situation by putting the ear back and continuing on with the arrest was the right thing to do, and we know this because Jesus did it. The whole situation shows us the difference between God and man. What we do is flawed, but we can and should try our best. What God does is always perfect.
The first five verses in this passage are pretty ironic because Judas you would think would have told the soldiers that they were coming to arrest or kill Jesus. Yet, when the soldiers said they wanted Jesus of Nazereth and Jesus replies with, “I am he” they fall to the ground. I personally do not understand why because again did they not know who they were hunting? But clearly it speaks of how powerful the saying “I am” really is and even maybe how Jesus spoke those specific words.
The part about Peter in this story is actually kind of interesting. Some people think it is funny or immature, but I see it as bravery and protection over his King, Jesus Christ. He cared for him so much to try and protect him from Judas and the soldiers. Now, we know from the story that Jesus was not in agreement with his actions, but to label his actions as “laughable” I do not think is appropriate for this story. We could relate this to someone who we love in our lives like our spouses or our children. Would we not try to protect our loved one if someone was trying to arrest them? Sometimes I think we take Bible stories as just stories and not real life events, and I believe it is important to remember that they were real people just like us, and that we face similar situations but of course in different contexts.
Imagine talking to someone and their words are so powerful that everyone falls down. We see this in Jesus words that he tells those guards that he is the “I am”. Those two words were powerful enough to knock guards off their feet. This gives us a depiction on just how powerful Jesus is. I agree with P Longs post about Peter , on what he did was better than what any other disciple did. Even though Peter did something wrong he was Jesus servant and he loved Jesus enough that he did what he could to try and protect Jesus. This also made me wonder what changed from that time to the time when Peter denied Jesus three times. He was willing to try to protect Jesus to cursing Jesus name. There are probably times where there are some “Peters” in the world where they are ready to stand up for the defense of Jesus Christ, but when the time comes it may be very difficult for that person to stand firm on the faith in the middle of persecution.
Judas betrays Jesus and plays a role in His arrest by identifying Him. It is highly possible that there were several campsites on the Mount of Olives, that the Passover crowds made it hard to find exactly where Jesus was, and that someone could have substituted themselves as Jesus. But Judas pinpoints where and who Jesus was for His arrest. The soldiers who arrested Jesus was a combination of Temple guards and Roman soldiers. It is likely that the Romans would have some of their soldiers to arrest Jesus alongside the Temple guards. Passover was a festival that was about remembering and celebrating the Exodus, when God freed His people from slavery in Egypt. “That imagery was a vivid reminder that the Romans were now the power which ‘enslaved’ God’s people” (Long). Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God and had 12 disciples. He said and did things that pointed to His kingship. Anyone who called themselves a king was seen as a threat to the Roman government. “The Romans therefore were present to ‘keep the peace,’ or at the very least they were there to keep Jesus from initiating a nationalistic riot” (Long). This also points out that there was no single people group who was responsible for Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, everyone was responsible. Even with this factor about who arrested Jesus aside, everyone is responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. We are all sinners who need a savior. Everyone’s sin put Jesus on the cross.
It is quite fascinating of the event of where Jesus gets arrested, as blameless as he is. It was really intriguing that the Temple guards and the Roman soldiers together went to arrest Jesus. As it is possible for Romans to send a few soldiers with the Temple guards to arrest Jesus, these two groups stand for the two Jews and Gentiles (Long, p141). This is the reason that neither group would blame the other for whose fault that persecuted Jesus. What I found in awe and did not know from before was when Jesus spoke the first time, the crowd “drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:4-7). There was also the moment after Jesus confirmed who He was with “I am”, the guards and soldiers also drew back and fell to the ground “as if struck by a theophany” (Kōstenberger, p176). The most mind boggling thing was that even after this occurrence, they still proceeded to arrest Him.
It was pretty brave and loyal for Peter to defend Jesus, to go to extreme lengths of cutting a servant of the High Priest’s ear off (John 18:10). As this action can be perceived as loyal and full of zeal, it can also portray Peter resisting the will of God by putting things into his own hands (Kōstenberger, p177). Depending on the reader’s intake of it.
Mistakes, we all make them. When we screw up in doing something, we have the option to learn from that wrongdoing. If you think mistakes don’t apply to you. Or you don’t make them, then you are lying to yourself. We all make mistakes and when we do we can use that to become better. The only one who cannot make a mistake and hasn’t is Jesus Christ. In John 18, Peter made a mistake. Peter’s actions were not thoughtful or honorable. His actions of attacking the servant of the high priest. Which results in him cutting off his ear. I’m not sure what his intentions were by taking this situation into his own hands. But Peter was Jesus’ disciple. Most likely he was just trying to protect his king. I don’t view Peter’s actions as laughable at all. I would disagree with that, in fact I would describe his actions as human. I say this because I don’t think many would have gone against the high priest.
Specifically, with reference to the arrest of Jesus Christ in the garden there was no mistake in Judas having given Jesus Christ over to the guards to be persecuted and put to death. Because of God’s sovereignty He is able to use anyone at any moment in order to fulfil His will and to bring glory to Himself. Although at times this maybe difficult to understand, as Christians we must continually remember the sovereignty of God. As one reads through the Gospels within scripture, it is interesting to see that not only did Jesus Christ chose Judas Iscariot to be one of the twelve disciples, but that Judas Iscariot was also providentially chosen by Jesus Christ in order to fulfill the will of God by bringing about salvation through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross.
There is a lot to learn from this post. It never had really occurred to me, that Judas would have been useful in confirming who Jesus is. Now that I think about it, it makes sense, as they likely wouldn’t have known exactly what He looked like. I also had never realized that there were the 2 different sets of Guards, that went to arrest Jesus, being the Temple Guards, and Roman soldiers. The comparison to Rome now becoming the people that enslaved God’s people, while I hadn’t previously thought about, as it seemed that the Jews were okay in Rome, they still weren’t their own nation. It also said in the post that the 2 groups would have had Jews and Gentiles who would have come to arrest Jesus. The importance of this is that it shows that not only did the Gentiles disapprove of Him, but even His own people wanted to see Him die. The post then goes on to tell about how after they talked to Jesus, they fall to their knees in worship, but they still go on to arrest Jesus. If I was in that situation, I feel that it would be impossible to arrest someone, who incidentally made me worship. Then there is peter. As most Christians know, peter cuts off the ear of one of the Guards. As the post said, Peter was ready to start a revolution, Instead of letting Jesus be arrested. Obviously Jesus was arrested, but it still is cool so see the passion that Peter had.
The story of Jesus’ arrest has always been a fascinating one for me. The part that always stuck with me though was when Peter cuts off the servant of the High Priest’s ear. Knowing that Jesus told Peter that he was going to deny Him and then Peter does this, makes me wonder more about why Peter did this. I always took it as Peter was trying to prove to Jesus that he is loyal to Him. Then, knowing that Peter still denies Jesus after this makes this even more interesting. I can understand why Peter would do this to the Servant of the High Priest, but it is still shocking to read about. I like the idea of Peter wanting to “start the revolution” as the blog says. Though the outcome of Jesus being arrested and being crucified did not change, Peter was the only one who seemed to do something to try and stop this from happening. I also find it interesting that John mentions the name of the guy who got his ear cut off. Since it is a name that is not recognized, I wonder as to why John would include this. Maybe he was more well-known to John’s audience even though he was not mentioned before. Regardless, it is interesting to see his name and try to figure out who he may have been.
First, I want to mention that I think that it is interesting that both the parties of the Jews and Gentiles are represented within the people who are arresting Jesus. This is not a fact that I knew before and I suppose that I just assumed it was only Roman authorities that took Jesus, for some reason. I did not even know that Judas was present to identify Jesus for the guards and soldiers. Anyways, on another note, Peter’s actions in defending Jesus is another event that stands out to me within this blog post and John 18 and it brings some thoughts to mind. In defense of Jesus, Peter leaps up and ends up cutting off the ear of a soldier that was present and standing near by. Kostenberger goes as far as to say that Peter was actually making an attempt to kill the soldier, not just cut off his ear. Kostenberger states, “The short sword was for stabbing, not slicing, thus Peter probably intended to kill the soldier with a lethal blow to the head” (2061). This came as a shock to me! I would not have thought of Peter as someone who would kill on an impulse of emotion. Jesus then tells Peter to put away his sword, it’s not the time for fighting; Jesus was around to fulfill the prophecies. Though I am sure that Peter’s attack was noble and for the sake of Christ. However, Jesus points out that it is not the time. In my mind, Jesus is pointing out that there is a time for submitting and a time for fighting. I think even oftentimes Christians are too quick to “come at” people who attack Christ’s name, instead of leading them in the truth of Jesus and the Gospel. I can see here that there is a time to fight for Christ and a time to let Christ speak in ways that draw people towards him through me. I need to listen to the Holy Spirit to know how to discern my actions when interacting with those who do not know Christ, or who even attack the name of Christ.
Judas is responsible for telling the guards which man is Jesus and in doing so he completes the prophecy of being the disciple that was destined to betray Jesus. When the guards attempt to seize Jesus Peter steps forward and cuts off the ear of one of the guards that is present. Peter does this because in Old Testament Jewish Law anyone that was disfigured was not allowed to enter the temple and was for the most part shunned out of society. The reason that there were potential roman soldiers that would be present would be in the interest of maintaining the peace. The arrest occurred during the time of Passover and there were a large number of people that were present. If Jesus were to have more followers that would have acted in the same manor that Peter did the results could have been troublesome. When Jesus asks why he is being arrested he does not fight it, he only asks that his disciples not be harmed, Jesus goes quietly to protect them. The actions of Peter while ultimately are useless when Jesus repairs the damage are still considered the most zealous because while Peter was fight the other disciples were fleeing the scene so that they could not also be arrested for being with Jesus.
The Arrest of Jesus is a really interesting story. The fact that there were Temple Guards there to arrest Him but also there were Roman soldiers to keep the peace while the arrest was happening, like they thought there was going to be a riot because of the event. But also they used Judas not only as the source of who Jesus was claiming to be but also to show and tell where Jesus was in the garden on the Mount of Olives. I find it interesting that when Jesus talks to the guards and soldiers fell to the ground because Jesus said “I AM” they fell like they were worshipping Him; at least giving me the idea that they may have believed Him in the slightest but still crucified Him.
Something I see here that I have never seen before is a display of power on the part of Jesus. In verses four through seven Jesus confirms his identity and in response to his words the guards sent to arrest him are seemingly incapacitated. It is true as you have said that this is an “I am” statement from Jesus, and this has a certain power of its own. However, it seems to me, in my limited understanding that something supernatural takes place in these few verses, as the reaction of the guards does not seem like a natural response to those words. Especially considering those words are being uttered by one that they have been sent arrest. This to me demonstrates that Jesus with his words alone has the power to resist the arrest that is going to take place, as a mere utterance is enough to bring his potential captors to their knees. This further shows that Jesus’ capture here is voluntary on his part as not only does he willingly identify himself, but demonstrates that he has the power to resist, but chooses not to do so. After he himself says in John 17:1, that his time has come. Thus, despite being capable of escape or better, Jesus submits himself to his captors, as this is part of the plan and the time has come.
Before reading this blog post, I never realized how the guards and soldiers fell to the ground in worship in response to the power of God. It is interesting to me how even in the situation right before Jesus’s arrest, the soldiers continue to arrest Jesus despite witnessing first-hand the voice of God, which was so powerful that they fell to their knees in worship. However, this was a common theme throughout the book of John in which people would directly witness miracles that Jesus performed only through the power of God, and yet people still chose not to believe. Also, it was ultimately a part of God’s plan for Jesus to be arrested, so it was something that had to be done in order to fulfill his mission and give God glory. It was also necessary that Judas would betray Jesus in order for God’s plan for Jesus to be completed. I never really thought about how there were likely crowds of people there, which would have made it hard to find Jesus without Judas there to identify him. From an outside perspective, it is difficult to imagine one of Jesus’s closest followers and friends betraying him and helping identify him to be arrested, but ultimately God had planned that to happen in order for Jesus to eventually be crucified and resurrected. It is heartbreaking that Judas would help the soldiers find Jesus to have him be arrested, however things could have gone differently if the soldiers did not know who Jesus was to arrest him.
The arrest of Jesus is almost as heartbreaking as His crucifixion and death itself. The impending doom of knowing that Jesus was going to be hung on that cross is so tough to deal with as Jesus is being humiliated and dragged through the city. Peter here proves once again while he’s not perfect, He is one of the noblest and loyal disciples when it really matters. I wholeheartedly agree in the blog post when Peter is referred to as “zealous.” Because that’s absolutely who he is. Peter may fail in this moment but He is being the most notable and the bravest out of all the disciples. While others choose to hide their face, Peter did not hide and faced the reality of whatever may come his way- to me, that is an incredible model of faith. When we read scripture, we must always remember the purpose behind the inclusion- even Peter cutting off a man’s ear- has significance. Peter may be extremely reactionary, but there is wisdom to be found in his actions. He is acting out of sheer love for Jesus, He is instinctually showing his love for the Lord, it isn’t a second thought for him to show his love for Christ. When it comes to us and our lives, we should be reminded of how to live a bold faith by following Peter’s example.
I find it interesting that Jesus would choose the time of His arrest to make a display of power through His open revelation that He is the one that the soldiers are seeking to arrest. Their seemingly over-the-top reaction to His simple response (John 18:6) does seem to indicate that they, at least on some innate level, recognized Jesus as God in the flesh (Köstenberger seems to allude to this on page 166). Even if the arresting troupe didn’t consciously make this connection, it certainly served as a wake up call for them to take the situation seriously. It’s easy to get caught up in tasks and events, and it seems like Jesus wanted to snap them out of their collectivist reverie and give them each a chance to individually reflect on their purpose and reason for being there so that they don’t just do something as serious as arresting the Son of God without doing it in full presence of mind.
It is possible that Peter misinterpreted this exchange as Jesus stalling for time so that the disciples could get in an attack position and Jesus’ display of power and authority as their assurance of victory. If this is the case, then the disciples’ confusion and dispersion talked about in the synoptic gospels is made all the more palpable through Peter’s misreading and zealous response to the situation immediately followed by Jesus’ peaceful rebuke and dispersion of all the disciple’s plans for resistance. While Peter may have vowed to die with Jesus (John 13:37), it seems that he was indicating that he was prepared to die a valiant death in battle, and was completely caught off guard at the prospect of dying a submissive and shameful death at the hands of the very people he was expecting Jesus to violently rebel against.