Sermon 13 - John 18,1-11 - Guilt and Grace in the Garden

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1.      ((illus)) Symbols are important to us.

a.    Ever since 9/11 we’ve seen a lot of flags being displayed.

i)        Some on car windows.

ii)      Some sticking up above car windows.

iii)    Some on lapels.

b.    In the college sports world, symbols are a rallying point.

i)        The head of an Indian – FSU

ii)      An alligator.

iii)    Colors – blue and gold; garnet and gold, the crimson tide.

c.    Symbols are important.

2.      This morning we come to a table with symbols on it.

a.    Symbols of reality.

b.    We must constantly remind ourselves that the reality is more important than the symbol.

c.    Symbols of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.

d.   At the beginning of our service we used the symbol of palm fronds that mark the last week of Jesus prior to his going to the cross.

3.      We’re coming to near the close of our “fly-over” of John’s Gospel:

a.    The Intimate Gospel.


c.    These symbols are real, historical places and items.

4.      John 18:1-11 (page  914)

1 After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.

2 Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had gone there many times with his disciples.

3 The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a battalion of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.

4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him. Stepping forward to meet them, he asked, “Whom are you looking for?”

5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. Judas was standing there with them when Jesus identified himself.

6 And as he said, “I am he,” they all fell backward to the ground!

7 Once more he asked them, “Whom are you searching for?” And again they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8 “I told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.”

9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I have not lost a single one of those you gave me.”

10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant.

11 But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given me?”

5.       John’s account emphasizes:

a.    the poise of Jesus and his readiness to be taken.

b.    the account of the arrest of Jesus.

6.      The private ministry of our Lord with His disciples has now ended.

a.    The public drama of redemption is about to begin.

b.    Man will do his worst, and God will respond with His very best.

7.      Let me call to your attention this morning just 3 of the symbols from this Scripture and chapter which help us enter into the meaning of the cross.


John 18:1-11


a.    After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.

i)        The grove of olive trees is more literally translated simply as “a garden.”

ii)      The Kidron Valley is located east of Jerusalem, between the city wall and the Mount of Olives; and the Garden of Gethsemane is on the western slope of Olivet.

iii)    Jesus often went to this Garden with His disciples, no doubt to rest, meditate, and pray (Luke 22:39).

¨      Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims attending the Passover, and Jesus would want to get away from the crowded city to a private place.

¨      He knew that Judas would come for Him there, and He was ready.

iv)    In John 13-16 Jesus had been in the Upper Room teaching His disciples.

¨      In John 17 He offers up his High Priestly prayer

¨      We looked at this last week.

b.    Human history began in a Garden (Gen. 2:8ff),

i)        and the first sin of man was committed in that Garden.

ii)      The first Adam disobeyed God and was cast out of the Garden,

c.    But the Last Adam, Jesus, (1 Cor. 15:45) was obedient as He went into the Garden of Gethsemane.

i)        In a Garden, the first Adam brought sin and death to mankind;

ii)      but Jesus, by His obedience, brought righteousness and life to all who will trust Him.

iii)    (Phil. 2:8) He was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.

d.   History will one day end in another garden, the heavenly city that John describes in Revelation 21 and 22.

i)        In that garden, there will be no more death and no more curse.

ii)      The river of the water of life will flow ceaselessly and the tree of life will produce bountiful fruit.

e.    The symbolism presented by Eden is that it was the Garden of disobedience and sin;

i)        While the GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE IS THE GARDEN OF OBEDIENCE and submission.

f.     Beginning in :3 we see Judas coming with the soldiers to betray Jesus.

i)        “battalion” = 600 men.

ii)      If it were not so tragic, it would be funny imagining these soldiers stumbling over themselves getting into the garden after one man, even though they no doubt expected some type of opposition..

iii)    Talk about fear and overkill!

g.    Imagine THE PERSONAL HURT TO JESUS to have Judas betray Him!

i)        Judas had been hand picked.

ii)      He was one of Jesus’ closest friends.

iii)    He had been given the special responsibility of being treasurer for the entire band of disciples.

iv)    Have you ever been betrayed by:

¨      A spouse.

¨      A friend who gossiped away your reputation?

¨      A family member?

¨      A coworker who took credit for your work?

¨      A company who fired you just before retirement?

¨      A business partner who progressively shoved you aside?

(a)    Then you understand something of the emotional suffering Jesus went through.

h.    But what fascinates me about this Garden of Obedience is in :6

i)        And as he said, “I am he,” they all fell backward to the ground!

ii)      By then Judas had kissed Jesus.

¨      I found it interesting to note in my study that the word used for kiss on this occasion means to kiss intensely or repeatedly.

iii)    Whether they fell back or more literally they “drew back and fell to the ground,”

¨      This action was because of His response to the soldier’s inquiry as to who He was.

¨      “I am He.”

(a)    Lit. – “I, I Am

(b)   Lit. claiming Deity.

(c)    I am the bread of life, resurrection, way truth life.

iv)    One thing is clear.


¨      He was and is Lord of all.

¨      He was not a victim.

(a)    16:33 – “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

(b)   He deliberately allowed himself to be arrested and taken prisoner.

(c)    His time had come.

v)      But the soldiers were not allowed to do this without first bowing to Him.

vi)    Phil. 2:9-10,11 – God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above ever name, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

i.      And AREN’T WE GLAD that there in the GARDEN Jesus was OBEDIENT and was in control!

i)        And He is still in control!

ii)      Especially when, in this day and time, there may be those who seek to work against us.

iii)    A co-worker

¨      Another student

¨      A disgruntled neighbor.

¨      A government policy.

¨      And entire culture?

j.      ONE DAY they will also find themselves on their faces bowing before Him as Lord!

i)        Because of His obedience in the garden.

k.    In the meantime He calls us to obedience.

i)        To follow Him

ii)      To make sure we’re following His agenda no matter the cost.




a.    Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given me?”

b.    All of the disciples had courageously affirmed their devotion to Christ (Matt. 26:35), and Peter decided to prove it; so he quickly drew out a small sword and started to fight!

c.    Cut off the ear of Malcus.

d.   Peter’s sword symbolizes REBELLION against the will of God.

i)        Peter should have known that Jesus would be arrested and that He would willingly surrender to His enemies (Matt. 16:21ff; 17:22–23; 20:17–19).

ii)      Peter made every mistake possible!

¨      He fought the wrong enemy,

¨      used the wrong weapon,

¨      had the wrong motive,

¨      and accomplished the wrong result!

iii)    He simply imitated the officers who came to arrest Jesus.

iv)    And in so doing He was openly resisting the will of God and hindering the work that Jesus came to accomplish!

e.    He was sincere, but sincerely wrong.

f.     WHY?

i)        I think one of the big reasons for Peter’s rash behavior is simple – PRAYERLESSNESS.

ii)      Earlier that evening Jesus had asked Peter, James and John to pray with him – instead they slept.

g.    Could we learn something here about learning God’s will over our own?

i)        Following the will of God costs something.

ii)      It cost Jesus everything.

iii)    Can we not learn to TAKE TIME TO PRAY and to come before God with our issues?

iv)    2 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV) - For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

¨      prayer is never a waste of time.

¨      There are many things we can do to help  in a given situation but we really can’t do any of these until we have first prayed.




a.    :10 - But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given me?”

b.    Luke, the Dr. tells us that Jesus graciously picked up the ear of Malcus and healed him.

i)        Gracious not only for Malcus, but also for Peter.

ii)      If Jesus had not done this, Peter might have been arrested and crucified!

c.    Peter had a sword in his hand, but our Lord HAD A CUP in His hand.

i)        Peter was resisting God’s will but the Savior was accepting – SUBMITTING - God’s will.

ii)      Earlier, Jesus had prayed, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).

¨      The cup represented the suffering He would endure and the separation from the Father that He would experience on the cross.

¨      He prayed this prayer three times, evidence that His whole being was sensitive to the price He would pay for our salvation.

¨      His holy soul must have been stirred to the depths when He contemplated being made sin!

d.   Here was a Savior, the Lord of Glory who was in SUBMISSION to the will of God and was being bound and lead away to be ultimately crucified.

i)        The hands of the creator bound.

¨      The hands that gathered little children on His knee.

¨      Hands that touched the leper and cleansed him.

¨      Hands that broke the 5 loaves and 2 fish and fed 5000.

¨      Hands that formed Adam from the dust of the ground.

¨      The hands that made the men who were now binding Him.

ii)      I don’t know if you feel bound this morning?

¨      In a marriage where the love has run out?

¨      In a house too small for your family?

¨      In a body that has pain?

¨      To an elderly parent or relative with Alzheimer’s.

¨      By responsibility that is not really yours?

¨      By memories of abuse?

iii)    Sometimes binding is the will of God

¨      Jesus was bound and He was in God’s will.

¨      He simply submitted, not primarily to the soldiers, but to His Father’s will.


1.      Symbols:

a.    The Garden – Obedience

b.    A Sword – Rebellion

c.    The Cup – Submission

2.      Jesus – so gracious

a.    He crossed the Kidron, fully conscious that Judas was betraying Him.

b.    He went into the Garden of Gethsemane surrendered to the Father’s will.

c.    He healed Malchus’ ear.

d.   He protected His disciples.

e.    He yielded Himself into the hands of sinners that He might suffer and die for us.

3.      “Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all!”

4.      What is in your hand today—the sword, or the cup?

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