We are continuing from yesterday’s thoughts about the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. When the Roman soldiers and the high priest servants said they were looking for Jesus, the Lord replied using the divine name in Greek, the name of God, "I AM" (egō eimi). Some of you have the words, I am he in the text, but the word “He” is absent from the original Greek and added by the translators to make the statement easier to understand in English. Again and again, in the Gospels, we see Jesus adding the name of God to different aspects of His character. I am the Gate; I am the Good Shepherd; I am the Light of the World; I am the Way, etc. When He said those words, supernatural power went out from Him and put the soldiers on the ground. The Lord let the soldiers know He would not be captured but willingly gave Himself into their hands. What a picture it must have been, hundreds of men terrified of one Man and His eleven disciples, and only one of them using a sword in defense.
The apostle John tells us that Peter reacted with the sword and cut a man's ear off. Peter risked a fight at this point, but the Lord intervened and gently reminded His disciples to put up the sword, telling Peter that it must be this way and that there was a cup of suffering He must drink to put away sin for all men. Why didn’t the 450-600 men attack Peter and the disciples? It seems that the presence of the Lord unsettled the soldiers, especially after the Lord put all the soldiers on their backs (John 18:6). Luke writes that Jesus put His hand to Malchus' ear, and it miraculously sprouted another ear: “But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51). The healing was instantaneous, a creative miracle right at the point of highest tension. There was no hunting around in the darkness looking for the ear and no need to apply a bandage. I wonder if Malchus found the cut-off ear after they arrested Jesus.
In Matthew's account, Jesus told them to put up their swords and that it must be this way:
53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Matthew 26:53-54).
Christ was in control at every point. He didn't run away; instead, Jesus confronted the armed soldiers. We might not always know what will happen to us when we say, "Your will be done," but there is a sense of peace that passes all understanding when our lives and will are given into God’s hands. Many of you are at the crossroads of Gethsemane. The big question is submitting to God's will: will you submit to His purpose for your life? Will you lay down your will and place your life into His hands? God's Word tells us that we must:
"fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
What was the joy set before Christ? I put it to you that Jesus saw the future result of His substitutionary sacrifice in the lives of the many who respond to Him. He saw your deliverance from the power of sin and your rejoicing at His coming, and He was filled with joy at the thought.
Prayer: Thank you for the choice you made in Gethsemane, Lord. Help us place our will and lives into Your hands and trust You. Amen. Keith Thomas.
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This meditation is shortened from study 60 in Luke: Jesus at Gethsemane.