Nothing is done without purpose whether good or bad. Everyone of us will experience injustice at some point or another in our lives. I'm currently experiencing how corrupt the so called justice system is.
But as many in the Christian circles say, God is in control. So He is! If you read about Judas Iscariot before Jesus is taken to be tried by the courts of men, Jesus planned His arrest. And for our redemption.
the Garden and the Arrest of Jesus (Matthew 26:36-56; Luke 22:39-46; John 13:21-14:31)
Main Point: Jesus obeyed the will of His Father.
“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” - Luke 22:42 NLT
Props: a plain rock about 1/3 larger than a golf ball
Say: Last week, we saw the disciple named Judas make a dirty deal with the chief priests. Ask: What did Judas take in exchange for promising to turn Jesus over to His enemies? 30 pieces of silver. Say: God’s plans cannot be ruined by people! (Isaiah 14:24) Today we’ll see that God even used Judas’ underhanded agreement to accomplish His plan of saving the world.
Jesus shared a special meal with His disciples in a home in Jerusalem. We call this meal the Last Supper because it was the last time Jesus ate before His death. Jesus continued to teach His good friends, and He showed them how the Passover meal was a symbol of the sacrifice He was going to make for all people. The bread was like His body that would soon be given up, and the grape juice was like His blood that would soon be shed. Jesus wanted His disciples, including us, to have this special meal again to REMEMBER His sacrifice.
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal (John 13:21-30)
Say: Then Jesus foretold what Judas was about to do.
Jesus’ spirit was troubled. This is the testimony He gave. “What I’m about to tell you is true,” He said. “One of you is going to hand me over to my enemies.”
His disciples stared at one another. They had no idea which one of them He meant. - John 13:21b-22
One of the disciples leaned close to Jesus and asked which one of them would do this.
Jesus answered, “It is the one I will give this piece of bread to. I will give it to him after I have dipped it in the dish.”
He dipped the piece of bread. Then he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
“Do quickly what you are going to do,” Jesus told him. - John 13:26-27
No one but Jesus and Judas knew what this meant. Then Judas ran out into the night. Judas left Jesus’ side to run to Jesus’ enemies. Judas made a tragic choice. Jesus said, “How terrible it will be for the one who hands over the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Mark 14:21)
Jesus Teaches The Disciples (John 13:31-38; John 14)
Say: After Judas left, Jesus announced that it was time for His Father to be glorified, and that the Father would glorify Jesus (John 13:31-32).
Let’s look at the word glorify. It means: to cause the greatness and worth of something or someone to be made clear. Look at this photo. It looks like an ordinary rock, right?
What if I told you that this is actually one of the largest diamonds ever found? It is a 620-carat diamond! When it comes out of the ground, most people would have no idea what it really is. But, then a master diamond cutter gets his hands on it. Just by cutting into it, all of the diamond’s purity and brilliance is seen. After it is cut, it will be worth millions and millions of dollars. All this from a rock about this size! Teacher: hold up your rock. The diamond-cutting expert is trained to reveal the stunning beauty and sparkle that is actually inside the rock the entire time. In a way, he makes clear, or glorifies the diamond.
When Jesus said it was time for the Father and Him to be glorified, He was saying it was time for God’s greatness, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love to be made clear. Jesus would show that He was the Savior that God had sent to earth. All of God’s promises about the Messiah would be fulfilled when Jesus gave up His life on the cross. The disciples probably had a very different picture in their minds. They mistakenly thought Jesus was about to become an earthly king, and that they would be part of His royal court.
Jesus told His friends that He was about to leave them. But Peter begged to go with Jesus. Peter said He would even die for Jesus.
Then Jesus answered, “Will you really give your life for Me? What I’m about to tell you is true. Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know Me! - John 13:38
Peter had no idea how difficult the night ahead would be. Even Peter, the boldest disciple, would become a coward in the face of the real danger that was coming. In fact, Jesus predicted that very soon all of the disciples would turn their backs on Him. But He said His Father would never leave Him (John 16:32).
Jesus knew that He only had a short time left with His disciples. In His last hours, He taught His friends many things about Himself, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and heaven. He told them to love one another, and to trust in God (John 13:34-35, 14:1). Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for them and one day He would come back for them (John 14:2-4). The disciples were confused about where Jesus was going, and how they would get there. Jesus spoke these important words:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” - John 14:6
Jesus taught them that He was the only WAY to heaven; He was the TRUTH that would set them free; and only He offered new LIFE!
In The Garden (Matthew 26:36-45, Luke 22:39-46)
After the Passover Meal was finished, Jesus went out to a mountain ridge called the Mount of Olives. It was named this because there are so many olive trees growing there. The rest of the disciples followed Jesus to a garden called Gethsemane. Jesus had taken the disciple to this place many times. Jesus purposely went to a place where it would be easy for Judas to find Him (John 18:2-3).
Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and stepped away from the others. He told His closest friends that His soul was deeply troubled, even to the point of death (Matthew 26:38).
None of us can really know the depth of Jesus’ sadness at this time. The word used (perilypos) is the strongest possible word for sadness. The event that was about to take place was the very reason Jesus had come, but it was a terrible task! He was about to be arrested, though He was innocent. He would be lied about, though He was the Truth. He would be beaten, though He came to bring peace. He would be hung on a cross and left to die - the punishment of a murderer, though He was the Life. But, worse than anything men could do to Him, God would turn away from Him when He took on the sins of the world (Matthew 27:46, Isaiah 59:1-2). This was almost more than Jesus could bear. His heart ached at the thought of being without His Father for even a moment.
Jesus told His disciples to pray. He did not ask then to pray for Him. Instead, He told them to pray for themselves - that they would not fall into sin (Luke 22:40).
Note to Teacher: Matthew 26:38 and Mark 14:34 record that Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to keep watch for Him. This phrase means, “to watch; give strict attention to, be cautious, active; to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.” Jesus knew that armed soldiers were on their way to get Him. Jesus asked his three friends to be His “lookouts” so He could focus on nothing other than praying to His heavenly Father.
Then He went a short distance away from them. There He got down on His knees and prayed. He said, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup of suffering away from Me. But do what You want, not what I want.” An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus and gave Him strength. Because He was very sad and troubled, He prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. - Luke 22:41-44
Note to Teacher: The “cup” of which Jesus spoke, is the cup of God’s wrath, or judgment, on the wicked. See Psalm 75:6-10, Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15-20, Revelation 14:9-11.
Can you hear the heart of Jesus as He prayed to His heavenly Father? Jesus agonized over His situation. The weight of the sin of the entire world was about to come crashing down on the only sinless Person who has ever walked the Earth. Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully human (1 Timothy 3:16). In His human body, He did not want to suffer. He did not want to feel the shame of sin flood into His perfect body (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus said, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup of suffering away from Me.” Please understand this: God was certainly ABLE to keep Jesus from suffering on the cross. God could have spoken one word, and Jesus would have been taken right out of the garden, and seated beside His adoring Father in heaven. But God was not WILLING for Jesus to avoid the cross. If Jesus had NOT given His life on the cross, our sins would not be forgiven. We would be punished for our sins. We would face eternity in hell, separated from God.
Imagine God looking down on this scene. Teacher: Hold up one hand, then the other. On one hand there was Jesus: perfect, submissive, pure, peaceful, loving. God loved Jesus so much. On the other hand, there was, well, all of us: sinful, violent, going our own way, ignoring God. So God made His choice. He chose YOU! That’s how much the Creator of the universe loves YOU.
Then, with His next breath, Jesus submitted to His Father’s will. To submit means to give up your control to someone else, to say, “I’ll do it your way.” Jesus promised to do whatever His Father wanted Him to do. Jesus set aside what would seem to be good (not dying on the cross) for God’s plan that was FAR better.
It’s very clear that Jesus’ sadness was affecting His physical body (Luke 22:44). Did you know that you could be so sad that it can make your body weak or sick? People have even died from being really, really sad. As Jesus was praying, God sent an angel to strengthen His body (See also, Matthew 4:11).
Ask: Who remembers what Jesus told the disciples to do? Pray. Say: They were supposed to pray. But when Jesus went to check on them, what do you think they were doing? Sleeping. Say: As I read these verses, I want all of you to read the bold words with me.
(Jesus) got up from prayer and went back to the disciples. He found them sleeping. They were worn out because they were very sad. “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up! Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted.” - Mark 14:37-38
Jesus gave His beloved disciples specific instructions. He told them to pray so they wouldn’t fall into sin - the sin of not submitting to God’s will. The disciples should have listened and prayed.
Jesus stepped away from the disciples again to continue praying to His Father. Jesus was about to do something VERY difficult. He was going to give up His life. It was the very reason He had come to Earth. It was God’s plan since the beginning (Genesis 3:15). But it would NOT be easy! So, Jesus ABIDED with His Father. He rested in Him and remained with Him so God’s perfect will would be Jesus’ all-consuming thought. Jesus bowed before His Father to gain the strength He would need to accomplish God’s amazing plan.
The Arrest (Matthew 26:47-56)
Say: The disciples fell asleep two more times when Jesus stepped away from them to pray. Jesus woke them up just moments before a crowd of people entered the garden.
Judas arrived. He was one of the Twelve. A large crowd was with him. They were carrying swords and clubs. The chief priests and the elders of the people had sent them.
Judas, who was going to hand Jesus over, had arranged a signal with them. “The one I kiss is the Man,” he said. “Arrest Him.”
So Judas went to Jesus at once. He said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed Him.
Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came to do.”
Then the men stepped forward. They grabbed Jesus and arrested Him. - Matthew 26:47b-50
Right away, Peter drew his sword and swung it at one of the men. The sharp metal struck the servant of the High Priest, cutting off his ear (John 18:10). But Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him (Luke 22:51). Jesus told Peter to put his sword away. He said:
Do you think I can’t ask My Father for help? He would send an army of more than 70,000 angels right away. But then how would the Scriptures come true? They say it must happen in this way.” - Matthew 26:53-54
Jesus was NOT weak! He was submitting to God’s plan (Philippians 2:6-8). The men who arrested Jesus had NO power over Him except what He allowed them to have. He did not need Peter to fight for Him. Jesus could have just said the word and been free, but He chose to allow the arrest in order to fulfill God’s plan. Perhaps if Peter had been praying instead of sleeping, he would have understood this. Jesus’ prayer to His Father gave Him the strength to restrain His awesome power and allow the men to arrest Him. Then, just as Jesus foretold:
Then all the disciples left Him and ran away. - Matthew 26:56b