Sometimes life appears to be spinning out of control. Events happen we didn't plan for, people do things we didn't expect, we find ourselves in places we never thought we'd be in. But though you can't always control what happens to you, you are responsible for what happens in you (attitudes and responses). What do we really believe about God's authority and power in our lives? Is there ever a time when God can't say, "I've got it under control"?
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help)
Stuff to Think About:
Publications Referenced: USA Today
Figures Referenced: C.H. Spurgeon; Josephus; William Plumer
Hebrew Terms: גַּת; gath-a press; שמן; shemen- oil; משיח; mashiach - Christ
Greek Terms: σπείρα; speira-a cohort, detachment
Cross References: Exodus 3:14; Psalm 2:1-5; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 27:1-2; Psalm 139:7-10; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 19:21; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 53:5; Mark 4:39; Mark 14:12-16; John 1:29; John 5:8; John 6:35; John 8:12; John 10:11; John 10:18; John 11; John 14:31; Acts 2:23; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 15:45-47; Hebrews 13:5
Topic: The arrest of Jesus
Keywords: arrest, Garden of Gethsemane, sovereignty, control
Open your bibles this morning to the Gospel of John. Here it is. I get to say it, Chapter 18. It has taken two years to say that. We're in Chapter 18. Let's pray. Father, we are so grateful that we could delve in to this book and these verses, and go slow and go deep and see how they apply to us as disciples following the same Jesus that Peter, James, John, Matthew, Simon and others followed. Lord, you have been teaching us about how to relate to this very unique Son of God, your Son. You've been teaching us, I trust, how to rely and depend upon Him in life's most difficult situations and here again we pray you would do the same this morning. Lord, none of us knows the depth of experience that others around us have had during this last week, the complications of our lives, the heartache that we bear, but you do and we pray Lord knowing that you administer to us your comfort, in Jesus' name, Amen.
You've all heard the phrase -- you've all said the phrase whenever you want someone to be assured that you are not overwhelmed, that things are going okay, that you can handle the situation that you haven't taken on too much, you will say, "I've got it under control." Have you ever said that? I've got it under control. So, when the young husband wants to impress his young wife that he's able to provide for the future he'd go, "I've got it under control." When their teenage son wants to have his mom back off because she keeps asking about, "Why do you spend so late of time with those friends of yours that I don't like?" He'll say, "Dude, I've got it under control" even though you shouldn't say dude to your mom. When the college student wants her parents to not worry because she's taking 18 credit hours this semester plus two jobs, she'll say, "I've got it under control." The fact of the matter is you don't have it under control.
There's a lot of life that you'd like to have under your control but it can spiral out of control very quickly. Is that right? Things can get out of your control very quickly. I'll tell you about a guy named Fred. Life seemed really good for Fred. He inherited $10 million. That's pretty good. Life is under control, but Fred made a series of choices where his life spun rapidly out of control. Here's his story. Fred inherited $10 million but the will provided that he had to accept it either in Chile or Brazil. He chose Brazil.
Unfortunately, it turned out that in Chile, he would have received his inheritance in land on which uranium, gold, and silver had just been discovered. But once in Brazil, he had to choose between receiving his inheritance in coffee or in nuts. He chose the nuts. Too bad because the bottom fell out of the nut market and coffee went up to $5.30 a pound wholesale unroasted. Poor Fred, he lost everything he had. So he went out and sold his gold watch for money that he needed to fly home. It seemed that he had just enough money to buy a ticket either to New York or to Boston. He chose Boston.
When the plane for New York taxied up, he noticed it was a brand new 747 with red carpets, chic people. The plane for Boston that arrived, it was a 1928 Ford trimotor with a sway back, took a full day to get it off the ground. It was filled with crying children and tethered goats. Over the Andes, one of the engines fell out. Our man Fred made his way up to the cockpit and said to the captain, "Look, I'm a jinx on this plane, all right. Let me out if you want to save your lives. Give me a parachute." The pilot agreed but said, "On this plane, anybody who bails out must wear two chutes." So, Fred jumped out of the plane and as he felt dizzily through the air, he tried to make up his mind which ripcord to pull. Finally, he chose the one on the left. It was rusty and the wire pulled loose. So he pulled the other handle. The chute opened but the shroud lines snapped.
So in desperation, the poor fellow cried out, "Saint Francis, save me." A great hand from heaven reached down and seized the poor fellow by the wrist and let him dangle in mid-air. And then a gentle but inquisitive voice asked, "Saint Francis Xavier or Saint Francis of Assisi?" Poor Fred was dead. His life was totally out of control. On a serious note, I read an article this week in Psychology Today that said, "One of the paramount fears most people have is the fear of losing control." And some people have this perpetually, it's a chronic fear that people live with, the fear of losing control on their life and it makes them live at a heightened sense of stress.
I don't know if you find yourself saying, "I've got it under control." I don't know if you say that a lot. But if you're a Christian and you say that, that could be part of the problem. In fact, we're speaking the wrong line, that's not our line. The last time I checked that's God's line. It's God who gets to say, "Don't worry, I've got it under control." Not you. God would say to you, "I've got it under control" even when it doesn't seem like it, even though the situation around you, you don't like. Even though people are very unpredictable, God can say, "I've got it under control." Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good to those that loved God."
In Chapter 18, we see a story that from a human vantage point it looks like it's totally out of control. We elevate ourselves a little bit and we look down from heaven's perspective and we see God's got it totally wired. Chapter 18 of John, Verses 1 through 11, when Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there is a garden, which he and his disciples entered. And Judas who betrayed him, also knew the place where Jesus often met there with his disciples. Then Judas, having received the detachment of troops and officers from the Chief Priest and the Pharisees came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" They said to him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." Judas, who betrayed him, also stood with them.
Now when he said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground and then he asked them again saying, "Whom are you seeking?" Again they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He, therefore, if you seek me let these go their way." That the same might be fulfilled which he spoke, "Of those whom you gave me, I have lost none." Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest servant and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheet. Shall I not drink the cup which my Father has given me?" Jesus and his disciples enter into a place known as the Garden of Gethsemane. It doesn't say that word here but the other Gospel writers identified this garden as the Garden of Gethsemane.
Now, there's an emotion that is looming over this entire scene and that is the emotion of despair, at least on the part of the disciples. Life is out of control. Jesus had dinner with them. He has announced that he is leaving. He has announced his death. They fired a few questions back. They're in confusion and disarray. They're despondent that looms over this scene. The death of Christ is imminent, but overarching the scene is the grand truth of the sovereignty of Almighty God. A God who had looked at the scene and say, "I have this totally in control."
Sovereignty of God is one of the most important doctrines that you as a Christian, need to come to grips with, that God is in control. That Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, "Of all the Christian doctrines that God's children should enjoy, what brings them the most comfort is the doctrine of God's sovereign control."
Now we want to look at this control in three aspects, the place, the people and the plans. Jesus Christ is in control of the place they're at, the people that are around Him, and of the plans that are being made. We begin in the first couple of verses with the place. Jesus, when He had spoken these words, "He went out with his disciples." Notice He is doing the initiating, He's calling the shots. Over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
If there is one thing that we've discovered in the Gospel of John, is how Jesus controls the situations of the movement of the disciples. I'll give you an example, in Chapter 11, which I know is like 30 years ago since we've been there, but in Chapter 11, before they go up to Jerusalem this last time, here is Lazarus the sick, and he waits a few days. And then He says to his disciples, "Lets go up to Judea", and the disciples aren't too keen on that, they go, "Last time we checked, they wanted to kill you in Judea. Let's not go to Judea. Let's go have a falafel here and just stay put." And they go up to Jerusalem because Jesus leads them to that place.
Then at the time of Passover on this very day, earlier that day, Christ said to His disciples, "When you go on to the city you're going to find a man carrying a jar of water, go follow him." He's going to take you to a house. And as the owner of that house to show you the room that he has prepared, all furnished, where we can have the Passover. There, make ready for our meal. So all totally, those places under his control. Then at the end of the meal, in Chapter 14 of John Verse 31, the last verse of the chapter, "Jesus said to them, arise let us go from here." So He led them out of that upper room, out of the city, down toward the Garden of Gethsemane and now in Chapter 18 Verse 1, "He enters it and they follow Him. Every single place, He has led them into, and out of. He has been in total control.
Now just file that thought for a moment. There is some wording in these verses that is very suggestive that John puts in there. He doesn't say it's Gethsemane. I'll get to that in a moment. He just says they're going to a garden. That could be just incidental, like it just be John, but it could be that John wants the readers to think of the last time a garden was significant in history, and that was the Garden of Eden. Maybe John is saying, "Just a garden" so that we would compare what happened in the Garden of Eden, with what's happening in the Garden of Gethsemane.
For example, in the Garden of Eden, that's where life began. In the Garden of Gethsemane, that's where a new life began. In the Garden of Eden, it was Adam who was conquered by sin. In the Garden of Gethsemane, it was Christ whom Paul calls the second Adam, who conquered sin. In the Garden of Eden, Adam ran, fled, hid from God. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus presents himself to fulfill the Will of God.
So it could just be coincidence -- I don't think so, I think John is simply saying, "In every place even this place, Christ was in total control." There's something else in the text in Verse 1, it says, "They went over the Brook Kidron." Now, what would that have looked liked? Let me paint the picture for you.
Up on top of the temple, they we're sacrificing lambs at Passover -- guess how many lambs? Two hundred thousand plus lambs in a two day period slaughtered. It's an enormous amount of blood, right? Josephus said, "One Passover, 256,000 lambs were killed on the temple." So they had to figure out a way to convey all of that blood away from the temple mound, an enormous amount of blood pooling on the Altar of Sacrifice. They built a conduit, a channel. They went out of the temple mound, underneath that mountain and emptied out in the Kidron Brook.
So when Jesus was walking over with his disciples, the Brook Kidron, they would look down and see blood of lambs, lambs, the Passover lambs. Jesus passes over the brook, looking down at the Passover blood, He himself being the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world, all very, very suggestive, like divine poetry. Then there's the garden itself called, "Gethsemane." Again it's mentioned in Matthew and in Mark, but not by John Baptist. That term "Gethsemane," we've all heard of it.
It's a Hebrew word that comes from two Hebrew words, "gat" which means the press, and "šmānê" which means oil. It means the oil press, the, "olive oil press". In the Garden of Gethsemane where olive trees were like an arboretum, filled with rose of olive trees, it was a production plant, if you will. Olives were harvested and placed in an oil press.
Here is an oil press, huge round stone, olives placed on top of it. On top of the olives another grinding stone -- a very heavy stone that would crush the pits of the olives, that's where the oil comes from, the pits. And it's in that tremendous crushing, where the olives now become valuable. Olive oil was used for everything from washing, to lighting lamps every night. It was the bloodline of the nation.
So when the olives were crushed, the oil was exuded and collected from a lower channel into bottles. It became valuable when it was crushed. Again to me, very suggestive, that here is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the place of pressing, where the sins of the world are laid upon him, and He is being pressed by this horrible situation -- and John speaking of it predictably and -- excuse me, Isaiah, speaking of it predictably in Isaiah Chapter 53 said, "He was wounded or pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed, literally crushed for our inequities." So everything from the garden to the crimson river, to the place of the press, all of that suggests that this place, Jesus was in total control of. He knew exactly where to go.
Now let's talk about your Gethsemanes, the places you've been. You've been to some pretty raunchy places in your life. What I mean by that is you've been in places where it's dark, it's painful, it's sad, it's lonely, it's your Gethsemane, and you've looked around, you've said, "This is out of control. God isn't here." You need to know something this morning if you don't already, there has never been a place you've been where you've been alone apart from God, if you're a believer. He's been with you. He's walked with you. He led you. He was in control.
Remember Psalm 139? David said, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" Remember that? He said, "If I go up into the heavens you are there. If I make my bed in the depths of hell, behold you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and go to the other most parts of the sea, even there your right hand will direct me." Jesus said to His disciples, "I will never leave you nor what?" Forsake you. And in Greek, it's very emphatic. "I will never know, never know ever leave you or forsake you." Jesus is called "Emmanue,l" which means "God with us." There's never been a time Christian, in your Gethsemane, where it has been, you thought so dark, but that God wasn't there. God was there, just as God was in control here, He is in control where you're at.
There was once an atheist who wrote on a piece of paper in his office the words, "God is nowhere." That's what he wrote, "God is nowhere." That's what he believed. That's his world view, God is nowhere. His little girl was in the office. She was learning how to read, and she just studied that little sentence that he wrote, and thought about what it would look like, if there was a gap between the "W" and the "H", and she wrote, "God is now here." That atheist didn't like what his daughter wrote all that much, same spelling.
How many times have you been in a situation where you said, "God is not here. God is nowhere. It's so dark, it's so painful, it's so alienating, it's so lonely, God is nowhere." But in reality, God is now here in this Gethsemane, God is now here.
Listen to this Psalm you know it well. It's one of your favorites, the one and the most well-known, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." We all know that, Psalm 23. Remember when David says, "Even though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death." He said, "I will fear no evil because you are with me, because you are with me." I studied a little bit about sheep because I don't know anything about sheep so I had to study people who know about sheep. One guy who knows about sheep said this, "When it's hot the summer months, the shepherd will lead the sheep down into deep ravines because it's hot up on top, and it's in the shadowed, shaded areas where the wadies -- they are called wadies, the little streams, the overflow of streams run at the very bottom."
That's where the refreshment is, at the bottom of the pit at the valley. However sheep, they don't like shadowed places. They can't see very well so when they look down into a ravine and they can't see where they're going, they're skittish. They will not go. They need incentive from the shepherd. Get down there.
Only to discover that the greenest pastures in the hottest summer months are in the deepest valleys. The place of the most refreshment is down deep in the valley. I know that you all have testimonies. You could say, you could testify that in the darkest times of your life even when at first you thought God is nowhere, you discovered the sweetest nectar of God's fellowship like you've never experienced it before, where you said, "Wow! God is now here even in this place." So that's Gethsemane. Jesus was in control of the places.
Second thing I want you to look at is the people. He's in control of the people. Now there are two groups of people here on our story. There are enemies of Jesus and there are friends of Jesus. Those are the two types. Now there is a third group, not an enemy, not a friend. I'm going to call him a frenemy. You know what a frenemy is? A frenemy is somebody who pretends to be your friend but isn't, but really acts behind the scene as an enemy. That's Judas. He's a frenemy. He said, "Jesus I love you. You're my friend." But he's conspiring behind the scenes to get Jesus arrested. He's a frenemy. He's siding with the enemies.
Oh, let's look at the enemies of Christ. First of all, look at Verse 3. Then Judas having received a detachment of troops and officers from the Chief Priest and the Pharisees came with lanterns, torches and weapons, it says. They're looking for trouble, or they're expecting the worst. You might say they are prepared for the worst. Jesus, therefore knowing all things that would come upon him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." And Judas who betrayed him also stood with him. Now there's something you need to know. It says a detachment of troops. That's what my bible says, a detachment.
The Greek word denotes a cohort, a Roman cohort. I don't know what you pictured in your mind if you've read this before, but you've probably pictured, I don't know -- what, five, ten soldiers, maybe max. A cohort is a tenth of a Roman legion headed by a Roman tribune. A cohort, a detachment, is 600 armed men. They mean business. It's the SWAT team of the Roman army. Now, I will grant you that in a couple of places, the word that is used spiraea for cohort or detachment denotes a third of a cohort or 200 men. But okay, whatever you want, 600 men,200 men, that's a lot of guys, right? Armed men.
Can you imagine how intimidating it would look? You're just a few guys. You're just praying together. You're in a garden. It's quiet and you look up and you hear the rattle of sabers and shields and helmets, very intimidating with that number of men and torches lighting the way and they come in and they surround. The SWAT team surrounds the Garden of Gethsemane. They've got the scopes on Jesus, it would be very intimidating.
And your first impression would be, "This is totally out of control." This is out of control or it's in their in control. Until you look at Verse 4, "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon him, went forward." He didn't go backwards. He didn't hide. He didn't cower. He went forward. They fell backward. He went forward and said to them, "What do you want? What are you seeking?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." I'm sure with great force and great authority after all they have the weapons and there were a lot of them. He said, "I am he." Now, look at the word he. In my Bible it's italicized, is it in yours? Slant it a little bit to the right. Whenever you see something in italics, it just means it's not there in the original. It was added by the translators in their hopes to make it clear. I don't know if it really makes it clear. Because according to them, Jesus said, "I am he."
In the original, this what Jesus said, "I am." That puts a different spin on it, doesn't it? Because that takes us back to the statement of deity when Moses was in front of the burning bush and he said, "Who are you? Who will I say sent me?" And God said, "I am that I am."
And several times in the Gospel of John, Jesus has used that statement, "I am the Bread of Life. I am the Light of the World. I am the Good Shepherd." Now He just says, "I am." And momentarily, he displays his majesty and whatever it was that caused them to do this, they all fell backwards. This great military cohort each carrying a machaira, a Roman short sword, well-armed fell backward.
Thereafter a game for a moment. He said to them, "I am." That same voice that said to the Sea of Galilee, "Peace. Be still" and it went whooh The same voice that said to sick people, "Get up, carry your bed, run home." The same voice that said to dead people, "Live." It's the same voice that says to them now, "I am." Now does that sound to you like a man who looks around and goes, "This is totally out of control." No. He is totally in control.
He's writing the script here. He's the manager, moving all the stage pieces where he wants them. He steps forward and he says, "I am." One comment here to put it beautifully, "They came to arrest Jesus. They didn't arrest Jesus. Jesus arrested them." He arrested them. They're like, "Whoa!" Now when I read this I thought of a Scripture, it came to my mind and I think it fits perfectly. If you've ever read a Scripture and it just fits perfectly with where you're at, listen to this Scripture, Psalm 127.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my foes and my enemies, they stumbled and fell backwards." It fits perfectly, doesn't it? Now I want you to turn to another Psalm. I want you to look at it. Turn to Psalm 2 in the Old Testament, Psalm 2.
Now I'm not having you turn there just because, "Well, this really fits." I'm having you to turn to Psalm 2 because it is this very Psalm that the disciples will quote referring to what happened the night Jesus was betrayed, arrested and then crucified, Psalm 2. They saw what happened to Jesus as a fulfillment in the Book of Acts because Psalm 2 begins, "Why did the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the Earth have set themselves and the rulers take counsel together. This is their government authorities making their plans against the Lord and against his anointed saying, "Let us break their bonds and pieces and cast away their cords from us." What a pathetic picture of the world all united against God. All the world and the world rulers are shaking their fists to God. It sounds like a massive ACLU Convention.
How does God react? Does God cower? Does he cringe? What is God's reaction to their shaking their fists? The world rulers shaking their fist. What does he do? It says, "He who sits in the heaven shall laugh. The Lord shall hold them in derision. He shall speak to them in his wrath and distress them in as deep as pleasure that I have set my king on my holy hill of Zion."
First of all, God didn't even get up in heaven. He just sits there. He didn't like stand up and go, "Oh, let me look." He just sits there and goes, "Well, whatever." He sits and He laughs. So here are men on Earth and rulers, "Oh, God. I'm God. I'm going to write my books and say." And God goes, "Ha! Hah, whatever." I'm in total control of this. I'm going to set my king, my holy one on Zion."
By the way when it says against the Lord and against his anointed, see that? It's the word Mashiaḥ, Messiah, Christ. Against the Lord and against this Christ, God will sit in heaven and laugh. And most of you know that throughout Church history, the Roman government persecuted believers intensely, violently, killed a lot of them, tortured many of them.
One of the rulers was a guy by the name of Diocletian. And Diocletian prided himself in taking all of the remnants of Christianity away from the Roman Empire. He minted a coin and he had a monument made and in effect said, "I have been successful in eradicating the Christian religion from the areas of Rome."
Well he died and Christianity grew massively around him. But, there were other emperors that came to take his place who hated Christians. One historian by the name of William Plummer writes this, "Of the 30 Roman emperors and officials known for persecuting Christians, one became deranged, one was killed by his own son, one became blind, one was drowned, one was strangled, one died in miserable captivity, one died so loathsome a disease that several attending doctors couldn't stand the stench that accompanied it. Two committed suicide. A third attempted but had to call for help to finish it. Five were assassinated by their own people or servants. Eight were killed in battle or taken captive and several died of diseases."
One of those who died was a man by the name of Julian the Emperor, called by believers Julian the Apostate because his whole gig was to restore paganism back to the Roman Empire after Constantine died. That's what -- what are you going to do? I'm going to bring paganism back. He hated Christ. In one battle, it is said, "He drew his sword and pointed it to heaven and challenged the Son of God and blasphemed him." He was wounded in that battle and as he lay there dying, he took clots of his own blood and threw it up to heaven and said, "Thou has conquered, oh thou Galilean." On his death, he was recognizing, "I fought against you Christ and I lost. You are in control."
So back to Chapter 18 of John, the Roman soldiers, the enemies are in the garden. They think they're in control. Jesus says, "I am." They fall backward and here's the deal. They cannot arrest Jesus unless he gives them permission. He's totally in control. He will go with them willingly, not violently. Those are his enemies. Look at his friends, Verse 7. He asks them again saying, "Whom are you seeking?" I think they probably answered a little more sheepishly, "Jesus of Nazareth, please." Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he, therefore if you seek me let these -- these friends of mine, these 11 who are cowering over here, let these go their way." That the saying might be fulfilled which he spoke of those whom you gave me I have lost none. That's what he prayed in John 17.
And now John says, "It happened." So, here's the deal. 600, 200, let's just say 200 conservatively armed soldiers came to the garden and their intention was simply to arrest the whole gang, not just Jesus, the whole gang. That's what they wanted to do. They were intent on arresting everyone. Jesus speaks up and whatever it was, whatever display of power that caused them to fall backward gives them enough incentive to not press the issue but to do what this prisoner they're going to arrest wants them to do, like let these guys go. And this was very untypical. Martin Luther says, "This is the greatest miracle that happened that night in Gethsemane." Because typically, armed soldiers that work for the government who come to arrest a prisoner will disregard any request by the prisoner, especially to release what they would call co-conspirators in the crime. These are part of it. Arrest them all. It didn't happen. Jesus was in total control and said, "Let this go that it might be fulfilled," what Jesus said in the previous prayer.
Now look at Verse 10. "Then Simon Peter having a sword." Uh-oh! Not good when a fisherman has a sword. And he struck the high priest servant and cut off his right ear and the servant's name was Malchus. Now, we'll say a lot more about Peter later on, but let me just say this. Peter is a great fisherman. He had a fishing business. He knew what he was doing when it came to fishing. He was not a good swordsman. I don't think Peter was aiming for the ear, do you? I don't think he said, "Matthew, ten shekels I'm going to get his right ear on the first blow. Watch this, I'll be so accurate." He reacted.
Peter was trying to cut his head off and he missed and God is here. Whoa! Ouch! So here's Peter and in effect, what Peter is saying is, "Jesus, I've got it under control." This is Peter getting it under control. He makes a worse scene than it already was. Because he wants to control. We hate to lose control. So Jesus calms Peter and he heals graciously the servant of the priest. So Christ is in control of the places, the people. And finally we look at the last verse, Verse 11, the plans. He's in control of the plans that night.
So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which my Father has given me?" Did you get that? Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me? What cup is he speaking of? The Calvary, the cross, his soon coming death that he knew he was going to face. It was all part of the plan. For Jesus to say, "Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?" implies everything that has been happening tonight is all part of the script. It's all part of the plan. I knew this night was coming. I knew it was going to come down this way. The cup that the Father gives me, I will take and I will drink. It's the plan. There were a couple of plans going on that night. There were their plans, the enemies' plans, their plan is let's arrest Jesus and the disciples. Let's kill Jesus and let's squelch this whole cult that's going on, this new Christian thing happening. That was their plan. It was not God's plan.
God's plan was that Jesus would voluntarily offer himself as a sacrifice, being able to forgive mankind for their sins because he was sinless and perfect, rise from the dead and that Gospel message of forgiveness will go around the world. That was God's plan. Whose plan won? God's plan won. Let me remind you, we read it in John Chapter 10. I know that was 30 years ago. Again, a long time ago since we've been there. John Chapter 10, Jesus said this, "Nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down and to take it again."
And here we have Jesus willingly laying it down and in a few days, he will take it again. Peter was there that night. He's watching this whole thing come down. He'll remember this. In a few weeks, he will stand in Jerusalem and Peter will say to the crowd in Jerusalem concerning Christ, him being delivered by the determined for knowledge and purposes of God you have taken with wicked hands and crucified and slain. Yeah, you crucified him and you slain him, that was your plan. But as all according to God's plan, his predetermined plan. He was in charge of the plans even on that night.
So to sum it all up and wrap it all up, do you know that all of the places, all of the people around you and all of the plans that are going on in the midst of all of that, you serve a God who can say to you, "I've got it under control. It's all under control." There's a Jewish proverb that I've remembered because I liked it. I found it to be true as well. The Jewish proverb says, "Man makes plans and God changes them." It's very simple. Man makes plans. God changes them. You know why God changes them? God has editing rights over your life. Have you given your life to Christ? "Oh Lord, here's my life." Okay, good. Thank you." I'm going to write the script for it now. I've got some plans of my own for you. Go ahead make your plans. I can change them if I will because my plan is better than your plan.
Here are a few Scriptures that help reinforce that. Proverb 16, "A man's heart plans his own way but God direct his steps." Proverbs 21, "Many plans are on a man's heart, but the Lord's counsel, that will stand." Also Proverbs 21, "The King's heart is in the hand of the Lord." And like the rivers of water, he directs it wherever he wishes. So the Garden of Gethsemane was not a purposeless accident. It was a purposeful incident all under control. It was not a tragedy. It was a victory. And Jesus takes the cup that the Father gives him. Now in your life, you're going to be drinking some cups that you're not too happy with. God's going to go, "Here, drink this." "I don't want to drink it. It's bitter and sour. I hate it."
You'll be in gardens that aren't that peaceful. You'll feel pressed and pressured and it's hard and it's painful and you cry out and there will be people in your life that will impose their plans and plot behind your back and you're going to be tempted to say, "God is nowhere." And here's that temptation you will face and your point of greatest vulnerability is when you're in those situations where you think life is spinning out of control, you're going to be tempted to take your sword out and do one of these numbers.
It will just make things worst because you want to be in control, so you're just slicing and dicing and yelling and shredding. Jesus will say, "Put it away. I've got it under control." If you can recognize two things, you'll walk out of here a better person. Recognize number one, your inadequacy without God. Recognize number two, your invincibility with God.
That first little truth, your inadequacy without God, I wonder if we really believe that. I know the Bible says, Jesus said "Without me, you can do what? Nothing." I don't know if we really are into that. There are a few things I can do without him. If you're still there, you need to deal with that. Your inadequacy without God. Once you get to that point, then your invincibility with God. Do you know that you're invincible as a Christian? You are invincible until God is done with you on this Earth. Nothing can happen to you.
But when God is done with you, why do you want to hang here anywhere? I mean when God's done with me, let's go, right?. I don't want to be here anyway. Your inadequacy without him. Our invincibility with him. Father, we leave it there. We close this message realizing that though we make plans, life can get out of our grasps very, very quickly. Things can happen, a phone call can come, an event can occur or we feel like we're spinning our feet on solid ground. And we're even tempted to say, "This is my case. God is nowhere." When you are ever present and ever present help in times of trouble. So Lord impress upon us our inadequacy without you, our invincibility with you. Help us march on in our lives with great confidence, not in our power, not in our control but in your sovereign overarching plan for our lives, in Jesus' name. Amen.