Jesus went knowingly – John 18:1-4

No doubt the priests and Pharisees thought themselves clever in thinking their plans were a secret and a surprise for Jesus and his disciples. But Jesus already knew of Judas’ betrayal and bribe. During his last meal he warned his disciples of his betrayal and even identified Judas as the betrayer as he gave a piece of bread to him. John 13:26 The other disciples were slow to understand, especially the immediacy of his warning. One can imagine John piecing together the events afterwards. How often that is true in our own discipleship journey, only as we looked back have we understood the wisdom of God in our lives. Following their meal and Jesus’ teaching and prayer for himself and his disciples Jesus followed well known footpaths to himself and his disciples across the Kidron Valley east of Jerusalem into the Garden of Gethsemane. v1 It was familiar territory to Judas as well and he led the soldiers and officials to seize Jesus. A Roman cohort was normally 600 men although not all were necessarily present. They supported the temple officials probably because arresting someone as popular as Jesus might have incited a mob. The torches they held were resinous wood fastened together and the lamps were terracotta holders into which household lamps could have been inserted. There must have been a sense of triumphalism in the arrest party. For them the plan was coming together. They were well equipped to be sure Jesus could not escape. Jesus had no intention of escaping he was deliberately stepping into their trap. Such was his love for his Father and those he came to save. This was his destiny since the beginning of creation. Jesus did not run from his betrayal or arrest. He did not rally his supporters in his defence. Because his motivation was compassion and love for sinners he took the eternal perspective. His eye was on obedience to the Father and the many who would become children of God through his sacrifice. ‘In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.’ Ephesians1:5-6 There are strong echoes of Joseph’s words to his brothers when he forgave them and provided for them and their families. ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done the saving of many lives.’ Genesis 50:20