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The Arrest of Jesus (1)

Matthew 26:47-56; mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:3-11

Victor M. Eskew




A.    During His ministry, Jesus resigned Himself to the Garden of Gethsemane for quiet time, meditation, rest, and instruction of His disciples.


B.      In our study of “The Sayings of the Crucifixion,” Jesus has now gone into the garden and has prayed to His heavenly Father three times.


C.     Each time He returned to His disciples, He found them asleep.


D.    After the third time, He woke His apostles, and said:  “Rise, let us be going:  behold, he is at hand that doth betray me” (Matt. 26:46).

1.      The precious silence of the garden was broken by the approaching mob.  The Bible says that it was “a great multitude” (Matt. 26:47).

2.      They came from the chief priests, Pharisees, scribes, and elders of the Jews.

3.      The carried lanterns and torches (John 18:3) and swords and staves (Matt. 26:47).

4.      They came to arrest Jesus.

5.      Their leader was none other than Judas, one of the twelve (Luke 22:47).


…and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them…”


E.      All of the gospel writers record the arrest of Jesus.

1.      Trying to put the events of the arrest together is not easy.

2.      But, the statements that were made on that evening are very interesting.

3.      John records a conversation that none of the other writers record.  It is that conversation that we will study in this lesson.


I.                   JESUS’ QUESTION (John 18:4)


A.    The discussion with the mob that came to arrest Jesus begins with a question from Jesus (John 18:4).


Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?


B.      Jesus knew His hour had come.  He knew exactly why this large crowd of people had entered the Garden of Gethsemane.

1.      He knew the mob was dangerous.

2.      He knew that emotions were going to run high.

3.      He knew that His disciples could get hurt.


C.     Jesus sought to head off as much trouble as possible.

1.      He boldly stepped to the front.

2.      As the Good Shepherd, he was protecting His small flock of sheep, the apostles.

3.      The answer to His question would direct all attention upon Him.


D.    We are reminded of Jesus’ loving, caring, and protective hand.

1.      He would be bruised and afflicted.

2.      He wanted no harm to come to His followers.

3.      Psalm 36:7


How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God!  Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.


II.                THE MOB’S ANSWER (John 18:5a)


A.    The mob knew exactly who they were seeking (John 18:5a).


They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth…


B.      Men were usually known by both their name and their town of residence.

1.      Jesus was our Lord’s Hebrew name given to Him by God (Matt. 1:21).

2.      Nazareth was the small, despised town in Galilee wherein Jesus grew up (See Matt. 2:23).


C.     It is interesting that these individuals were seeking Jesus, but they were seeking Him for the wrong reasons.

1.      They did not want to embrace Him in love.  They wanted to arrest Him in hate.

2.      They did not seek His salvation.  They sought His destruction.


D.    There is an old saying:  “Wise men still seek Jesus.”

1.      While this is true, there are times when foolish and ignorant men seek Jesus. 

2.      There are still many who learn of Jesus only to mock and ridicule Him.

3.      I was going to give some quotes from some supposed comedians who have made derogatory statements about Jesus, but their words are too offensive to put on the overhead.  Just look up the names of Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Jon Stewart, and Conan O’Brien and see what they have to say about our precious Savior.


III.             JESUS’ ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (John 18:5b)


A.    When the crowd reveals who they are seeking, Jesus immediately acknowledged that He was Jesus of Nazareth (John 18:5b).


Jesus saith unto them, I am he…


B.      With this answer, Jesus did two things:

1.      He told the truth and reveals His identify.

2.      He protected His disciples by directing the mob’s attention toward Him.


C.     Something interesting happened to the mob when Jesus acknowledged His identity (John 18:6).


And as soon as he said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.


1.      Remember, this is a great multitude of people.  They all fell to the ground.

2.      The powerful breath of God caused their knees to buckle (Job. 4:9).


By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

3.      This incident shows:

a.      The mob had no real power over Jesus.

b.      Jesu had the ability to get out of this situation, but was voluntarily yielding Himself to the Jews.


D.    An unanswerable question:  “How did the mob feel when they found themselves prostrate on the ground before the Son of God?”  This is a small glimpse of what will happen when Jesus returns (Phil. 2:10).


That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in the earth, and things under the earth.


E.      As they rise, Jesus asked them again:  “Whom seek ye?” (John 18:7a).  They answered again:  “Jesus of Nazareth” (John 18:7b).  Jesus affirmed again that He was the one they were seeking (John 18:8a).


IV.             THE APOSTLES’ SECURITY (John 18:8b)


A.    Once Jesus revealed Himself to the crowd, He sought the release of His disciples (John 18:8b).


…if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.


1.      Jesus loved these men.

2.      Jesus wanted nothing to harm them.


B.      Another reason Jesus wanted their release is because of a promise that Jesus had made stating that no harm would come to them during His earthly ministry (John 18:9).


That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.


1.      He had affirmed this of them in His high priestly prayer in John 17:12.  (NOTE:  Judas was the only exception).

2.      He wanted these words to be fulfilled at this present time as well.


C.     Again we are impressed with Jesus’ desire for the well-being of His disciples.


D.    LESSON:  All I can think about this the fact that Jesus also has this kind of love and care for us as well.

1.      He seeks our best interest.

2.      He wants us to be protected.

3.      He wants no harm to come our way.

4.      Paul described love in I Corinthians 13.  We see Jesus practicing some of the traits of that love on this occasion.

a.      Charity is kind.

b.      Charity seekth not her own.

c.       Charity rejoiceth in the truth.

d.      Charity never faileth.




A.    The Garden of Gethsemane is lit up with lanterns and torches.

B.      The mob has set their eyes fast upon Jesus.


C.     But, is this really the one?  Or, is this someone protecting the Nazarene?


D.    One that is with them knows for sure.  In John 18:5b, we read:  “And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.”


E.      In our next lesson, we will study the conversation that took place between Jesus and His “friend.”