The Grace and Power of Jesus in the Face of the Greatest Betrayal in History, Part 1 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 295)
TEXT: John 18:1-6:
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 295.
Henry Morris said, “The soldiers had come out secretly to arrest a fleeing peasant. In the gloom, they find themselves confronted by a commanding figure, who so far from running away comes out to meet them and speaks to them in the very language of deity.”
After one of the longest of Jesus’ discourses recorded in the Gospels, we return to the “action” part of the story. Jesus, having left the Passover meal with his disciples, goes to the Garden of Gethsemane — a place that He and His disciples frequented when they were in Jerusalem for religious observances. To get there, they had to cross the brook Cedron. Interestingly, hundreds of years before, as one of Jesus’ earthly ancestors — King David — was crossing this very same brook, he learned that one of his most trusted advisors had betrayed him and joined the cause of his rebel son Absalom.
John skips over the retelling of Jesus’ agonizing prayer in the Garden and dives right into the betrayal of Judas Iscariot. He informs us that Judas “knew the place”, and that, by this time, he had “received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.”
That night, Jesus was not surprised to see the torchlight of a band of men moving toward him in the Garden. He was not surprised that one of His own, one described in Old Testament prophecy as a “trusted friend”, was the leader of this band. Dr. John Walvoord and Dr. Roy Zuck remind us in The Bible Knowledge Commentary that “‘The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.’ So it is not surprising that Judas betrayed Jesus for money. Judas was not an unusual monster but a common man caught in a common sin (greed) which Satan used to accomplish his purpose. Judas knew the habits of Jesus, and his deed stands out in black contrast with Jesus’ unselfish love.”
Always one to cut to the chase, Jesus is the first to speak in this narrative. He goes forth and addresses those come to arrest Him, saying, “Whom seek ye?” “They answer him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he.” The text continues, “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”
There was something powerful about Jesus stepping up and identifying Himself in front of this group of armed men (which some believe numbered over 600). His words, “I am he” — both a declaration of His divinity and a statement of identification — was so powerful that His would-be captors staggered backward and fell to the ground in amazement. “You have come to arrest God? I am He.” Surely, they were expecting some kind of violence, some kind of fight from the man who dared to defy the religious rulers in the Temple, their own seat of power. But Jesus offered none.
He could have faded back into the shadows of the night, and left the scene undetected. But He didn’t. He stepped forward because of us — because He knew that, if we would have any chance at being saved, it would be because of what He did that night. He stepped up because He knew no one else would or could. He stepped up because He loved His Father who had sent Him into the world for this purpose. He stepped up because He loved His disciples and He had promised them that He would always be there for them. He stepped up because there was no other way the world could be saved. Jesus stepped for you and me.
Ken Bible wrote:
A garden in the night,
A soul in tortured prayer;
Engulfed in sorrow all alone,
Our Savior struggles there.
He knows His hour has come
To bear the price of love.
He reaches out, His spirit drowned
In agony and blood.
“My Father, let it pass,
This darkness now begun.
But here I am, Your sacrifice,
So let Your will be done.”
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at email@example.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.