Gethsemane’s King-Lamb: A Sermon on John 18:7-8, 12-13a -- By: Joel R. Beeke
PRJ 4:1 (January 2012) p. 25
A Sermon on John 18:7-8, 12-13a
John 18 introduces us to the greatest day in the history of the world: the final twenty-four hours of Jesus’ life prior to His crucifixion and death. How packed with action these hours are! We’re prone to consider them exclusively as a theological event called the atonement, forgetting that all the events recorded in this chapter happened in real time. We lose the action, the tension, the horror, the pain, the shame, and the bravery of our 33-year-old Savior. Christ did not die a theoretical death. In John 18, Jesus enters the Holy Place as our High Priest where He will tread the winepress of God’s wrath. The culmination of His sufferings consists of the events that took place in Gethsemane, the garden of agony; Gabbatha, the judgment hall of Pilate; and Golgotha, the hill of execution.
Our chapter begins with Jesus and the disciples leaving Jerusalem after celebrating the Passover. Christ is about to lay down His life for His disciples, including the ones who were just disputing who was the greatest among them, those who would forsake Him in His darkest hour, and the one who would deny Him that night. To all He said, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). Greater love hath no man than this!
Jesus and His disciples leave Jerusalem through the gate north of the temple. “He went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into which he entered” (John 18:1). This garden was known as Gethsemane, on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives where large, massive olive trees grew, and where the Lord had often gone to pray. But this time He went forth not only to pray but also to suffer betrayal, arrest, and captivity. That is emphasized in verse 4, which says, “Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth.”
PRJ 4:1 (January 2012) p. 26
Do the words He went forth give you pause? If not, consider that Jesus went forth, knowing that His disciples would abandon Him, knowing the bitter suffering that was required to make satisfaction for His people’s sins, and knowing the betrayal that Judas, His hand-picked disciple—one of the twelve—had already negotiated with the Jewish authorities. Jesus went forth, knowing that He would be whipped and beaten and spat upon, knowing that the hairs of His beard would be plucked out, and knowing that great nails would be driven through His hands and feet. Jesus went forth, knowing how full and how bitter the cup was that He...
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