John 18:1-11 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. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus often times resorted there with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, come there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek you? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek you? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore you seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Of them which thou gave me have I lost none. Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father have given me, shall I not drink it?
After the prayer Jesus made in John 17, He and His disciples left for Gethsemane. ‘Went forth’ from the place where He was speaking.
‘Cedron’ also called Kidron (2Sam. 15:23; 1Kin. 15:13; 2Kin. 23:4). It was a small rivulet about 2 meters wide in a deep ravine about 183 meters from the wall of Jerusalem, beyond which the Mount of Olives began with a steep slope.
‘Garden’ – or an orchard, called Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-47; Mark 14:30-36; Luke 22:40-44). Jewish rich men had their gardens and recreational grounds outside the city. It perhaps belonged to some friend of Jesus, for He often resorted there (John 18:2; Luke 22:40).
In Matthew 26:37-45 we see that Jesus took Peter, John the apostle and James his brother with Him, where He became sorrowful and heavy unto death as He prayed to the Father: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou will.” Jesus did not pray against being crucified because He came for this purpose, but He was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13) and was to be forsaken by the Father (Matt. 27:46). This was no doubt the hardest part of His sufferings to come: being separated from the Father because of our sin and have been with the Father from all eternity without the slightest separation, it was hard to be forsaken even for a moment. This was necessary because God could not condone sin even if it were borne by His only begotten Son. This emphasizes the awfulness of sin and that it must be put away if fellowship with God is desired (Isa. 59:2; 1Jn. 1:7; Heb. 12:14; Tit. 2:11-14).
In Luke 22:44 we read of Christ’s agony while He prayed and His sweat was as great drops of blood. It is a recognized fact that under extreme mental pressure the pores may be so dilated that blood may issue from them, so there may be bloody sweat. A number of cases are on record of such agony.
‘Band’ the Greek word speira which is a military cohort of 600 men (18:3, 12; Acts 10:1; 21:31; 27:1; Matt. 27:27; Mark 15:16). This cohort was accompanied by the officers of the chief priests (7:32, 45-46).
‘Fell to the ground’ – this proves that Christ could have killed them by His power if He had chosen to do so. This was a lesson to rebels that they had no power over Him without His consent and to the disciples that He could have escaped if He had desired and if it were not His time to go back to the Father after completing His work of redemption for mankind.
‘Let these go their way’ these weren’t words of weakness and entreaty, but of authority. Jesus gave Himself to them voluntarily, but they were warned not to hurt one of His disciples. He has already given them proof of His power over them. He wouldn’t use it on His behalf, for He laid down His life for His sheep; but He would have used it if need be to protect His sheep. It was certainly the power of Christ that protected them, especially after Peter began to use the sword (18:10).
‘Of them which thou gave me have I lost none’ this is the 41st New Testament prophecy in John that is fulfilled.
‘Cut off his right ear’ perhaps Malchus advanced to seize the Lord so Peter acted intending to cleave his skull; but God no doubt permitted only the ear to be severed so as to cause another great miracle and further convince the soldiers that they were powerless to act without His consent (Matt. 26:51-56).
‘Malchus’ John alone gives the name of this servant and who smote him, but he does not mention the healing of the ear (Luke 22:51).
Christ commanded Peter to put his sword into the sheath because He came for this purpose – for this cup which His Father had given Him to drink. This was the cup of sufferings which befell Him for taking up the world’s sin on Himself (Matt. 20:22-23).