Betrayal of the King

John 18:1-14

Betraying a king is unthinkable. But a king knowingly allowing himself to be betrayed is unheard of.

Julius Caesar the Roman Emperor was betrayed by his nephew, Brutus.

Tsar Nicholas II, emperor of Russia, gave up power to the Communists to save his and his family’s life, but was killed.

In these examples, you have kings betrayed. One knowingly, the other voluntarily, but he did it to try and preserve his life and his family. Jesus was not only betrayed, but was willingly betrayed knowing he would die. Nothing at any moment was out of his control, yet he had to painfully endure it.

VS1-2 -- 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples.

Judas knew the place because it was likely a hangout spot for Jesus and his disciples. We all have go-to places to hang out. Some have a coffee shop. My family and I have Los Compadres.

VS3 -- So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Judas is leading the charge here. We’ve been told repeatedly in John this was coming. He leads a fairly large group to where Jesus is. They have weapons. The goal is to arrest him, but they are prepared to use force if they need it. These are religious leaders, not Roman soldiers.

VS4 -- Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”

Nothing is happening outside of Jesus’ knowledge. This is in accordance with the plan. He steps forward and asks whom do they seek.

VS5 -- They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

They say, “Him”. Jesus responds, “I am he”. In the Greek, it would just be: I AM. Judas, who knew him well, was there and could verify. This is probably where the kiss on the cheek happens.

VS6 -- When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

John lets us know something remarkable happened when Jesus said “I am”. The band of soldiers drew back and fell. What is that about? Something supernatural occurs. A glimpse of his glory and power are exposed. They are fearful.

Exodus 20 Luke 5 Matthew 8

VS7 -- So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

He asks again and they answer.

VS8-9 -- 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”

Jesus is pushing this moment forward. Then he puts the spotlight on himself, so his disciples can go free. Most kings would sacrifice their people so they could go free. Jesus does the opposite. He’s not going to lose any that are his own. His intercession preserves them...and us.

VS10-11 -- 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Peter. Oh Peter. All this is going down and he decides to draw his sword and attacks the high priest’s servant. He cuts off his ear. Malchus was the servants name. Historical details are presented here. Most scholars believe the sword would have been more for thrusting than swinging, which means Peter missed his target.

Jesus rebukes him. This is not a cup that Jesus seeks rescue from. He’s going to drink it.

VS12-14 -- 12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

They arrest him. They don’t have a calculated strategy. Jesus is passed from one leader to the next over the next several hours. Caiphas speaks prophetically. He thinks it's good for one man to die to save Israel from Rome, but with Jesus, one man will die to save people from sin.


●  Divinity of Jesus. Jesus goes on his own. He’s in complete control of the whole time. The “I AM” statement is not accidental. Their fear and falling is not unimportant. It was involuntary. Ours should be voluntary.

●  Blinding Nature of Sin. The arresting crowd. They see the power, yet proceed forward to arrest him. Like Pharaoh who hardened his heart. We can be easily deceived if we run with the wrong crowd.

●  Humanity of Christ. He has a regular meeting place with his guys. He was betrayed. It hurts him like it hurts us.

●  Grace of Christ. Jesus heals Malchus’ ear. He didn’t have to, but he did. What kind of testimony did that leave him with? Did he come to faith? Jesus interceded for his disciples. He protected them. Ultimately, he took the cup to drink it.

Betrayal of a king is unthinkable. But a king knowingly allowing himself to be betrayed is unheard of, except for Jesus allowing it to happen for us.

❖  Why did Jesus go to the garden in verse 1?
❖  Why did Judas procure such a large force to arrest Jesus in verse 3?
❖  How do we see the courage of Jesus in verse 4?
❖  Why did they draw back and fall down when Jesus said, “I am he”, in verse 6?
❖  What is the importance of what Jesus did in verses 7-9?
❖  What does Jesus mean about drinking the cup that the Father has given him in verse 11?

❖ Have you ever been betrayed by someone? How did you respond?
❖ There are three main characters in this story. Jesus, Peter, and Judas.
➢ How do you see yourself in Peter and Judas?
➢ How do we see Jesus’ humanity, divinity, and grace in this story?

❖ At this time, Jesus had what would appear to be a lot of success. He had a large following of people who adored him and yet he willingly gave it all up. How do you respond when you experience what looks like success to the world?