Gospel of John [18:1-2]. Gethsemane, part 2.
length: 63:15 - taught on Mar, 11 2015
Title: Gospel of John [18:1-2]. Gethsemane, part 2.
JOH 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, into which He Himself entered, and His disciples.
JOH 18:2 Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place; for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.
The Garden of Gethsemane:
/Gethsemane = oil press. Our Lord will face His ultimate pressure.\
Our Lord will now be thrust into the full power of the Jewish religious leaders as well as the Roman command. He will be displayed before His people as their King and they will demand that He be crucified and that they have no king but Caesar.
He has already communicated to the disciples the prophecy that the sheep would scatter and leave Him. In fact, the college of the apostles was broken up and the bond of the apostles would not be restored until after His resurrection and appearance to them. It would take several appearances from the Lord in order to finally bring all eleven of them together in Galilee and from there He will send them right back to Jerusalem. As the Father sent Him into the world He would send them and He would build His church from the coming of the Holy Spirit.
/In the Garden we have most prominently the actions of Jesus, Judas, and Peter. \
The Lord spoke to Peter individually before this:
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. " \
Perhaps He didn't address him as Peter here since in this Peter would not be a rock. When he recovers he will be on his way to being the rock of the early church in Jerusalem.
/As with Job Satan needed permission and it was granted him. The sifting that Satan desired was to remove Peter's love of the Lord.\
/We see that Satan had the same in mind for Job.
"But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face."\
Satan has rejected God and hates God and so it would seem that he hates to see creatures honor and adore God. He desires that kind of worship for himself.
/And he has witnessed his own failure to tempt and destroy spiritual people who have continued to love the Lord in spite of their failures.
'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.'\
Despite his many failures David realized that God's goodness and mercy pursued him throughout his life and so he was convinced that the Lord was his Shepherd who would always provide for him and always be with him. He revered the Lord.
And so Satan attempts to destroy the love that we have for our Lord and our Father.
/The love of God is vital in successfully living the Christian way of life.\
1JO 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
1JO 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1JO 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
1JO 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1JO 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1JO 4:12 No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
It is no wonder that Satan attempts to destroy this love.
/In Peter's case he attempted to use a failure that he knew was in Peter but Peter did not. It was Peter's ignorance of this weakness that gave it its potency. When you think you're something that you're not your fall will be greater and harder.\
In Job's case Satan removed all his material blessings as well as his children whom he loved and cherished. He allowed his shallow wife to remain so she could taunt and tempt Job. This failed, but Satan persisted, if we assume it was he who was behind the miserable so-called comfort of Job's three friends. In this test it was the removal of God's material blessings, tragedy, and being judged as being at fault when he was not. The combined pressure caused him to crack.
/Why did the Lord foretell to Peter the nature of his failure? The Lord wanted Peter to know that He already knew all about it and that Peter was still fully accepted and that he would recover.\
God comforts us in the same way.
1JO 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1JO 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1JO 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1JO 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
1JO 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
This grace is given, no so we can rejoice in our freedom to sin, but so that we will recover from our sins in grace and press on in the love and worship or our Lord.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?\
You are weak and that's the end of it.
"The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
"I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds. \
Where will you be stricken again,
As you continue in your rebellion?
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart is faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing sound in it,
Only bruises, welts, and raw wounds,
Not pressed out or bandaged,
Nor softened with oil. \
We have a hard time letting go of our pride and we don't want to admit to ourselves that there are many things in this life that we are too weak to handle at this time. You just have to admit it to yourself and to God your Father. You don’t have to admit any weaknesses to people.
We have power when God's power through wisdom and the Holy Spirit are working through us. Only in that which the Lord has granted us can we find power for use within us. To trust or to rely on the flesh is to only find weakness.
"Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
"For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.\
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
"For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit. \
This shows us that we have to learn to trust the Lord before the heat and the drought come. Peter did to a certain extent which the only way he got through this at all, but he lacked trust when the weakness he was ignorant of came crashing down on him, but through the Lord's gracious warning, the Lord's prayer for Him, and the Lord's visit to him after the resurrection, Peter recovered.
This is exactly what Satan wanted to turn Peter into.
/After his monumental failure, which the church is still talking about 2,000 years later, Satan had hoped that Peter would get on a flesh improvement program and so become a slave to him rather than his Lord.\
Peter said that he was willing to go to both prison and death for the Lord. Likely this was on his mind when the Roman soldiers and temple guard laid hands on Jesus and Peter leapt into action with his sword. This took guts. Malchus was the leader of the temple guard and he was surrounded by seasoned killers in the Roman cohort.
He likely remembered the Lord's foretelling of his failure when after he first ran from the garden with the others. He turned back and with John followed the Lord at a distance, ending up at the palace of the high priest where Jesus was being tried. Satan chose to wait for this moment to spring his trap. While the Lord was being exposed to an illegal trial and inquiry just feet away Peter was trapped within a courtyard filled with curious onlookers who were festively celebrating the feast. Sure it was late, but the temple gates opened at midnight and so many were up and about and when the commotion began and word got around some of the festive revelers came to check out what would happen. The poor carpenter from Nazareth who some said claimed to be the Messiah and performed miracles was arrested. This was juicy and sensational. "Say, didn't I see you in the garden with Him?"
I think it's important to again reiterate that Satan did not motivate his minions to arrest Peter or to try him as they did the Lord. We know that the Lord stated that they should be let go and only He be taken, and that may be the reason, but it would seem to me that an arrest or a trial of Peter would have only fed his strengths. Satan had a better plan for destroying Peter's love for His Lord.
/Peter had abundant courage to sally out but not to stand out. This why Peter is in the most danger on this night. \
In this way Peter is actually most like Judas in their primal elements, but thankfully different in their development. Judas the zealot was great at rushing to do the so-called brave thing for the zealots in their push for Jewish nationalism. But Judas had no courage to stand out on his own and stand against the popular opinion that he adopted. Peter is the same, yet as a believer. This is why Peter is in the most danger on this night.
Our Lord's prayer for Peter is worth noting. He prays that his faith may not fail. He didn't ask for something new to be given to him or for the trial to be removed from Peter.
/ He didn't ask for something new to be given to him or for the trial to be removed from Peter. Divine grace presupposes, not supersedes, human liberty. \
This explains why the Lord prayed for Peter and not Judas. In one case there is faith that can be strengthened but in the other there is no faith. The Lord cannot pray for someone to have faith, that demands free will, but He can pray for the faith we have not to fail.
Then He adds a significant commission: when you have recovered, strengthen your brethren. And this Peter did fulfill greatly.
This the first fulfillment of His prayer:
JOH 17:15 "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
/This is not done through any outward process but from within, by the preservation of their faith as well as our own. \
The fruit of the Spirit is within and does not depend on outward circumstances or other people. Adversity is inevitable but loss of love, joy, and peace is optional.
This shows us that our sin, ignorant or willful, does not imply the failure of our faith. It can bring us closer to losing faith and hurling us headlong into reversionism, but when we consistently recover our sin does not imply failure in faith.