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John55 – Democracy wins

Jesus, having said these things, came out with his disciples beyond the winter-flowing-torrent of the Kidron, where there is a garden into which he himself and his disciples came in. (John 18: 1)
We’re entering the closing pages of John’s eye-witness biography of Jesus, written around AD 90. The year is AD 30, the place Jerusalem. It’s Jewish “Passover” time (now “Easter”) when they celebrated the anniversary of the release from slavery in Egypt of their ancestors around BC 1350. This included the crossing of the Red Sea.

The words above show that John was recalling that parallel Passover event. Jesus brings himself and his disciples “beyond the winter-flowing-torrent of the Kidron” (Kidron, translated, means ‘dark’) and into “a garden”. A reminder of the long-lost Garden of Eden? Is that the plan?   

In fact Judas also, the one giving him over, had discerned the place, because Jesus often gathered there with his disciples. So Judas, receiving the cohort and, from the chief priests and from the Pharisees, officials, is coming there with torches and oil-lamps and implements. 

Judas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and the one who gave him over to death, knew “the place” – knew this earthly “garden”. He (and his company) had other ideas about who was to be in charge of this “garden”. The Roman authority has given him a “cohort” (usually 600 soldiers). The religious “chief priests” and political “Pharisees” had backed him with a company of their own “officials”. A majority party in the garden that night.

Judas and those behind him also had other ideas about securing their future “garden”.  It would not contain Jesus. It would be achieved “with torches and oil lamps and implements”.Humankind without Jesus needs light and power.

So Jesus, discerning all the things coming upon him, came out and he states to them, “Who are you seeking?” They answered him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He states to them, “I am.” 

Yes, John carefully records that Jesus knows all – and he wants to proceed with their plans to be rid of him. The company consensus gave the name of the destructive criminal as “Jesus of Nazareth” which means “YHWH is salvation, the separated one”. YHWH is the Hebrew title for the LORD God and translates as, ‘I am who I am’. 

Jesus replies, “I am”.

In fact, Judas had also stood, the one giving him over, with them. So when he said to them, “I am,” they came away into the back and fell groundward. So he asked them again, “Who are you seeking?” In fact, they themselves said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus answered, “I said to you that I am; so, if you seek me, leave these go,” - in order that the word that he said might be fulfilled that: “those whom you have given to me—I destroyed not one of them.” 

It seems that, initially, Judas did not take the lead. But, as soon as Jesus said “I am”, the company fell back behind him – to the ground. Jesus gives the company a second opportunity themselves to speak his name, (see above)“I am who I am is salvation, the separated one”. He repeats “I am.” Then comes a third repeat, “I am” and he then requests the release of his disciples. They are not to be “destroyed” as part of his destruction. An hour or so ago he had stated that openly in his prayer to his father (John53). 

So Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the chief priest and cut off his right ear. In fact, the name of the slave was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath! The cup that the father has given me—may I not drink it?” 

Simon Peter, the bravest of Jesus’ disciples, decides to act instead of running away. His sword does the exact opposite of the good which Jesus is about to do for others. It damages the hearing apparatus of a man who was only there as “a slave of the chief priest”. Swords that damage others are not for Jesus who wants to “drink the cup which the father has given” him to drink.  

So the cohort and the chief-over-a-thousand and the officials of the Jews took over Jesus and tied him up, and brought him first to Annas, because he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was chief priest that same year. In fact it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it profits one man to die on behalf of the laity. 

The company “took over Jesus”. And "the garden". In charge is a model leader. 10x10x10 is a huge majority in our garden today..

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