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  • Writer's pictureShaun Nestor

All the Authority in the World

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

It had been only a few days since Jesus entered Jerusalem with his followers for the Passover. Riding in a donkey with palm branches and cloaks laid out before Him, Jesus was given the entrance of a king, much to the chagrin of religious and political leaders.

Now, it’s Passover. Jesus had just wrapped up celebrating the Passover meal with his closest friends, his apostles, in an upper room in the city. Little did anyone understand the significance of the moment, as the one leading them through the occasion, honoring the Israelites’ use of lambs’ blood to be “passed over” the plague of the firstborn in Egypt, was about to become the sacrificial lamb to end all others.

After the meal, Jesus got up and went to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden had become a quiet place for Jesus, one that he and his apostles knew well. All of a sudden, however, the peaceful garden became a raucous scene as a mob of leading priests, Pharisees, Temple guards, and even Roman soldiers converged on the scene with the sole intention of arresting Jesus. Most surprising was the person who seemed to be guiding them: Judas, one of the twelve apostles.

Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.

“Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied.

“I AM he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “I am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

“I told you that I AM he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”

Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”

John 18:4-11 NLT

Just a few hours before, Jesus took on the humble state of a servant, washing the feet of his disciples. Gentle, lowly, almost meek in appearance. And here we are, hours later, with Him speaking with such authority that His very words are making armed guards and soldiers fall to the ground!

It wasn’t just any words that Jesus said that sparked such a response, however. When Jesus said “I AM,” he was using the sacred name of God dating back to Exodus 3:14: Yahweh. Jesus not only spoke but claimed the name of God with so much authority that the soldiers were taken aback!

Authority. That word alone describes Jesus throughout this entire interaction. Jesus wasn’t surprised by Judas’ betrayal or his sudden arrest at the hands of the religious leaders and the Romans, He had been predicting these to happen for a while now! 

And yet, knowing that these would take place, Jesus chose, hours before, to wash Judas’ feet. He chose to go to the Garden knowing what was waiting for Him. And, despite Simon Peter’s best efforts, He chose to surrender peacefully.

He made the choice. He could have walked away at any point. Remember, this is the same Jesus that, when his hometown of Nazareth came together to push Him over a cliff, He walked right through the crowd and went on His way (Luke 4:28-30). He has the power and authority to do so.

But in the ultimate display of His authority, Jesus, the great “I AM”, gave Himself up as the ultimate sacrificial lamb. He chose to drink the cup of suffering that was prepared for Him. So we wouldn’t have to.

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