This is the account of Jesus’ arrest in the Gospel of St. John. It is so moving that the scene is a garden and it is Jesus who takes His disciples there. The text indicates that this is a familiar place where Jesus often met with His disciples. It is recorded that Judas “knew the place” since He too had been with Jesus there probably many times before but in this instance Judas is “standing with those” who are coming to arrest Jesus.
Initially, the setting is one of peace and intimacy between Jesus and His disciples. It brings to remembrance the first garden, Eden, where God put Adam and Eve and had fellowship and conversed freely with them. But like the Fall, man’s rebellion damaged the relationship. So too at the arrest.
The contrasts are startling. Jesus’ betrayer and enemies approach with weapons. They bring torches and lanterns because of the darkness of the night (also figuratively) to arrest the Light of the world. Jesus goes to them in peace and with intentionality presents Himself for arrest. The Scripture says, [He] “went out to meet them.” This statement reveals such a deep truth: Jesus always comes to meet us. His question, ‘Whom do you seek/Who is it you want?’ transcends this moment in time and is the question all must answer. In response, they demand ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and Jesus states that “I am He.” Scripture records that “they drew back and fell to the ground” when Jesus said to them, “I am He.” With Jesus affirmation of who He is, the great I am, the only response is to be ‘bowed down’. He has all Authority, Power and Glory. Jesus’ protects His disciples and asks the soldiers to “let these men go their way.” In His love, He has kept them safe. He declares that this is a fulfillment of Scripture in that He has lost none whom the Father has given Him. The word “given” is used again when Jesus rebukes Peter for using his sword in retaliation. Jesus tells Peter, “the cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?” Jesus’ will is one with the Father – He came to be the Saviour of the world, our Redeemer.