How do you read the story of Jesus' arrest? There are two ways of reading it--the hopeless way and the hopeful way.
1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.
This was the most terrifying time for Jesus' followers. Their Messiah was betrayed by their mate and arrested by the religious leaders who are trying everything they could to kill him!
Everything went 'wrong'. This was definitely not meant to happen. It's absolute horror and hopelessness to those who experienced it...
But in reality, from a perspective of another world, actually everything was exactly what God had planned to accomplish the most important mission in the universe. It just didn't look like it to the human eye. You can see it from human perspectives or heaven perspectives. Only God can open our eyes to see with heaven perspectives.
It seemed Judas was in control, but Jesus was.
Jesus asked twice,
“Who is it you want?”
"Jesus of Nazareth." They answered... just a man, they thought.
---the very name God gave Himself to Moses (Exodus 3). All those who heard it drew back and fell to the ground. No one could stand in front of God unless God allows it. Well, those who thought they 'had' Jesus had no idea who they were asking for. v.8-9 "...If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This fulfilled what he had said, “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” God would accomplish what He said He would accomplish---salvation for the world. No human plan could stand in the way. Human plans could only cooperate with God. It was God who had orchestrated all the unfolding of the events from the beginning.
How does God's plan and human plan intertwine with each other in history and in your life? How and why did both Judas and Peter fail to recognize God's role in the event? "Who is it you want?" If Jesus asks you today, how will you answer? Why do you think the author chose to include the name of the high priest's servant and which ear was cut off?
How were Peter's emotions linked to his focus on prayers earlier and understanding of the event? Why did God allow Jesus' friends to go through such horror? Think of terrifying and hopeless events in your life. What could be God's role in them when they unfolded? Could there be a different heaven's perspectives on what happened?