It is a story full of ironies. There are so many incongruities between what one might have expected to happen when Jesus was arrested and what actually occurred. Why do you think that Judas came with a detachment of soldiers – that is between 200 and 600 men? Jesus was in a garden with His eleven disciples. Why did officials from the religious world plus some Pharisees need to be there? Jesus had never used His power to rebel against them. Why were the military representatives looking for simply “Jesus the Nazarene”, when they could have called Him so many other disrespectful names or given him sarcastic titles?
The other three Gospels give us some additional insights into Judas’ part in the arrest, but John is the only one who describes for his readers another amazing and ironic detail. No matter where Jesus was or how He was being treated, His glory and His love could not be hidden. When He spoke the name by which God had revealed Himself since the time of Moses, I AM , (Exodus 3: 14), the angry men fell to the ground. One cannot help but wonder in those moments, what was it about Jesus that caused them to bow down. While he willingly submitted to those who bound Him and took Him to the authorities, He had just one request – “let these men go”. Even in those moments, Jesus love and concern for His disciples knew no limit.
They found who they were looking for – Jesus the Nazarene, but in finding and pursuing their agenda to have him tried, condemned, and crucified, they were simply cooperating with the plan that God put in place long before that night. Just a short time before His arrest, the disciples had heard Jesus pray to His Father, “Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.” (John 17: 1 – 5)