“Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.’”
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Instead of keeping watch and praying while Jesus was so distressed that He was sweating blood, the disciples went to sleep. When Jesus finds them sleeping, He tells them to “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” However, the disciples, unaware of the fact that this will be the last time they are with Jesus before His crucifixion, fall back to sleep. So Jesus comes to the disciples a third time to wake them, “And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’”
Then Peter, now fully awake, jumps into action and cuts off the right ear of the high priest’s servant. Peter still doesn’t understand that Jesus must die in order for him and anyone else who believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior to be redeemed and restored to the Lord. So Jesus tells Peter, “‘Permit even this.’ And He touched the ear of the servant and healed him.” Then Jesus tells them that He could pray to His father, the Lord, and He would provide Him with more than twelve legions of angels to help Him. However, Jesus is obedient and He willingly goes with them in order to fulfill Scripture and God’s plan for salvation.
Remember, after the fall in the garden, God promised Adam and Eve that He would send a Savior who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). As a picture of this promise, God killed an innocent animal and covered Adam and Eve with its skin, illustrating that it is the shedding of the blood of the innocent that atones for the sins of the guilty (Genesis 3:21). Jesus Christ has come as that final Sacrificial Lamb, to shed His innocent blood on behalf of us, guilty sinners, serving the first blow to Satan by defeating death. The final crushing of the serpent will come upon Jesus’ return, when He will ultimately cast him into a lake of fire for eternity.
So Jesus is taken off to the first of a six part trial, three in a religious court and three before a Roman court. The trials show the level of hatred for Jesus by the religious leaders as they break many of their own laws in an attempt to destroy Him – “And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.”
“And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside.” Many believe that the other disciple was John. However, when Peter is brought in, the servant girl who kept the door asks if Peter is one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter responds, “I am not.” This is the first of three times Peter will deny Jesus.
We end the reading with the Annas questioning Jesus about His disciples and His teachings. Jesus responds, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.” Then Jesus is struck by an officer for speaking truth, and He is bound and sent to Caiaphas, the high priest.
Tomorrow the unlawful trials continue and Peter continues to deny Jesus. Keep reading. (John 18:1-2, Mark 14:32-42, Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46, Mark 14:43-52, Matthew 26:47-56, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:3-24)