Jesus and His three closest disciples are together in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus has just finished pouring His heart out before His Father. Peter, James and John have now been awakened for the second time by Jesus. Jesus is actually in the middle of His sentence when a new group enters the garden.
We all know who this group is and who is leading them. It is the temple guards and the Roman soldiers come to arrest Jesus, being led by none other than one of Jesus’ own disciples; Judas.
We have looked at this scene twice already. In Matthew we walked in the shoes of those present at the time the Kiss of Death was delivered. In Mark’s account we looked at several elements of that that occurred when they seized Him. Today I want to look at the expectations of those involved.
There were so many expectations and assumptions present that night. Judas thought he set the tone of the night and held all the cards. Judas expected Jesus to be surprised and to offer resistance. Why else would he have come out with armed men? Why else would he have thought it necessary to use subterfuge? His plan was to catch Jesus off guard and to quickly subdue Him.
Peter, James and John were the ones surprised instead. They had all heard Jesus’ predictions all night, but they failed to take them seriously. Peter took Jesus’ warnings a little more seriously, otherwise he wouldn’t have been wearing a sword. Peter thought he was prepared for what lay ahead.
The guards thought they knew what would happen. They had arrested people many times and there were only a few variations on how things proceeded. Most of the time the person would try to resist, but the soldiers quickly showed them how useless that was. Never before had someone so willingly allowed themselves to be taken. Protocol would dictate the bindings anyway.
Once the scene is underway, Jesus does something even more unexpected. He stops ALL resistance in its tracks. Jesus tells Peter to put his sword away. Then He healed the man Peter attacked! This was not the acts of a criminal or a desperate man.
No one except Jesus had their expectations fulfilled in the garden. Yes, Jesus went with the guards, but not how they thought He would. He offered no resistance or harsh words. Judas surely expected some kind of reaction from Jesus at his “surprise.” Peter expected a life and death battle. The mob expected to encounter resistance, maybe even from Jesus’ disciples. What could have been a very bloody confrontation resulted in a quiet whisper instead.
What strikes me most is Satan’s expectations. He thought he was taking Jesus by surprise and going to come out victorious. He thought he was going to have to fight tooth and nail for his “victory” but Jesus just lay down and let him win. “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (verse 53).
God blew everyone’s expectations out of the water when He ALLOWED all of this to happen. God ALLOWED this to be Satan’s “hour.” Reminds me of when you are playing tug of war and one side stops resisting all of a sudden. The other team appears to win for a second but instead winds up flat on their backs instead. Not much longer and that is exactly what will happen to Satan.
Father God, You had EVERYTHING in control. Even though the circumstances didn’t line up with the participants’ expectations, nothing got away from You even for a moment. You are still in control today, even when I can’t see it. You just reminded me of a song about how You work in ways I don’t understand. You often bring me blessings through tears. Thank You that You know what it takes to bring me what is Your PERFECT plan.