18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. 2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.
The Passover meal has ended. All conversation and teaching that followed the meal is over. In reality the public ministry of Jesus is ended. Nothing will ever be as it was again. There are so many Bible events where the crossing of water marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. Rivers and bodies of water of other shapes and configurations of mark borders and divide lands and peoples.
Moses led the nation across a sea to mark their freedom and separation from Egypt. Joshua led them across Jordan into the Promised Land. Perhaps most fitting in relation to this night is when Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan. Elijah had mentored Elisha to take over his role as prophet and now Elijah is leaving. The last leg of the journey before Elijah was taken up was passing over the river. Now Jesus leads His eleven across the water marking the end of one era and the beginning of another. Here the 'mantle' passes from Jesus to them. The Teacher is leaving.
Did the disciples understand the significance of what was happening? No but they knew something ominous was about to happen. Their responses to Jesus' words following meal indicate that they are very uneasy and confused by Jesus. He's acting strange and talking in riddles that don't have them feeling warm and fuzzy to say the least.
They cross the water and enter the garden of Gethsemane. This too is reminiscent of an Old Testament story. Judas is heading toward the same garden with the authorities. How did he know where to come? How did he know where Jesus would be?
In the book of Daniel there is a story of betrayal with intent to murder. Daniel is a loyal adviser and high ranking official of King Darius. His counterparts are jealous of him and they hatch a plan to get rid of him. The plan is specifically designed around Daniel's prayer life. They know He is a man of prayer. When the hour of prayer comes for Daniel they know exactly where to find him. Every morning and every evening you could mark time by Daniel's opening window. He never missed. He never skipped. He was never late. He never changed location. Like the rising and setting of the sun Daniel was always found in the same place at the same time for the same reason day after day after day. His enemies knew it and they used it to trap him.
Of course like Jesus, Daniel was not trapped. He knew what they were doing. He knew the trap they had set. He knew they would come. He knelt in the same spot at the same time anyway.
John tells us plainly that Judas knew where to find Jesus because Judas knew His pattern. Jesus came here often, frequently, habitually. When in Jerusalem this was the place of prayer and Jesus never skipped it. He never missed it. He was known by those who knew Him to be in that place at that time for the purpose of prayer.
What is my point? There are two things that struck me profoundly about this. The first is the thought that above everything else Daniel and Jesus were known by their prayer life. Am I? Would those who know me best know where and when to find me? Am I so in love with My Father that I wouldn't miss our times together for anything? Do others know that about me? Could my enemies even plan to intercept me at my place and time of prayer?
Secondly both Daniel and Jesus knew their enemies were coming. The law of survival would dictate that it would be wise to at least change locations. They could have prayed somewhere else and even at a different time to avoid detection. Certainly there is nothing mandated about where or even when we pray. Why did they stay the course? Why did they purposely put themselves in the line of fire? A skeptic would say that what they did was just plain stupid. Was it?
We will explore that and more tomorrow.