John 18:1-5
John 18:1 (KJB)
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Now begins the time of the sacrifice of Jesus. They now moved to the Garden of Gethsemane and it was probably around midnight when they arrived at the Garden. Gethsemane was at the base of the Mount of Olives. The brook Cedron was between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. They did not go into the garden to hide from the approaching captors but for the purpose of beginning the time of the glorification of Jesus. It is interesting to note that man fell into sin in a garden and here the King of Kings is ready to be taken from a garden to sacrifice His life for those He came to save.
John 18:2 (KJB)
And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
Resorted - Gather or meet together
Thither - To that place
Since Judas was with the Lord for three years, he would have known that Jesus would go there with His disciples as they did in times past. Maybe Jesus, at the beginning of their Passover meal, stated that after it was over they would go to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus probably thought that this would be a safer place for the disciples when they came to get Him. Since it was prophesied that the sheep would scatter, it made a better escape plan for the disciples. In a few verses, Jesus was going to perform another miracle showing His captors that He was in charge of this situation and not them. This could not have been performed if it was in a large room.
John 18:3 (KJB)
Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
Band - Cohort
Now Judas had arrived with a band of men. Now the word in the Greek for band may also be understood as cohort. A cohort consisted of anywhere from 600 to 1,000 men. Now the verse is not stating that the Romans were involved at this point because it states that the band of men came from the chief priests and Pharisees. Now there may have been some Roman soldiers present since they were occupying the area and the Jews would not want to do anything without the knowledge of the Romans or else it could look like sedition since they were carrying weapons and torches. It does seem that this was a large group which came to arrest Jesus. They were probably the temple guards which were all dispatched for this task.
John 18:4 (KJB)
Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
Jesus having total and complete knowledge of what was about to happen went forth from the little band of disciples and posed the question to them, “Whom seek ye?” He asked that question so it would divert attention from the disciples to Him. He did not shy away from this band but met them head on. This shows that Jesus went voluntarily and did not have to be dragged.
John 18:5 (KJB)
They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
When Jesus had posed the question as to who they were looking for, they responded in a degrading manner. They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” If you recall Nazareth was a small town which did not have a great reputation. (John 1:46 KJV) And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Nathanael, at the beginning, even had disparaging remarks against Nazareth. Judas was now earning his blood money because he led them right to the place where Jesus would be. In response to them, notice what Jesus said to them, “I am he.” In the Greek, the words “I am” are all that Jesus spoke, so the Jews would have known exactly what He was referring to. He would be claiming to be deity, the great I Am of Sinai. Blasphemy was one thing they tried to accuse Him of because of His claim to be deity and that He was sent from His Father. The next verse shows the import of the response of Jesus.