I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” ESV
And when he had spoken these words, the clock by which he lived his days tolled midnight for his soul and he arose immediately. The days of “the hour is not yet, my time has not come” were over. Now was the hour at hand. Now was the moment when the cup was delivered into his hands. In this place, as the moments of his Passion begin, he prays that love would remain in them. He knows that darkness can rob a person of love, that tonight the hearts of many would grow cold, and they would betray each other-unto death.
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. John 18:1 ESV
To my casual glance this is just sensory details, setting the scenes to come in place and environment, but the wind of the Spirit blows around these words and I am drawn to enter the setting. Why here? Why this place?
Because it is family property. It is a familiar place of suffering in the lineage of our Lord. David, King of Israel crossed here, barefoot ,weeping and running like a criminal from his own son. Tears streaming from his eyes, his heart aching with betrayal and loss wondering if he will ever see Jerusalem again he crosses this brook to the Mount of Olives.
Now, The Son of David, crosses this same brook as the full moon of Passover shines upon him. He too has been betrayed, about to be led from Jerusalem. He turns his face to this crossing over as the battle to drink the cup the Father has prepared begins. Deep anguish will pierce his soul, but there is not a company to weep with him. He is alone. His companions are asleep. Above him on the Mount of Olives are two cedar trees, under which according to the historian Westcott, four shops are located where the sale of objects legally pure, and enough pigeons for the sacrifices of all Israel would put coins in the priests pockets. He writes:
“Even the mention of Kidron by the secondary and popular name of ‘the ravine of the cedars’ may contain an allusion to a scandal felt as a grievous burden at the time when the priests gained wealth by the sale of victims by the two cedars.”
The Lamb of God sold for thirty pieces of silver prostrates himself before the King of Heaven for the eternal profit of all who would believe in him. When the blood has spilled upon the ground and his will is weaned and quiet, He rises to the sound of the approaching mob, and declares his identity with all the authority of son-ship. “IAM HE”! The soldiers fall to the ground and the Lamb gives himself into their hands.
I leave this passage with questions. How do I view those who accuse my standing before God? Do I see them as instruments in the hands of a loving Father crafting in me the quality of son-ship? Or do I like Peter, grab for swords and begin to violently swing at ears, and eyes and noses? Worse yet, do I shrink back from the direct inquiry of my life, denying such close proximity to the radical God made flesh, who threatens every establishment that hinders perfect love?
Oh Father. Keep me steady as I face my own Kidron. Hold me close to the cross, let me not be ashamed of the sufferings of Christ, but rather may I glory in my bonds. May I say with zeal and truth in the inward man: I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…and the life I now live…I live by FAITH, in the Son of Man.