Jesus and His Dark Night! Part 2



Passion -4


TITLE: Jesus and His Dark Night!

TEXT: Matthew 26:47-68; John 18:1-14, 19-24

TONE: Somber


TASK: To exhort my listeners toward justice, mercy, and forgiveness in the face human injustice.

TEACH: Amber Guyger, a former police officer, mistakenly entered the apartment of Botham Jean, an unarmed Black man, in Dallas, Texas, in 2018 and fatally shot him, believing he was an intruder in her own apartment. During Guyger’s trial, Botham Jean’s brother, Brandy Jean, publicly forgave Guyger for killing his brother and even hugged her in the courtroom. Brandt Jean’s act of forgiveness and compassion towards his brother’s killer touched the hearts of many and demonstrated the transformative power of forgiveness and mercy. Despite the terrible tragedy, Brandt Jean chose to extend grace and forgiveness to Guyger.

TRUTH: The arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane exemplifies that themes of betrayal, faithfulness, sacrifice and divine sovereignty. It serves as a profound moment of trial and confrontation, ultimately leading to the most significant and transformative event in Christian faith. Here we see the mercy and forgiveness of Christ.


In the narrative of Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, several key themes are vividly portrayed.


I.                             The Arrest

a.        Betrayal: The moment when Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss in the garden is a stark example of betrayal by one of Jesus’ closest followers. This act underscores the reality of human betrayal and the pain that it can cause, especially when it comes from someone trusted and considered a friend. Consider the following acts of betrayal by Judas:

                                                                                             i.         Judas came up to Jesus, saying “greetings, Rabbi!” In the ancient world, there were certain protocols that were observed in the rabbi-student relationship, and these rules were disobeyed. One such rule was this: if ever a rabbi met one of his students on the street, the rabbi was to speak first, because the student was not above his master.[1]


                                                                                          ii.         Judas made show of affection by kissing Jesus. It is from this episode that we get the expression “the kiss of death” by which someone’s recommendation or praise for another actually works to a person’s destruction. The heroes of Christendom have often been killed by arrows in their backs, struck down by those least suspected.[2]


b.        Faithfulness: Amidst the chaos of His arrest, Jesus displays unwavering faithfulness to God’s will. He prays for strength and acceptance of the difficult path that lies before Him, demonstrating a profound trust in God’s purpose even in times of trial.


c.        Sacrifice: Jesus’ willingness to submit to his arrest and eventual crucifixion is the ultimate act of sacrifice. He willingly lays down his life for the sake of humanity, enduring unjust treatment and excruciating pain out of love and a desire to reconcile humanity with God.


d.        Divine Sovereignty: Throughout the narrative Jesus’ arrest, there is a sense of divine sovereignty at work. Jesus acknowledges that his arrest is part of God’s overarching plan of redemption for humanity, fulfilling prophecies and paving the way for the ultimate surrender to God’s will underscores the belief in God’s ultimate authority and control over all circumstances.


Next, we will see the contrast between human injustice and divine righteousness, foreshadowing the profound significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s redemptive plan.


II.                         The Jewish Trial

a.        The human injustice in the trial of Jesus. As you can see there was manipulation and bias in the legal proceedings. There was a lack of valid evidence and fairness in the trial. We clearly see self-interest and power plays.


b.        Later Jewish texts strictly forbade many of the procedures described in the Gospels.


                                                                                             i.         The trial was held at night and in the home of the high priest (rather than in the official court of the Sanhedrin).

                                                                                          ii.         The trial was held on the Passover, and trials were forbidden on the Sabbath and feast days.

                                                                                       iii.         The testimony of the witnesses did not agree, whereas the law demanded scrupulous agreement among witnesses.

                                                                                       iv.         The sentence of death followed immediately after the proceeding, whereas later law demanded that a period must intervene.[3]


c.        The trial was carried out in three phases: (1) Jesus before Annas: he focused on Jesus disciples and teachings. (2) Jesus before the Sanhedrin at night: Alleged threats against the temple. (3) Jesus before the Sanhedrin in morning: here they pronounced the sentence of death.


d.        The divine righteousness of Jesus in His trial. First, we see His unwavering commitment to His divine calling and mission. Second, we see the demonstration of sacrificial love and forgiveness in the face of betrayal and false accusations. Third, we see Christ commitment to the cross and the glory of God.


III.                      The Significance in Redemptive History

a.        The trial serves as a symbol of human sinfulness and the need for divine redemption. Through this unjust trial, we are confronted with our own capacity for corruption, self-interest, and disregard for justice. It highlights the need for divine intervention and redemption to overcome the sinful tendencies that afflict humanity.


b.        Jesus’ submission to unjust judgment paved the way for reconciliation and redemption. Despite being subjected to a trial fraught with bias, false accusations and manipulation, Jesus chose to submit to the unjust judgment of His accusers. His humble acceptance of this unjust treatment as a profound demonstration of His sacrificial love and obedience to the will of God.


c.        The ultimate defeat of sin and death through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. The trial of Jesus culminated in His sacrificial death on the cross, where He bore the weight of humanity’s sin and suffering. Through His death and subsequent resurrection, Jesus achieved the ultimate victory over sin and death, fulfilling the redemptive plan of God.


TAKE-AWAY: We ought to commit our lives to living out the principles of justice, mercy, and forgiveness exemplified by Jesus in our daily actions and interactions.


Justice: means upholding righteousness, upholding moral and ethical standards in all aspects of life, ensuring that individuals act with integrity, honesty, and fairness. It means defending the oppressed, marginalized and most vulnerable in our society. It means seeking restoration and reconciliation: restoring relationships.


Mercy: Is rooted in the idea of showing kindness and compassion towards others, even when they may not deserve it, and grace as reflection of God’s own mercy toward humanity. This involves having a heart that is willing to help and support others, showing empathy and understanding in difficult situations.


Forgiveness: Forgiveness is a conscious and deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment, anger, or vengeance towards someone who has wronged you. It involves letting go of negative emotions and thoughts associated with the offense of choosing to move forward without holding onto grudges or seeking retribution. Forgiveness does not necessarily means condoning or excusing the wrongdoing; instead, it is about freeing oneself from the burden of carrying negative emotions and allowing healing to take place.



[1] R.C. Sproul, An Expositional Commentary: Matthew (Sanford, Ligonier Ministries, 2019), 713.


[2] Ibid., 713.


[3] William F. Cook, Jesus’s Final Week (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2022), 95.


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