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. 3 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Now we shift from the upper room discourse and Jesus’ prayer to the arrest of Jesus by religious leaders (18:1-11). Chapters 18-21 are the closing chapters of the gospel of John.
When Jesus had spoken these words,
“These words” are the words Jesus spoke in the upper room (chapters 13-17; cf. Jn 14:31). He had now finished His farewell statements and prayer for His disciples.
He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron,
The Brook Kidron was east of the wall of Jerusalem and west of the Mount of Olives. It was also a valley or ravine of more than 200 feet that ran from north of Jerusalem and passed the Mount of Olives going south. This “Brook” was a wadi that was dry most of the year. Jesus’ little band proceeded east from Jerusalem to Olives.
where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.
The “garden” was an olive grove where Jesus and His disciples came to bivouac from busy activity in Jerusalem. No one is sure of the exact location of the garden today. We can know that the general vicinity was the southern end of the Mount of Olives.
And Judas, who betrayed [who was betraying] Him,
Judas betrayed Jesus for money.
also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.
Judas knew where Jesus and His disciples would customarily go for privacy from the crowd. He had been there himself several times. He knew it was common for the Lord’s group to meet in the garden on the Mount of Olives (Jn 8:1; Lu 21:37).
Then Judas, having received a detachment [cohort] of troops, and officers from the chief priests
Judas as a guide led two groups fully armed directly to Jesus (Lu 22:47): (1) Roman soldiers and (2) Jewish chief priests and their temple police.
Roman soldiers were in this group with Judas. A “detachment” was about 600 men. It may be that not all the 600 hundred came but a representative number from them. This cohort of soldiers came from the fortress of Antonio on the north-west corner of the temple area.
The “chief priests” were leading members of the priesthood. They were responsible for the operation of the temple. The chief priests had their own detachment of troops of temple police. The latter group was under the control of the Sanhedrin.
The Pharisees were lay experts in interpretation of biblical law and legal issues.
came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
A religious goon squad came to arrest Jesus by military force. Judas betrayed Jesus to this group with a kiss (Mt 26:48, 49). They carried lights just in case Jesus and His disciples hid themselves.
There are those in all ages who will commit infamy against Christ.
There are those today within the sacred circle of believers who betray Christ by unbelief. As Judas audaciously lost his scruples, so do people today. It is possible to be close to Christ without that having impact on one’s life. It is possible to sit in church and never become a Christian.