dark torrent | John 18.1-4
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. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward. John 18:1-4 | ESV
His prayer offered, Jesus took a deep breath and, along with his disciples, made his way out across the Kidron Valley (“dark torrent”), and reaching a garden spot he and his disciples entered in. Judas, the sell out, had known about the spot too, because Jesus was no stranger to it. Frequently he and his disciples had sought solace and solitude there. And so, armed with a detachment of soldiers along with temple police from the religious elite and the religious purists, Judas arrives on the scene – a crowd with lights, torches and weapons drawn. Jesus, knowing exactly what all this meant – knowing the weight of events now landing on his shoulders – stepped out of the shadows to meet them. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
On a Friday, Jesus died on a cross.
When we think of Jesus’ reputation in our day as a great teacher and exemplary human being, an obvious question comes to mind: How did this happen? Why did this Jesus die? How did this man – meek and mild, blesser of little children, friend of sinners – end up being executed as an enemy of the state? It turns out that Friday is the day of mixed motives, odd alliances, secret meetings, cynical PR ploys, political intrigue, and explosive emotions. Somehow Jesus’ death is central to his story in an unusual way. If you read the biography of any great person, even if their death was a prominent story (for example, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr.), it will be only a tiny part of that biography. But within a few decades of Jesus’ life, four biographies were written about him, and the story of his death takes up a disproportionate amount (about one-third) of each one of these biographies.
Why did Jesus die?
~ John Ortberg Who Is This Man?
The final part of John’s Gospel. The final plunge. What has been traditionally been called the “Passion” of Jesus. Quite appropriately, Jesus crosses the Kidron Valley as a geographical transition to the Passion narrative. Dark Torrent. An empty, barren valley that could become a sudden, raging torrent during the rainy season.
And the storm comes.
How would you answer the question, “Why did Jesus die?”
Lord, prepare my heart for the story of your Passion. Help me to see it, to hear it, to feel it afresh. Help me to see you and your great act of love through renewed eyes, and do a deep work in me through it. Amen.