Two points attract and fill our hearts in this passage. First, the perfect willingness with which Christ gives Himself up, the unhesitating way in which He presents Himself to the armed band come out to seek Him, fully knowing what was to befall Him. “Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, I have told you that I am he. If, therefore, ye seek me, let these go their way,” proving that, while He offers Himself, there is a full and perfect deliverance for us. “Of them which thou gavest me, I have lost none.” The Lord presents Himself, that none of us might even be touched with the power of the enemy. It was the same self-devotion on the cross; though here it was the power of Satan, but He had gone through it. When led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, He bound the strong man, and introduced present blessing into the world; but we as men were unable to profit by this, because of a moral inward incapacity to receive the blessing that came. Outwardly it was received in healing diseases, etc., but men had no heart to receive Him. If He turned out the legion of devils from him that was possessed, men turned Him out. The hearts of men in such a condition were glad to get rid of Him; and this shews another and a deeper evil to be remedied —that man morally has departed from God, and that he is himself irremediable—that nothing will do but a new creation: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” Thus here the Lord has not only to conquer Satan, but to underlay man in his moral departure from God. “This is your hour” — “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.”
Satan brings all this darkness and death to bear on the soul of the Lord, his object being to get between His soul and God. So, the more pressed by Satan, the nearer to God He is. Therefore it is said, “being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly”; and in consequence He receives nothing at the hand of Satan, but of His Father. “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Before He left Gethsemane, the whole power of Satan was morally destroyed. He had gone through the hour with His Father, and now takes the cup at the hand of His Father, as an act of obedience. He is now as calm as when doing any other miracle (healing the servant’s ear), as if nothing had happened. It was their hour, and the power of darkness was upon them, not on Him. “Whom seek ye?” —” I am he.” “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground”; but He presents Himself again (as He says in John 14:31: “But that the world may know I love the Father… Arise, let us go hence”) saying, “Whom seek ye? … If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way,” and they were not touched, as a token of the complete deliverance of us all.
At the cross He cries out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? “He went through the hour in Gethsemane, and here drinks the terrible cup. His soul had drunk the cup of wrath, and only one thing remained. He said, “I thirst”: this He said that the scripture might be fulfilled; and crying, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit, he gave up the ghost.” Here we learn the perfect deliverance that has been obtained for us, and that all is perfect light and joy for us. If I look at Satan, I see his power annihilated and destroyed. If I look at wrath, He has drunk it to the dregs. He entered into all the darkness and the wrath of God; but before He went out of the world He had passed through it all, and went out in perfect quiet. The work is so perfectly done, that death is nothing. “His hour being come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father,” He passes out of Satan’s reach, and beyond all wrath, to the Father.
No believer is any longer under the power of Satan. Thus Israel of old, though once under Pharaoh in Egypt; but when delivered he was never under the power of the Canaanite, except when he failed, as we know in the case of Ai; so we may fail too, but we are in that new creation that has passed all the power of Satan and the wrath of God. Do your souls realise the truth that Christ has “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light,” so that our souls are brought into the light as He is in the light? It was not true when He was down here; but now we are brought into the light where there is no darkness at all. May our souls know and enjoy the true and perfect deliverance that is our portion in Him!