It was Charles Spurgeon who shared that Judas proves the futility of knowledge apart from sincerity, and that familiarity with the sacred can still produce a traitor. Just before Judas would betray Christ with a kiss, the Gospel of John records, “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it” (John 18:1).
It is Passover at this time in the gospel story, when Jesus would be crucified. (The term “Easter” is applied to this week much later in history.) As John Rushdoony noted, at times there would be up to a quarter of a million people celebrating Passover in Jerusalem. That was a lot of sacrifices made in the Temple. Sacrifices whose blood was applied to the altar, symbolic of the sin of the worshiper being transferred to a substitute lamb, a lamb that was a shadow of Christ. The blood from the sacrifices needed to be washed out of the Temple, so the Judeans had made a watering system that cleansed the blood from the Temple floor. The blood and water mixed as the floor was watered down, another shadow picture of the sacrifice of Christ as John records, “One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:34).
The Kidron Valley where Jesus crossed over to be arrested by 600 soldiers had quite a history. King David crossed this valley as he left Jerusalem to avoid a deadly showdown with his son. Second Kings 23:4 records another king returning to God and ordering that the occult idols be destroyed and then tossed into this same valley, along with the ashes from demonic sacrifices to Baal. In essence, over the years the Kidron Valley became a place of refuse and garbage. Yet, John records a seemingly insignificant geographical reference when he says Jesus crossed this valley.
As stated above, a quarter million sacrifices created a lot of blood. The water washed the blood from the Temple floor, which then flowed into a ravine, and the blood and water then poured into the Kidron Valley. If you were there on Passover, you would have seen the blood and water flowing into the valley. When Jesus crossed this same area he would have seen the blood and water from the sacrifices as well, an indication of his upcoming death.
He crossed the Kidron, the place of refuse and garbage, of blood and water, of the remains and ashes of sacrifices, for you and me, the be the sacrifice, to enter into the dark and dirty places of the world to rescue people who were blind and lost. He crossed the Kidron to enter into our lives as the one whose blood would be shed to cleanse the world from sin, so that people no longer had to live in the valley of death.
Don’t miss the significance of this valley, whose name means “dark”, the very place that the Lamb would voluntarily walk through on our behalf. Be sure to read more about the Kidron at the Cleveland Library (and in Robert Balaicius’ commentary), then join us at Akron First to learn more about the Savior who is still resurrecting lives and making beauty out of the ashes.