Tuesday, March 21, 2017

John 18

Last time we read the prayers of Jesus before He was arrested.  This is often called the High Priestly prayer.  He prayed for Himself to be glorified.  He prayed for His disciples.  He prayed for all believers, then and in the future.  He prayed that we glorify Him in all we do and for us to live in unity. 

John 18:1-14 – Jesus Arrested

After He finished praying He and His disciples crossed over the Kidron and entered the Garden of Gethsemane.  Judas knew this place.  Judas went to Gethsemane with a detachment of soldiers (about 600 men) and officials from the chief priests and Pharisees.  They came with torches and weapons.  Luke 22 and Matthew 26 tell us that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss to let the officials know which one to arrest.  Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen.  Dear friend, He knows exactly what is happening in your life, too.  He knows if there is a Judas betraying you.  Remember God has a plan and is always in control.

Jesus was calm and walked right up to them as asked them who they were looking for even though He already knew.  They replied that they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus answered, “I am He.”John 18:5.  Notice here is another “I Am”.  They then fell backwards to the ground.  This showed the power and authority of Jesus.  This is very interesting.  The enemies of God always fall backwards, but the friends of God always fall on their faces.

Jesus didn’t retaliate, but took the initiative and greeted His persecutors.  He commanded the soldiers to let His disciples go because it was Him they wanted.  Jesus was in complete control of His arrest and death.  He was calm.  He was not a tragic victim.  He was the Good Shepherd who willingly laid down His life for His sheep.

How are you choosing to be a victim in your circumstances? 

Peter drew his sword and struck the high priest’s servant cutting off his ear.  Jesus told Peter to put his sword away.  Luke 22 tells us that Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him.  Jesus said, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”John 18:11.  Jesus willing took the cup of God’s wrath for us.  He willing spared us from the punishment we deserve.

Then the soldiers arrested Jesus.  They took Him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the high priest.  Was Jesus powerless at this point?  Of course not!  He is God.  “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more that 12 legions of angels?  But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”Matt. 26:53-54. 

Jesus chose to be arrested and suffer the cross to save us instead of saving Himself.
He was willing and submissive.  He wants the same willing submission for us.  He gave us an example to follow.  As a Christian people will be falsely accuse, hate, and judge
 you.  We are to be more like Jesus by allowing ourselves to suffer and be crucified for doing the right thing instead of lashing out at some false accusations others might bring upon us.  This way you are showing your accusers God’s love for them giving them opportunity for healing.  Just as we were healed by Christ’s wounds, others will be healed by your wounds.  “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”1 Peter 2:23-24

Why would these Jewish leaders reject Jesus as their Messiah and want to kill Him?  They knew the Scriptures and the Old Testament prophesies.  Jesus didn’t fit into the image they had for a Messiah.  They couldn’t see Him as a servant.  They heard His teaching and even saw His miracles.  Their comfortable power and prestige was threatened.  They loved their places of honor.   But they rejected Him and stirred up others against Him.  Jesus knew the root of their problem, which was pride.  Jesus always looks at the heart not outward religious performances.  He exposed their sinful hearts. 

Judas in not mentioned in this gospel again.  We know from other Scriptures that he committed suicide because he realized what he had done, but he never truly repented. 

John 18:15-27 – Peter's Denial

Peter and another disciple followed Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard.  As he was standing around a fire with others to keep warm a girl saw Peter and asked if he was the one who was with Jesus.  He said that he was not.  Peter blatantly denies being a disciple of Jesus.  Remember Jesus had told him before that he would deny Him 3 times before the rooster crows.  How quickly our flesh can change when faced with fear and doubt.

Annas questioned Jesus, which was against Jewish law.  Jesus said He had done nothing in secret and had always done things legally and that he should not be asking Him questions.  Annas' examination failed, but Jesus never had any hope of a just trial.  Then an officer struck Him.  Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas, the high priest.  Everything they did at the trials of Jesus was illegal.

Again while Peter was warming himself, he was asked if he was Jesus’ disciples.  He denied it again.  That’s the 2nd denial Jesus predicted.  Then another challenged Peter and asked if he had seen him in the grove with Jesus.  Peter denied it again.  That’s the 3rd denial.  Then the rooster began to crow.  Luke 22 tells us that Peter suddenly remembered what Jesus' warning.  Then filled with remorse, he went out and wept bitterly.

We see the contrast between Jesus and Peter - Jesus in His strength and Peter in his weakness.  Jesus gained strength through prayer, but Peter along with the other disciple fell asleep instead of praying.  Prayer gives us strength to deal with life issues and hard times.  Jesus wants us to come to Him in all things for guidance and strength.

Still Jesus in His infinite love didn’t forsake Peter.  After the resurrection, He still loved and forgave him.  Those that had heard Jesus prediction also heard of Peter’s failure.  They probably never let him forget.  In Acts 2 we see that through Peter’s message at Pentecost 3,000 were saved.  That’s 1000 for every 3 times he denied Jesus.

We all fail is some way, but our failures are not as well known as Peters.  We’ve all denied Jesus in some way.  We fail to recognize our own weakness and trust in ourselves instead of in the Lord.  We fail to pray as often as we should.  We fail to always depend on the Father.  We fail to fear God more than people.  We can always trust our faithful Savior whenever we fail.

When have you been prone to fail the Lord?
How can you prepare so the next time so you will not fail again?
Do you keep account of the failures of others?  We are to love one another and forgive one another just as Jesus loves and forgives us.

Unlike the self-serving Caiaphas, Jesus is our faithful High Priest.  He sacrificed Himself willing for us.  When we fail, we can draw near to Him to find grace to help in our time of need.

John 18:28-40 – Jesus Questioned

The Jews didn’t have the right of capital punishment so they took Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate.  Pilate had the authority to execute criminals.  The Jewish leaders did not.  It was early morning and the Jews wanted to avoid ceremonial uncleanness so they didn’t enter the palace since they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.  Jewish Law didn’t allow them to enter a Gentile’s house or they would become unclean.  Pilate came out to meet them.

Pilate asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews.  Jesus asked why Pilate had asked this question.  Being a king had different meanings for different people.  The Romans chose themselves to be kings.  A king for Jewish leaders could have meant a leader of their religion – the Messiah.  Jesus didn’t deny that He was a king.  Jesus was not the kind of king Pilate was referring.  He was not a king of a physical county.  He was King over everyone who believed in Him.  He is our King and everyone who obeys Him belongs to His kingdom. 

Jesus told Pilate that He was not the king of this world and that His kingdom was from another place.  Jesus said He was a king and that is why He was born to come into the world to testify to the truth.  Pilate asked what is truth.  Then Pilate went out to the Jews and said he could find no reason to charge Jesus, but it was the custom to release one prisoner at the time of the Passover.  He asked if they wanted to release “the king of the Jews”.  The crowd shouted, “No, not him!  Give us Barabbas!” – John 18:40.

Pilate announced that Jesus was not guilty and was willing to let Him go, but the Jewish leaders refused and wanted Barabbas to go free instead.  Barabbas was a robber and a murderer.  He deserved punishment, but he became free because Jesus took his punishment.  We are all like Barabbas.  We all deserve God’s punishment because of our sins.  Jesus has taken our punishment.  His death has freed us from the results of our sins.

What is the truth?  It is more that what is morally right or wrong.  It means everything that is true about the nature of God and of men.  It is about why we exist.  It is about God’s plans and purpose on our behalf.  Jesus showed this truth to us by His life, death and resurrection.  The Bible says the Word of God is truth and the Spirit of God is truth.

Who have you crucified today?
Who will you forgive today?

Jesus chose to be arrested and suffer the cross to save us instead of saving Himself.
Even when you fail the Lord, He never fails you.
Our choices impact our eternal life and our witness for Christ.

We all have choices to make in this life.  Jesus chose to obey and go voluntarily to His death for us.  He remained in control through it all.  Peter chose to be fear and doubt, but was restored later and repented.  The soldiers chose to have clouded minds and follow false leaders.  Annas chose to put himself above the law and use his power.  He chose not to believe who Jesus was.  Caiaphas chose to bring false witnesses to convict Jesus.  Pilate chose to not to stand up to the Jewish leaders for what was right.  The people chose to be irresponsible and blinded to the truth.  God holds each one of us responsible for our choices.  We either trust or reject Jesus, the Son of God.

Next week we will study John 19.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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