January 9, 2019

John 18

By: Larry Shaffer

John 18

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kindron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priest and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 

Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ He said to them, ‘I am He.’ So, when He said to them, ‘I am He’, they drew back and fell to the ground. 

Therefore, He again asked them, ‘whom do you seek?’ They said to Him, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ I told you that I am He, so if you seek Me, let these go their way.’ 

This chapter contains the betrayal, arrest and trials of Jesus. It’s a chapter of contrasts. It’s a chapter of God’s power, sovereignty and loving sacrifice. It’s also a somber chapter of greed, hatred and betrayal. In spite of the greed, hatred and betrayal, Jesus was in complete control. The deeds of the conspirators produced God’s intended results. Jesus fulfilled His mission, the reason He came to earth. 

I’m sure we’ll spend a few days on this chapter but as an overview, here’s some observations from my initials reading: 

  • Jesus was in charge! The apparent victim isn’t the victim. If you recall, the main overall purpose of John is to validate Jesus as the Son of God and His Deity; that He is God. He knew what was coming and He allowed it. Jesus, knowing all things that were coming upon him, went forth… 18:4. When the soldiers and officers approached Jesus and they said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus said I AM HE. At this response from Jesus, the soldiers and officers fell to the ground. Jesus, who was physically unarmed but clothed with Majesty and Deity, spoke 3 words that drove fully armed soldiers to the ground. The contingency of a Roman cohort and the temple police were made up of somewhere between 200 and 600 soldiers. 
  • Jesus made sure the disciples weren’t arrested. Twice, Jesus asked, whom do you seek? Twice the officers replied, Jesus the Nazarene. Jesus answered and said, I AM HE. Jesus did this to confirm that they were only seeking Him. Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am He; so, if you seek Me, let these go their way,’ to fulfill the word which He spoke. Jesus had been telling them in the upper room He had a mission for them and it didn’t include being arrested and found guilty alongside Jesus. This was Jesus’ mission only. The mission of the disciples will kick into full gear after the resurrection. 
  • Jesus willingly surrendered but He made the point that the proceedings were a sham! First, Jesus was taken before Annas. Annas was a High Priest emeritus, as such. Annas questioned him but a legitimate legal Jewish proceeding would have witnesses. Jesus said, ‘Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.One of the officials then struck Jesus. Jesus answered him, ‘If I Have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?’ He then allowed them to continue their despicable mission. 
  • The Jews needed the Romans to execute Jesus. They couldn’t do it themselves. The Jews didn’t want to judge Jesus according to their process. They just wanted Him executed. Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law. The Jews said to him, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death,’ to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. Jesus said He would die by being lifted up. The cross fulfills this prophecy. The Jewish manner of executing was stoning which was to take one down. 

Jesus, thank you for giving yourself up for our forgiveness. In Your calling and mission upon this earth as a servant of God, You obeyed. May we do the same; Trust and Obey. We rest in your grace and Sovereignty! Amen.