Today we find Jesus crossing the Kidron Valley to an Olive Grove to pray with his disciples. Judas knew He’d be there and led the accusers there to arrest Jesus.
Jesus knew this would happen so He stepped forward to ask who they were looking for.
If you notice, Jesus asks lots of questions to get to the heart of the matter. When they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene” Jesus spoke up and said, “I AM he.” Judas by their side, they fell to the ground asking again. When He admitted that He was the one they were looking for and asked them to let the disciples go he fulfilled the statement, “I did not lose a single one of these you have given me.”
God has crossed our paths with souls for us to reach. May we get to the end of our lives and be able to say we were faithful to proclaim the truth to those in our generation.
Big Idea: Jesus is demonstrating in this scene that He is laying down His life for His sheep.
Peter overreacts to all that is happening around him and cuts the the high priest’s slave’s ear off, prompting Jesus to heal him and reminded him of his purpose. They arrested Jesus and took Him to the high pries to be judged.
As prophesied, Peter denies Jesus the first time.
Jesus begins answering their questions with questions to reveal their hearts and the truth. They slapped Him because of His response. Jesus asks if He’s speaking the truth, why is He being beaten?
Side note and backstory: This post has been so hard for me to put into words. It’s the heart of Christianity, so profound yet so simple and I didn’t want to just breeze over the significance of John’s words about his recollection of the crucifixion. It’s both a gut wrenchingly tragic story to read in light of His innocence and our guilt yet a gateway to hope for us as we now know the end of the story.
Many people come to faith after they have read, researched, and the Holy Spirit has revealed Himself to them confirming that Who they have been seeking is the Truth.
Others, like me, literally come to Jesus as little children, both spiritually and mentally. I came to faith just over the edge of double digits. The culture I grew up in had no examples of blood sacrifice apart from me hearing in school of the US soldiers who had died in wars to give me freedom. I was saved during the beginning of the Gulf War, so I was just beginning to see this played out in my own life, soldiers leaving their families, laying down their comfortable and safe lives, to protect us.
Yet still, I could only understand what my young mind could comprehend. I didn’t know of Old Testament sacrifice that pointed to who Jesus would be for you and me. I didn’t know of the Garden of Eden and how the first animal was killed after Adam and Eve sinned, the innocent slain on behalf of the guilty to cover their nakedness and sin. I didn’t know of the first Passover when the Israelites put the blood of an innocent lamb on the door posts of their home so the death angel would pass over. In addition, I didn’t know of the multiple threads of sacrificial blood to atone for sins that led to the One who was prophesied about, The Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:1-8 tells us “The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”
First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”
I was saved by grace through faith in Jesus knowing that He died for my sins. Then the Holy Spirit began to make the scripture come alive to me making my understanding of what Jesus did for you and for me deeper.
I say all of that to say, you don’t have to understand everything about the Bible to come to faith in Him. The knowledge and wisdom of the Lord is inexhaustible. We’ll never be able to wrap our brains around it. But, I do know that taking the first step of faith in Jesus as a child led not only to my salvation ability to go to heaven but He has not left me as I traveled my path on earth growing in grace and knowledge of Him.
On with John’s memories of this world changing day…
As prophesied, Peter denies Jesus a second time.
They take Jesus to Pilate early the next morning. He didn’t want anything to do with the case, but the Jewish leaders wanted Him crucified, “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone.” they reminded him.
Pilate begins to question Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replying with another question. Jesus replies after Pilate’s response telling him His Kingdom is not earthly.
Logically speaking he reminded Pilate that his followers would be fighting to keep Him out of their hands if they were fighting for worldly reasons.
Pilate then says, “So you are a king?” Jesus answers that he was born to testify to the truth. “All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” John 19:22
The question that still plagues our generation arises from Pilate’s mouth, “What is truth?” Then he finds Jesus not guilty before reminding the Jewish leaders that he can release one prisoner as is the custom of Passover season. Pilate thinks they will want to release Jesus, but the crowd chooses Barabbas, a revolutionary. The guilty set free and the innocent convicted.
They then began to abuse Jesus in horrific ways mocking and beating Him, placing a sharp crown of thorns on His head.
Then as prophesied, Peter denies Jesus a third time.
The rooster crows and Jesus is on His way to being crucified for claiming to be the Son of God.
This post today is heavy. It has some things to consider for the believer and the unbeliever. Who do we say Jesus is? What impact does that answer have on the choices we make in everyday life?
God bless you as you mediate on the words of John today.