Sovereign Lord, I open myself to the leading of Your Spirit as I read and study Your Word today.
Read John 18:1-18
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). Amazing words from the man who denied Jesus.
Being let down by a friend is nothing compared with the deep and fatal betrayal by a close confidant that Jesus experienced in Gethsemane. Betrayal, as countless biographies tell us, is a deep shock to anyone’s system. Yet for all the shock it must have been, Jesus seems in control while his accuser and the arrest party move at his command. Look how active Jesus is.
Jesus moves into position for the betrayal to a place well known to Judas (1-3). He makes no attempt to hide or escape. Jesus knows the awful nature of what is about to unfold (4). He is not taken by surprise. God’s plan was moving swiftly to its resolution. Jesus instigates his betrayal, going out to confront his captors rather than waiting for them to approach him (4). Jesus reveals his identity as the one they were searching for, and does not disguise himself (5). In saying, “I am he,” words laden with divine overtones (Exod. 3:13-15; Isa. 43:10-13), he caused his captors to “draw back and [fall] to the ground” (6). Next, Jesus commands the soldiers to release the others in the garden, since they had come only for him (8). Jesus cares for the safety of his followers not wishing to lose any except Judas (9). Then, Jesus restrains his hot-headed disciple, Peter, who lashes out with his sword. In doing so, he not only prevents a skirmish from erupting but tries belatedly to teach Peter the need for his suffering. Luke tells us that Jesus healed Malchus, whom Peter had wounded (Luke 22:51). Only then did the soldiers take charge, arrest him and take him to Annas, where the sequence of unjust trials began.
What dignity! What strength of character! What control! What authority was his, even in betrayal! This was no ordinary man.
In a world of vacillating and failing leaders, contemplate the strength and rock-solid security of Jesus of Nazareth.
Father God, it is true that I stand on Christ, my solid rock. Empower me to stand strong for You, as the storms of life and culture assail me.
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