Who’s in Charge?

Posted: February 8, 2016 in John, Uncategorized

John 18:1-11, “Who’s in Charge?”

There are some times we look around & just wonder “who’s in charge here?”  We look at Congress & the mess it’s in & wonder.  We look at kindergarten classes, and wonder.  (Sometimes the kindergartners are better behaved!)  Sometimes we just get plain confused.  One person might say he/she is in charge, when the reality is starkly different.

We might say something similar about the night Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.  On one hand, it might have appeared as if Judas & the soldiers were in charge when they came to arrest Jesus – but on the other hand, it soon becomes clear that they most certainly were not.  Jesus was there, and Jesus had all authority, just like He always did.  Jesus was in charge, fully in control of the situation, even when no one else understood what was going on.

The key for the disciples (like all of us) was to trust that Jesus actually was in control, instead of taking things into their own hands.  The Son of God knew what He was doing, and He full authority over the whole thing.

John 18:1–11

  • Arriving to be arrested (1-3)

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. 2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.

  • John sets the scene.  Jesus had completed His farewell discourse to the disciples.  Judas had left shortly after the Passover dinner, but Jesus had much to say to His true disciples while Judas was gone.  He had prepared them for this very moment.  Although their later reaction makes it apparent that they didn’t truly understand much of what Jesus said to them that night, there wasn’t anything more Jesus could have said to better prepare them for what He was about to endure.  He had said it all: He would be leaving, but He would come back for them.  In the meantime, another Helper (the Holy Spirit) would come and give them everything they needed to continue the work.  Jesus prayed for their unity and protection, and for all of those who would believe through their word.  And then…it was time.  Three years had gone by in a flash, and it was time to fulfill the prophecies and the plan of God.  That’s when Jesus purposefully went to the place where He knew He would be betrayed.  It’s His purposeful intention in all of this that becomes readily apparent – after all, Jesus went to a place that Judas “knew.”  Jesus went to a place where Judas could easily find them (likely a place where the group often camped when visiting Jerusalem).  Jesus wasn’t trying to hide.  He could have easily have hid Himself from the soldiers, just as He had hidden Himself many other times in the past from unruly mobs.  But this time, Jesus wasn’t trying to hide.  The time for the plan of God to be fulfilled had come to pass, and Jesus intentionally walked straight into it.  Right from the beginning, Jesus shows Himself to be in charge…something that is emphasized throughout this passage.
  • Where did Jesus go?  John identifies the place only as a “garden” past the “Brook Kidron.” (Guzik) “This small stream was the drainage from the temple, and would be reddish from the blood of thousands of Passover lambs. This would have been a vivid reminder to Jesus of His soon sacrifice.”  It is the testimony of the Synoptic gospels that tell us it is the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt & Mk) upon the Mount of Olives (Lk).  Why did John describe the same place differently?  Remember that John was writing at a different time to a different audience.  By the time John wrote his gospel, the Romans had destroyed the temple & ruined the city of Jerusalem.  John himself was likely in Ephesus, without many people who were familiar with the way Jerusalem used to be, nor with the local familiarity with names.  No matter what happened to the city, the brook (really a valley) would still be there, and it was probably the easiest way to describe it.
  • The actual location upon the Mount of Olives actually makes a prophetic tie between the life of Jesus and the life of David.  When David’s son Absalom usurped the throne away from his father, David crossed the Brook Kidron, and it was after he crossed that he learned of a betrayal against himself (by his former advisor Ahithophel – 2 Sam 15:23,31).  Likewise, the Son of David finds his own betrayal after crossing the brook, while on the mount. And it will be to that mountain that He returns in glory, splitting it in two as He sets foot upon the earth once more. (Zech 14:4)

3 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

  • The whole picture here is rather curious.  Were these Romans soldiers, or the temple guard?  Many scholars have interpreted this to be a group of Romans…and a large one at that.  The word John uses for “troops” is not actually a native Greek word, but a Latin term that was incorporated into Greek, typically referring to a specific Roman contingent of 600 soldiers.  Estimates from these scholars range from 200 to the full 600…which seems like an awfully large group to go arrest one man in the middle of the night.  That kind of movement from the Romans in the middle of the night on Passover would have attracted a huge amount of unwanted attention from the citizens of Jerusalem.  Of course, we’ve got to rely on more than just the individual word from Latin, for John gives us a more detailed description that the group was sent by “chief priests and Pharisees,” and was seemingly under the charge of Judas, who “received” them.  Granted, Judas may have acted more as a guide than anything else, but it seems unusual for such a large group of Roman soldiers to be granted to the Jewish priests…especially when the priests had their own temple guard.  Interestingly enough, none of the Synoptics mention the Romans, each of them speaking only of a multitude that came from the chief priests & elders.
  • Perhaps it’s best to conclude that Jesus was arrested by a group that was more mob than military.  There were indeed soldiers, but they were likely the temple police – and yes, a large group was present…so large, that John borrows a term from the Roman army to describe them.  Considering that each of the gospels show Jesus first among the Jews & later delivered to the Romans, it only makes sense that the Jewish guard first arrested Him & later transferred custody.  Either way, the Romans would have been informed of the action, or else there may have been a conflict between the Jews & Romans.  Most likely, there was a mixture of people.  The bottom line: people showed up to arrest Jesus. J
  • The other description from John certainly seems to reflect mob-like conditions.  They had “lanterns, torches, and weapons” (like the scene from Shrek, “Grab your torches & pitchforks!”).  Considering Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem, this was really over-the-top.  Granted, mobs had earlier tried to take Jesus & were unsuccessful, so perhaps they were trying to prepare themselves for anything.  But not once had Jesus ever shown a tendency towards violence.  The disciples were mostly fishermen; not warriors.  Judas may have known of the two swords among them (Lk 22:38), but these soldiers arrived with a show of overwhelming force.  Why did they have all of these weapons?  Intimidation.  They were trying to shut down the apostles before they even thought of responding (although it obviously didn’t work with Peter!). 
    • The devil wants to intimidate you.  Don’t let him!  There are times the enemy speaks to us sweetly in whispers for temptation, but there are other times he tries to shut us down through intimidation. “You can’t do that…you’re too weak.  Don’t you remember how many times you failed?  Who are you to think that God would use you?”  If there are two things we can be absolutely sure of when it comes to the devil, it is this: (1) he’s a liar, and (2) he’s defeated.  When the devil comes at you with intimidating force, remember that you serve the God who is infinitely more powerful than he!  Don’t listen to the lies of the devil; rely on the sure promises of the word of God.
  • Arresting Almighty God (4-7)

4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”

  • Jesus wasn’t intimidated in the slightest.  He knew exactly what was happening, and handled it with calm authority.  First, His authority is shown in His knowledge.  John makes a point to write that Jesus knew “all things that would come upon Him.”  Jesus knew.  He knew this event & He knew everything yet to come.  Although fully human, Jesus is still fully divine.  He had known of this day since before the foundation of the world.  God the Father and God the Son had planned this out perfectly from eternity past.  His knowledge put Him fully in control.  Neither Judas, the soldiers, nor the apostles knew what might unfold in the next few moments (which is why the soldiers & mob arrived with so many weapons), but Jesus knew…and thus He knew how to handle it.
    • Practically speaking, the more we know, the better off we are.  We certainly don’t arrive in any situation with divine omniscience (that belongs solely to God), but we do arrive knowing the omniscient God!  We know the One who knows all things.  When our trust is in Him, we can approach even the worst circumstances with calm & in peace.  In fact, this is one of the reasons we’re supposed to pray.  Instead of being anxious, pray (as Paul writes) “with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)  Do you want peace in the midst of chaos?  Pray!  Put your trust in the One who knows all things & who is in authority over all things.
  • In John’s description of Jesus’ arrest, John writes nothing of Jesus’ anguished prayer in the garden, nor of the kiss of betrayal from Judas.  The other three gospels described that fully, and John obviously didn’t feel the need to duplicate it.  Yet he does add to it.  The Synoptic gospels describe the soldiers coming upon the group of disciples suddenly (remember they were falling asleep as Jesus prayed).  They were taken by surprise, but Jesus wasn’t.  Again, Jesus knew all of these things – Jesus is omniscient & it is impossible to surprise an all-knowing God!  Even at the moment of His arrest, John makes a point to show Jesus in His deity & His authority.
  • Second, Jesus’ authority is shown in His action.  Notice that Jesus “went forward.”  He went to them; He didn’t wait for them to approach Him.  After Judas laid his traitorous kiss upon Jesus, Jesus willingly approached the mob.  He was completely proactive; not reactive & thus He remained in control of the whole situation.  Any one of us may have panicked, but the Son of God never has a reason to panic!
  • Not only did Jesus go forward, but He also asked a question: “Whom are you seeking?”  That might bring up a question of our own: didn’t He know?  John already declared that Jesus knew all things.  Jesus had spent the better part of the night telling His disciples of His soon arrest, and had personally released Judas to go do his deed of evil.  Why did Jesus ask the question?  Answer: Jesus wasn’t seeking information for Himself; He was getting the soldier to admit what they were doing.  At this point, Jesus had two goals: (1) to submit to the will of God – which is something He always did, but would specifically fulfill over the course of the next many hours. (2) Protect the disciples.  By asking the question, Jesus got the soldier to admit that they had come for Him; not for anyone else.  This becomes evident later in vs. 8.

5 They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.

  • Jesus had asked a simple question, and He received a simple answer.  The soldiers (mob, whoever) did not exaggerate or give Jesus any titles (deserved or otherwise).  They stated His name & hometown & nothing else.  Remember that Jesus’ home of Nazareth was a stumbling block for many people – follower & Pharisee alike.  When the disciple Nathaniel first heard of Jesus from his friend Philip, he wondered how anything good could come out of Nazareth (Jn 1:46).  Likewise, the Pharisees criticized Nicodemus for giving the benefit of the doubt to Jesus, for in their opinion no prophet ever came from Galilee where Nazareth was located (Jn 7:52).  (FYI, they were woefully incorrect. At the minimum, Elijah, Jonah, and Nahum all came from Galilee.)  To those in Jerusalem, Nazareth was the backwater.  To associate Jesus with Nazareth was to emphasize that He was nothing special.  Although associating someone with their hometown was common (“Jesus” was a common name, after all. “~Joshua”), Jesus was known in all sorts of ways.  This group sent by the priests asked for Jesus very specifically.  They didn’t ask for “Jesus the rabbi,” or “Jesus the prophet,” or even “Jesus son of Joseph,”…they wanted “Jesus of Nazareth” because they didn’t want Him known as the Messiah, “Jesus, son of David.”
    • The world still wants to downplay Jesus’ identity, but they cannot change who He is.  He is the Risen Son of God, and one day everyone will see Him as such!
    • Remember that God purposefully gave Jesus this background, in order that He might come from all humility.  It’s not your background that determines your worth; it’s your Heavenly Father.
  • Jesus’ answer is short, but it is anything except simple!  Third, Jesus’ authority is shown in His name.  Most English bibles record Jesus saying “I am He,” but that’s not really the full picture.  Literally, Jesus only said “I am,” (Ἐγώ εἰμι) – the same words Jesus used every other time that He associated Himself with Almighty God.  To be sure, the translation seen in English bibles is accurate.  The specific pronoun “he” is not grammatically required to be present in this circumstance & other people answering a similar question might use exactly the same wording as Jesus did, without any theological implication.  That being said, we cannot forget John’s usage of the phrase.  Anytime John shows Jesus saying “I am,” (Ἐγώ εἰμι), it is always purposeful, with an eye to Him asserting Himself as Almighty God.  When Jesus said “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:35), it was Ἐγώ εἰμι – I AM.  When He said “I am the door of the sheep,” (Jn 10:7), it was Ἐγώ εἰμι – I AM.  When He said “before Abraham was, I AM,” (Jn 8:58), it was Ἐγώ εἰμι – I AM.  Every single time Jesus purposefully associated Himself with the God of Israel – the One who revealed Himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai in the burning bush as I AM, Jesus used the exact words.  Jesus is making a point with His name – something that is dramatically demonstrated in vs. 6.
    • Our Jesus has all authority because He is Almighty God!  He claims to be such, and demonstrated it to be so when He rose from the dead.  There is no other prophet – no other religious teacher – no other human in history like our Jesus, the Almighty I AM!
  • Before we get to the results of Jesus’ name, there’s one other side note about Judas.  He was standing with the soldiers.  John may not have described the kiss, but there’s no doubt where Judas’ loyalties lay.  He chose his side, and it in opposition to the Lord Jesus.  When it comes to Jesus, everyone picks a side…choose yours wisely.  

6 Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

  • If there was any doubt that Jesus references the divine name of God, at this point it ought to be removed.  Fourth, Jesus’ authority is shown in His power.  As soon as Jesus says the words “I AM,” this group of soldiers – this mob of men – they all stumble and fall to the ground.  Jesus’ use of the divine name carried with it divine power.  That’s the only logical explanation for the fall of the soldiers.  Some have suggested that the soldiers were simply surprised at Jesus’ forthrightness & His calm way of handling things.  That’s just silly.  Whether Romans or Jews (or a combination), these were men ready for battle.  They were armed to the teeth prepared to shed blood.  And yet they were so badly startled by Jesus’ approach that they fell over?  That’s ridiculous.  They wouldn’t have been bowled over by a word…not unless that word had power.  And it did!
    • There is power in the word of Jesus!  Revelation 19:13–15a, "(13) He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (14) And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. (15) Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations."  What do we know to be the sword of the Spirit?  The word of God (Eph 6:17).  Although in the revelation, John could be describing a literal sword coming from the mouth of Jesus, it’s more likely a symbolic description of His word.  Jesus comes back to earth, facing the armies of Antichrist, speaks a single word & the battle is over.  The battle of Armageddon isn’t a long-drawn out war; it’s over in an instant the very moment Jesus shows up & speaks.  There is power in His word!  God spoke & the world came into existence.  God will speak again, and it will be remade.  That is true power!
    • Do you believe it?  Whether or not we have faith, there is power in the word of God.  But we never experience the positive aspects of that power unless we appropriate the word of God by faith.  How else do we receive the peace that passes understanding, unless we believe God’s promise that He gives it when we pray?  How else do we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, unless we believe the Bible’s command to us to ask to be continually filled?  God gives promise after promise in His word, and the believer in Jesus could experience so much if he/she only believed!  We’ve already experienced the power of the word of God when we believed upon Jesus through the gospel.  How much more could we experience in our day-to-day life?
  • Question: if Jesus demonstrated such divine power when simply speaking His name, could He not have freed Himself at any moment?  Of course…and that’s the point.  He didn’t.  Jesus had all power to be exercised at all time.  At any moment, He could have called down a legion of angels (vastly outnumbering the soldiers) to deliver Him.  He could have called fire from heaven to consume them.  He could have blinked them out of existence.  But He didn’t.  He willingly submitted Himself to the will of God, and allowed Himself to be arrested.
    • What an impact this would have made upon the mob & soldiers!  For the rest of their lives, they would have known that it wasn’t their strength that took Jesus; the word of Jesus had more strength than their entire army.  Who knows if any of these actually came to faith later on, after Jesus was resurrected from the dead?  Surely they of all people would have expected some great show of power from this Jesus of Nazareth!
    • BTW – if all who stood against Jesus fell, who fell with them?  Judas. Every knee will bow!
  • FYI – This is the only example in the Bible which even comes close to the charismatic experience of being “slain in the spirit.”  Nowhere in the Bible to worshippers of God simply fall backwards & become unconscious.  Many time people fall upon their face in active worship of the Living God, but never backwards & fainting.  The example of the soldiers here doesn’t even truly fit the description because they are enemies of Jesus; not worshippers.  They fall backwards, overwhelmed by the name of Jesus as they oppose Him; not because they came to worship Jesus & He pushed them back.  Be careful of extra-Biblical practices when it comes to worship.  However we worship God, we need to do so based upon solid doctrine.

7 Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

  • The soldiers were knocked over the first time Jesus asked the question, so He graciously gave them another opportunity. J  He again asks them whom they sought, and they gave the same answer.  This time (as far as John tells us) they remained standing.
  • Why did Jesus ask the second time?  It confirmed His reason for asking the first time.  See vs. 8…
  • Acquiescing to the arrest (8-11)

8 Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” 9 that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

  • By getting the mob of soldiers to admit that they had come only for Him, He took away any excuse they may have had to arrest anyone else.  Despite their previous fall, Jesus was not resisting arrest – they just lacked the ability to arrest Him without His express permission.  Thus, He simultaneously gives Himself over to the will of God & protects His disciples, exactly as He desired to do all along.
  • In the process, Jesus fulfills His own word “which He spoke,” treated by John as if it were the fulfillment of prophecy.  And it was!  When God speaks, it is prophetic by definition.  Jesus fulfilling His word is the fulfillment of prophecy.  Earlier that evening, Jesus prayed that His disciples would be protected, and rightfully claimed that He had lost none with the exception of Judas (the son of perdition) in order that other prophecy might be fulfilled (Jn 17:12).  Over the course of the night & His crucifixion the next day, the gospel writers repeatedly show fulfillment of prophecy.  Everything that was supposed to happen to the Messiah did happen to the Messiah.  In the midst of what appeared to be chaos, God was in control the entire time.
  • BTW – as Jesus made the point in His earlier prayer, He always protects His own.  Contextually, Jesus here seemed to speak of their physical protection, but ultimately (as seen in His prayer), He spoke of their spiritual protection.  Not a one of them would fall away from the faith.  Peter would have his time of stumbling (shown later in Ch 18), but not even he would be forever lost.  When Jesus saves us, we are truly saved.  As our faith is in Him, it is His work that keeps us; not our own.  Our work fails; Jesus’ work saves.
  • Ultimately, it is the work of Jesus that is on display.  Here He is, giving Himself over to the soldiers on the disciples’ behalf.  The disciples could go free because Jesus would go to His death.  Herein is the gospel!  WE can go free because Jesus went to His death.  There was only one innocent Man in the garden that night: Jesus.  The Romans, the Jews, the disciples – all of them deserved what it was that Jesus was about to endure.  Yet Jesus put forth Himself as our substitution, and He did it willingly, out of love for us.  He sacrificed Himself, in order that we might live.
    • Have you believed?  The men in the garden weren’t the only ones who deserved death at the cross – it was you & me as well.  Jesus is the only innocent Man in all humanity.  He alone lived without sin – the rest of us have sinned every day since we were born.  Can you honestly claim a single day in your life that you have not lived according to some form of selfishness?  We cannot go a day – how much more a lifetime?  Each and every sin carries with it the sentence of death.  We of all people are desperate for a substitute for our sin!  Jesus is it!  He IS our substitute, having willingly placed Himself upon the cross for you & for me.  Believe upon Him & be saved!
    • If you believe, do you hold fast to Him?  Our salvation is not in us; it’s in Jesus.  It’s not in our works or abilities; it’s in Jesus.  He saves us; He keeps us.
  • Thus far, Jesus has demonstrated His divine authority over the whole ordeal.  He was the One who led the disciples out to this place of arrest, knowing that He would be arrested.  He was the One who calmly took control of the situation.  He was the One whose very name leveled the soldiers to their knees.  He was the One who orchestrated the release of His disciples.  And then Peter almost screwed the whole thing up…

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

  • This whole incident is interesting.  Things to this point are tense, but calm, and that’s when Peter rises up in an act of pseudo-bravery, taking a wild swing at those who came to arrest Jesus.  Earlier that night, Peter promised that he was ready to lay down his life for Jesus (Jn 13:37), and he was true to his word…he was just wildly ineffective in the process.  Out of the two swords among the apostles, Peter takes one & wildly hacks at the slave of the high priest.  He doesn’t go after the soldiers – he doesn’t even go after Judas – he seemingly takes a random swing at the first person he sees, who happens to be a relatively innocent bystander to the whole mess.  The other gospels imply that the disciples were sleeping when the arresting party arrived, so it’s possible that Peter was still drowsy – but there’s no doubt that he wasn’t thinking.  What was he going to do – take on the whole mob?  Whether Roman soldier or Jewish guard, these men were trained to fight & Peter was not.  There were 11 disciples against a whole multitude of people, perhaps numbering in the hundreds.  Peter had a short sword (maybe even a dagger), and the soldiers carried all sorts of weapons. Of course if Peter was acting in a heart of faith, he would have known that Jesus alone outnumbered & out-powered them all, but it was obvious Peter wasn’t acting in faith; he was acting in his flesh.  Jesus had already allowed the situation to occur, and Peter was acting contrary to the will of God.  On the surface, it may have appeared to have been a last gasp of bravery; in reality it was an act of sin.
    • This is a classic contrast between the work of man & the work of God – between flesh and faith.  When we try to please God through our flesh, we’re always going to come up short.  What’s the flesh?  We know something is of the flesh when it is more reflective of the ways of the world & our culture than the things of God.  We know it’s of the flesh when it satisfies our temporary lusts rather than selflessly seeking God’s glory.  And of course we know it is of the flesh when it directly contradicts the word of God.  Peter’s act failed on all counts.  Peter was thinking more of himself than of Jesus, and that was the problem.  If he had thought of Jesus, then he would have been listening to Jesus, submitting to the will of Jesus.  Instead, Peter thought his own will was better, and he ended up endangering the whole group & almost killed a man.
  • The real bravery here is not Peter; it’s Jesus.  Jesus stopped Peter in his tracks, and healed the ear of the slave (Lk 22:51).  Jesus was willing to follow the will of His Father, no matter what the consequence.  He knew it would entail drinking the cup of suffering offered to Him by God, but He was willing to do it.  That was the very reason He had come!  When Peter fought against the soldiers, he wasn’t just endangering the other disciples; he was jeopardizing the eternal plan of God for salvation!  If a battle had broken out & Jesus died in the garden, then He wouldn’t have gone to the cross – He wouldn’t have been a sacrifice for sin.  Even if Jesus had lived & others died, then the prophecies of protecting His disciples would have failed, and He would have been a liar & a false prophet.  Peter didn’t have a clue what he was doing when he reacted blindly in his flesh (nor do we).
  • But Jesus did stop Peter, and in the process He demonstrated His authority not only over those who came to arrest Him, but over His own disciples as well.  Jesus had authority over the entire situation.  There was absolutely nothing that could overturn the will of God; Jesus made sure of it. Whether it is those knowingly opposed to God, or those who unwittingly do so, God’s plan will never be undone.  Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth!
    • How much comfort this ought to give us as believers!  Not only does Jesus have authority over the enemy; Jesus has authority over us.  That means He can even protect us from ourselves.  (And some of us need that protection more than others!)  Obviously, Jesus doesn’t guard us from every mistake or sinful choice – sometimes He allows us to experience the consequence of our actions.  But other times He does protect us, and it’s obvious that He does.  How much He has saved us from, however, we might never know.
    • Jesus always has authority in every circumstance.  Our world might turn upside down, but our Lord never does.  He is steady in an unsteady world.  He guides us, protects us, and loves us through it all.  Trials and tragedies are no obstacle for Him; He is able to turn every one for His good in the lives of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  We serve a sovereign God!
  • BTW – Although the incident is recorded in all four gospels, John adds something unique: the names.  This provides a bit more proof as to the lateness of date that John wrote his gospel.  For the other writers, a surviving Peter may have still have faced danger for this act of impetuousness.  Although the other writers don’t hesitate to show Peter’s failings, they are careful not to implicate him with this.  John names names – for both Peter & the slave.  Most likely, Peter had died & it was now safe to share the whole story.  Whatever happened to Malchus is unknown – but considering his specific mention by John, it’s not improbable that he later came to faith & was known by the church.  It’ll be interesting to get to heaven and learn the “rest of the story.”

Who’s in charge?  Jesus is!  Jesus had authority over His enemies, and He had authority over His disciples.  He demonstrated His authority by His knowledge, His action, His name, and His power.  This was no ordinary Man or ordinary arrest.  This was Almighty God allowing Himself to be delivered into the hands of men.  Yet all those men (even the one who betrayed Him) would eventually bow their knee, recognizing the inherent authority of the Son of God.

Do you have faith in the authority of Jesus?  Whether by His written word, spoken promise, or innate person, do you know & trust the authority of Jesus, the I AM?  How important it is for us to remember!  It is so easy for us to look around at the world & get lost.  We see suffering & injustice & evil & weakness & we start to believe in the randomness of it all.  We start to believe the fiction that we are the random result of a combination of stardust, that just happened to come together at the right time & circumstance.  Not so!  We are men and women created in the image of God, and though fallen, we have the opportunity to be brought into relationship with the Living God.  That’s what the sacrifice of Jesus was all about: reconciling us back to our God, through the love of God, all by the authority of God.

Trust in His authority!  Don’t get mixed up about who or what is in control.  GOD is in control.  The same God who loves you & sent His Son to die for you upon the cross is the God who planned the existence of the universe, planned our salvation from sin, and plans to come back one day and restore all things to His glory.  Trust God & His word!  Trust His plan & His authority.


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