John 18:1-11 The Highest Call to Life is to Lay it Down
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, 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 received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So 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.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 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?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 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, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:1-11
In this episode, Jesus lays down His life and hands Himself over to the enemy. The enemy has never succeeded even in numerous occasions to lay hold of Jesus because He does not permit it. Jesus who has all authority given to Him by the Father, lays down His life willingly is a true display of godliness. Here, the disciples witness Jesus’s humility and what a righteous person must stand for. Perhaps, this is what which gives each of them courage to become martyrs themselves.
1. So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him went forth… Jesus knows what will transpire from this point on. The Father has revealed to him the things that will happen including the denial of Peter, and that none of His disciples will be lost and they will continue to fulfill their calling. He knows what great suffering will befall before His resurrection and glorification.
2. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. The enemy consisting of the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees fall to the ground upon hearing Jesus’ confession. What cause such a dramatic and immediate reaction? The glory and holiness of Jesus strike fear and awe in the agents of darkness. They are taken aback by Jesus’ fearless confrontation of evil; His moral high ground, His love and divinity that overcome their darkness.
3. “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” Jesus’s actions reveals His resolve not to lose anyone that the Father has given to Him. Jesus guards His disciples by regenerating their hearts with truths which protect them from the darkness; the hypocrisy, love of money, power and pride. He guards them from temptations that they cannot bear. Jesus could have come to the garden alone to face His enemies. However, He deliberately expose the disciples to the enemy so that they can grow and learn from this encounter.
4. “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it.” Jesus obeys the Father despite injustice and betrayal. For Jesus, obedience to the Father ranks far higher than personal rights. Because Jesus loves the Father more than His personal rights, God exalts Him above all names.
1. God reveals all thing to those He trusts. The Father reveals all things to Jesus and kept nothing from Him: So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth. Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.” Jesus said to His disciples, “but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15). For those who love to do the Father’s will and who are faithful to His work, He reveals to them all things that concern their future and calling. Hence, as believers we must be found steadfast and trustworthy before God and men. We must beware of the things that may detract us from the Father’s business. Let us then ask the question: What is the Father’s business?
a. To raise up our children according to the values system of God. So that they may put the worship of God and His work as the priority of their lives. So that they may know their place and calling in the Kingdom and fulfill it.
b. To be a light to our organization and a channel of blessing to our community. In other words, bring God’s Kingdom to our workplace, our family and community. God’s Kingdom consist of its blessings, peace and righteous value system.
c. To evangelize the community and to build up the local church. The local church cannot function unless its members contribute and sustain it using their time and finances. The church ministers to and disciples its members, helping them grow up in the maturity of Christ.
2. It is in the nature of agents of darkness to fear the agents of light. The agents of light need not fear if they have not done anything wrong for God will protect them. Psalm 37:28 says, “For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die.” The wicked takes advantage of the righteous but they fear their eventual retribution. Proverbs 10:24 says, “What the wicked fears will come upon him. But the desire of the righteous will be granted.”
3. Only what God has given will sustain to the end. The 5000 that Jesus gathered when He fed them with bread did not stay and Jesus said to them, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” (John 6:44). Jesus chose the twelve, but Judas wasn’t meant to be; it wasn’t one that the Father has given to Jesus. Even as we endeavor in our career and ministry to gather and to build, unless the Father gives and protects, nothing can remain. Having said that, God will use whatever that He has given to accomplish His work.
4. The true test of faith is to give thanks and to obey even when things don’t go our way. Obedience and giving of thanks is proof of our trust in God’s wisdom that all things will work out in the best possible way in His way and time; it is proof of our trust in God’s love, that He would vindicate us in His time.
1. When we seek to understand the will of God in the midst of a complex situation, we still may not understand everything. However, if we seek to do the next best thing even though we are not completely sure if that is God’s will, things will turn out fine; even though we do not know the complete picture, the information that we have is sufficient to make the right decision. God in His wisdom has given you sufficient information to know His will and to walk in it.
2. As agents of light, we must stand fearless when we are asked to account for our work. We do not need to be worry about what to say, as words will be given to us through the Spirit. As long as we do what is right, we do not have to fear. Whether you are called to explain a difficult situation, or to defend an accusation, God will be with you and cause your righteousness to shine.
Dear Lord, I set my eyes on the goal of my calling, even when things seemed to go down hill, when nothing that I did seemed to be right. But I have done my very best to my ability and hence, I do not fear what others may do to me. I lay down my life knowing that Jesus is my righteousness. Protect me from the evil one, and by Your grace help me rise up in love, power and wisdom. I believe what you have given me will never be taken away from me. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.