Sunday, November 1, 2015

John 18:1-12 comments: power under restraint

1 ¶  When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. 2  And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. 3  Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4  Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5  They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6  As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7  Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8  Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: 9  That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 10  Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11  Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? 12  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

This is the brook Kidron, the word translated here from Hebrew, which King David crossed in his escape to the wilderness during his son, Absalom’s, insurrection in 2Samuel 15:23.  This is the garden of Gethsemane and John’s version leaves out Christ’s prayer in Matthew and goes right to His betrayal by Judas and arrest.

When Jesus says the words I am, which is the name of God, the party sent to arrest Him falls down. Then Jesus tells them that since He is the one they want they should let His disciples go. This was done to fulfill what He prayed back in chapter 17, verse 12.

Peter was armed and he took a swing with his sword, cutting off a servant’s ear, the servant’s name being Malchus. That Jesus returned that ear to its place is not mentioned in this account but in Luke’s.

Jesus went voluntarily with the lawful authorities, authorities over whose actions He could have complete control, as He showed in this passage when He said I am.

Notice that Jesus did not resist the lawful authorities even though they were wicked and depended on a traitor, an inside man, to get to Him. Whether this is only applicable in this situation and whether you cannot say that this is an example for Christians to follow is only possible as a question in countries, like America, where you still have freedom of conscience and religious belief. That could change at any time and we may one day find ourselves having to make a decision, go like Christ to our martyrdom or fight to a certain death like some worldly revolutionary.

I suppose it depends on how much you trust Him.

No comments: