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The End is Near

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John 18:1–27 ESV
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 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 its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” 12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. 19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
I am - ego eimi (ego aye-me)
Moses -
The power in identifying Himself as the Most High is contrasted with His willingness to be taken by those who were now on the ground. The power of the spoken truth of who Jesus is appears to have physical influence over the arrestors. Did they witness a theophany in that moment? Was there a physical manifestation of God before them that caused them to fall to the ground? It has become a thing in our culture to use ‘don’t judge me’. That transformed to ‘only God can judge me’. Rest assured He will. And on that day when your best argument is: who are you to judge me? The answer may we’ll come back: I AM has judged you. And that will undo any argument we might raise against Him.
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
There is a reason scripture tells us to take captive every high minded idea and make it obedient to Christ Jesus. Because the nature of man strives against the nature of God.
Because the nature of man strives against the nature of God. But every argument against Him fall on that day...
The Jews believe…when transgressed against, God might send Gabriel to smite to the ground. Josephus wrote of Elisha asking the question when he walked among the marauders struck with blindness.
While the soldiers are on the ground… Full power, complete surrender. Meekness.
Let them go - To remove them from suffering. Grace is already being extended. Jesus was already substituting Himself on their behalf. The law would not be fulfilled by the suffering of the disciples, but of the Only Son of God.
Peter’s zeal - Taking his sword… The zeal of Peter taking matters into his own hands. He had said he would not allow what Jesus had been talking about to come to pass. He was rebuked for it: Get behind me satan. But Peter still needed to act. He wasnt aiming for Malchus’ ear. He was hoping to split his head open and start the revolution. The Luke account of this story says Jesus retrieved the ear and put it back on, healing Malchus.
Caiaphas and Annas
High Priest and his father in law.
Annas had been appointed high priest by Quirinius in AD 6. Does that sound familiar? But the governor between Q and PIlate deposed him because of disagreements. But he still held sway over the group assembled here.
The verdict had already been rendered before this sham of a trial started. And it was a sham in that trials were not to be held under cover of darkness. It was not yet dawn.
Caiaphas we see as high priest at least as far back as when John started preaching () and was the same who ‘prophesied’ about Jesus back in ch 11 when he said it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. Of course, he meant that Jesus should be put to death so their apple cart wouldnt be upset, thus ‘protecting the people’.
Peter Denies Jesus
You are not, are you? You are not, are you? Didnt I see you in the garden with Him?
Three times Peter was directly asked if he was a disciple of Jesus. Although his actions (following Jesus)were showing them he was, his words claimed he was not.
Both the cold and the dark of this story is very symbolic. Peter was wanting to see what happened to Jesus, but hid in the dark of early morning. He warmed himself by the fire because it was cold in the wee hours, but he was cold inside too.
I see no one, in all of scripture who had such access to the creator of the universe and such fervor for following Him as Peter. So the sting of the rooster crowing after the third denial must have been gut wrenching. In fact, as Luke writes this same account, he states that Jesus turned to look at Peter in this moment, adding to the horror he must have felt. He also says Peter went out and wept bitterly.
How could anyone in reach of our help today, need a second chance more than Peter did that morning of crucifixion?
There is a bridge to be built. We need to supply the materials.
On one side of that bridge there are folks in our community who think they dont fit in church. Some think they are not good enough, some thing we are not good enough. I’m so thankful for Jesus, how levels that playing field!
On the other side of that bridge are people who are in church, but think certain other folks dont belong there. They think a sordid past, shady business practices or family history should separate ‘us’ from ‘them’. Golden Gate.
How? How will we provide an avenue where we have access to those who need Jesus and those who need Jesus have access to the Body of Christ? Some of this is already happening. The cooperation and work being done by our local churches (what we have begun to call United Churches after UCC) was the first step in demonstrating that the church is a welcoming place. That we are all in this together. BTW, the next two events for that kind of collaboration are NNO tuesday and the teacher’s luncheon next monday.
Remember watching the video of Joy’s story last week? My favorite part of that video is always when she pulls a toothpick out of her sleeve. That video was intended to introduce an opportunity for us to gain access to those who need Jesus. And doing so by bringing them on campus and offering them knowledge and skills that will help them start a new chapter in life. And by laying a foundation of surrender to Jesus that will allow them to walk in His light instead of the world’s darkness.
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For home:
Go ahead and read the account of Jesus restoring Peter. It is found in . Let me know how the Lord speaks to your heart this week.
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