The drama intensified!
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked the approaching Roman soldiers and Pharisees, “Who is it you want?” (John 18:4)
Jesus knew. He knew what was going to happen. He knew that betrayal, rejection, agony and separation from His Father were quickly approaching. But He willingly went forward with the plan for rescue and redemption that was conceived before creation. His love for mankind compelled Him forward. There was no turning back.
They answered His question, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus responded, “I am He.” And Judas the traitor was standing there with them. (vs 5)
With Jesus’ declaration, He claimed His divinity. He established that all power was His and His alone. What unfolds next is also astounding. The entire large entourage of Roman soldiers and chief priests fell to their knees.
Even the betrayer Judas finally kneeled…as it will be for every person in the end. Philippians 2:9-10 reveals the end of everyone’s story. God has exalted Jesus to the highest place and given Him the name that is above every name “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” No one can hide. Every Judas, every evil person, every person who thinks they are going to heaven because of their good deeds and every believer who trusts in Christ alone…everyone will bow. Oh, it will happen!
Jesus asked the entourage again who they wanted and they repeated, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Surely there is a reason Jesus asked the question twice. Perhaps asking the second time served the purpose of reminding them that they really only wanted Him. They didn’t need to arrest the disciples. So Jesus responded, “I told you I am He. If you are looking for me then let these men go.”
Peter’s rash, impetuous behavior took over. He responded by drawing his sword and using it to chop off the ear of the high priest’s servant.
I appreciate that Peter is willing to fight and die for Christ. I even admire his passion for Jesus and his courage. But Jesus does not need defending. He didn’t need it that night and He does not need anyone to defend Him today.
The plan was unfolding and Peter was meddling. Jesus was (and is) the One who has total control. Peter’s eyes were on the situation. He was focused on what he perceived with his physical eyesight. Jesus had a Kingdom perspective and saw through spiritual eyes. Though the power of the Holy Spirit, every believer is empowered to shift perspective away from what is physically seen to what is of eternal significance.
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (vs11)
Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus restored Malchus’ ear. Jesus made the servant whole again.
Even as the world was getting darker and darker, Jesus trusted His Father. He trusted that God was perfectly capable of transforming what the world would see as a tragedy into the greatest triumph ever. And Jesus knew that God’s plan would eventually include restoring this world to wholeness.
Jesus made no effort to save Himself yet He purposely saved His disciples. In the garden, He saved their physical lives. It would be at the cross where He would save their spiritual lives.
Jesus is good! He is so good! He is worthy of the bent knees.
Question to ponder:
When have I tried to defend Jesus and His gospel?
How quick am I to look for the Kingdom perspective?