October 10, 2016
“When He finished praying . . .” here I see Jesus’ life pick up traction with regards to His primary purpose and mission of life. In the 18th chapter, John describes how Jesus and His disciples go to an olive grove where Jesus was arrested by the Roman soldiers led by the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. I find it amazing how equipped the soldiers and the Jews were in search of Jesus. Torches, lanterns, and weapons. A holy trinity of sorts? In verse 4 I’m reminded by John that none of this occurs without Jesus’ knowing. He knew what was about to unfold. John also mentions Judas (v.5) being “with them” to remind me of his betrayal.
I am He. Twice Jesus told them He was the one they were looking for. He was willing to go in peace. In fact He did. It was Peter, though, who took out his sword to defend and protect Jesus and rebel against the Romans. How ironic. Oh Peter, couldn’t you see that Jesus, by giving His life, was there to defend you and protect you and even rescue you from sin, death and the power of the devil?
In the hands of the Jews and Romans, Jesus begins the long night of gloom and sadness. Peter is seen denying that he knows Jesus. Note the logistics. Another gospel nuance…that Peter stands outside the courtyard while Jesus (and I suspect John, “the other disciple,” who never names himself) go in. Peter is seen warming himself, not through the presence of Christ, but now around a fire with other servants and officials. He is on the outside indeed. I ponder, when in my life have I denied Jesus and thus found myself on the outside? Thank goodness His Light of Love draws me back in.
Quickly events spin out of control. Jesus bounces from Anna to Caiaphas to Pilate, all who are trying to get a handle on the situation. None of them really can. The 2nd and 3rd denials of Peter are recorded by John and the rooster crows. Before sunrise, Peter has fulfilled what Jesus had said. Before sunrise…before the rooster crowed. In the darkness . . . that’s where Peter is. Pilate questions Jesus. Probably frustrated too. I picture Pilate with sarcasm as he replies to Jesus, “What is truth?” (v. 38) I think sarcasm because Pilate doesn’t wait around for an answer. He’s not asking Jesus because he really wants to know. In his line of work, he’s seen so much of the pain and disappointments of mankind. To do so, and not know the savior who stands before His very eyes, yes, Pilate can’t see Truth even if he stood face to face with it. Then, the shout from the people to release Barabbas, a known criminal, is icing on the cake for this ridiculous trial.
PRAYER: Jesus, in this chapter of John’s gospel, I see how You are all alone, even though surrounded by many humans. People carrying out what You know they will carry out. From Judas to Peter, from Caiaphas to Pilate, the plan of salvation unfolds…for their benefit, and for mine. Help me endure the struggles of this world to see the Truth in You even when so many others around me don’t recognize You. Change their hearts as You have changed mine. Amen.