Day 21: John 18
The arrest that nearly didn’t happen (verses 3-5)
When Jesus identified himself to the crowd coming to arrest him,
they drew back and fell to the ground – verse 6
For the crowd who came to arrest Jesus, they were the ones initially ‘arrested’ by the presence of God. Yet, they got up again and carried on as if nothing had changed. Contrast this with the apostle Paul who, on his way to persecute Christians, encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, fell to the ground, but got up changed (Acts 9) and newly submitted to the Spirit’s leading for the rest of his days. Let us be open to encountering God where we change direction, lay down personal agendas and cry ‘Spirit, lead me’!
Peter’s rebuke (verses 10-11)
Peter reacts violently to the arrest of Jesus, who then asks him
‘shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’ – verse 11
We often use this to showcase Peter’s weaknesses. That’s not what Jesus does, he shifts the focus off Peter’s behaviour onto the divine purpose. The cup Jesus refers to is ‘the cup of God’s wrath’ on sin (see Psalm 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15-17). This cup is to be poured out on Jesus. Our focus needs to shift away from human imperfections onto what God has done in Christ. Peter wasn’t perfect, none of us are. God uses imperfect people who are forgiven in Christ.
Peter’s break point (verses 15-18, 25-7)
A few chapters earlier Peter asserted that he would give his life for Jesus (chapter 13) but here he denies even being a follower. Peter was to learn that God uses those familiar with brokenness. Luke’s account highlights Peter’s break point most vividly:
the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken… you will disown me… he went outside and wept bitterly (Luke 22: 61-2 abbreviated).
Jesus later restored Peter, who went on to have a key role in the early church. God turned Peter’s shame into glory. God is looking for our willingness to be broken so that we surrender to the plans He has for us.
Truth revealed (verses 37-8)
if you hold to my teaching… you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-2 abbreviated).
Jesus is brought before governor Pilate, who asks the Son of God ‘what is truth’ even as the truth is standing before him; Jesus is the truth that sets us free. Pilate found no basis for a charge against Jesus (John 18: 38), yet he handed him over and the guiltless One was crucified for the guilty. What is our response to this immeasurable sacrifice?
- Be intentional about following the leading of the Spirit
- Forgive your imperfections, God already has
- Brokenness is not the end, it is the beginning of finding your purpose
- Live daily in response to Christ crucified