Friday, April 6, 2012


John 18: 1 – 2 “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.”
The activities in the upper room are over. The Passover meal is complete; Jesus has modeled the attitude of servant leadership by washing the disciples’ feet, He has spoken of and identified his betrayer with a piece of bread, He has spoken of Peter’s denial before dawn, He has told them about the coming of the Holy Spirit and his departure (John 16), and He has prayed for himself, his disciples, and those believers yet to come. After all this has taken place, Jesus and his disciples make their way to the Garden of Gethsemane where they have often gone to retreat from the crowd. Because Judas had once walked with them, he knows exactly where to find Jesus.  While Jesus is praying, Judas leads a group of soldiers and guards followed by the leading religious authorities’ right to Jesus.
Knowing what was getting ready to happen Jesus stepped toward them asking “Who is it you’re looking for?”
The guards replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus said, “I am He.” When Jesus said this, the group fell to the ground. What? Fell to the ground? How is this possible, weren’t they there to take Jesus captive? Yes, but they recognized who Jesus was. Once again Jesus asked, “Who is it you’re looking for?”
“Jesus of Nazareth” the guards replied.
“I am He,” Jesus said “now that you have the one you came for let these others go.” Jesus said this so his own words would be fulfilled “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.” (John 17:12)
When the guards agreed, it was Peter who grabbed a sword and struck one of the guards cutting off his ear. Peter had to have thought he was doing all he could to protect Jesus. Wouldn’t you think? But what do you think Peter was going through Peter’s mind when Jesus reattached the guard’s ear and then said “Put back your sword (Peter), shouldn’t I drink the cup my Father gave me?” I don’t know about you, but I may have been a little confused at this point. But Jesus understood his responsibility, his purpose, the Father’s plan for his life and he wasn’t going to let anything interfere with what he had come to earth to do. He didn’t try to fight back. Jesus went willingly, fully depending on the Father to be his strength and peace in the middle of this current circumstance.
Jesus faced the tough road ahead with humility and strength. He knew what the Father had sent him to do and nothing would deter him from accomplishing his task. Have you ever thought about what would have happened had Jesus run from his current circumstances that night in the garden? Aren’t you thankful you don’t have to worry about that? Jesus was not going to stop until the job the Father had given him was done. Throughout the night, Jesus relied on the Father to strengthen him during the toughest time in his life.
If God can strengthen Jesus through a flogging with a lead-tipped whip after which he was practically unrecognizable, a crown of thrones pressed so hard into his skull that he bled, and a crucifixion with nails through both hands and feet, don’t you think HE can strengthen you through whatever circumstance you find yourself in the middle of?  
When God calls you to something, he will most certainly get you through it – no matter how difficult or unbearable the moment might seem.

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