What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus showed self-control and restraint as he was arrested, taken away and questioned by religious and civil authorities.
- We must be willing to speak the truth about God even in hostile environments.
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Sometimes disciples will run away when they face persecution or rejection.
- We need to remain steadfast even when other disciples “abandon ship.”
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
Gethsemane is one of my favorite spots in Jerusalem. There are today olive trees which are dated to 2000 years old…which means, they were shoots in the ground when Jesus knelt there to pray.
John’s account of Gethsemane omits the prayer of Jesus (“Thy will be done”) but includes a demonstration of his power. Did you notice how he replied when Judas betrayed him to the soldiers? Three times, he uses the same phrase: “I am he. I am he. I am he.” Do you think it is coincidental that the gospel writer who repeatedly places the divine name of God… Yahweh…I am… on the lips of Jesus (I am the vine, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life)…do you think it coincidental that he portrays the arrested Christ in such humble power? In fact, only John tells us that when Jesus replied to their question, that his words literally struck them to the ground: the holy name of God spoken by the holy Son of God. Jesus did not need to submit to their arrest. In fact, he nearly had to nurse it along…waiting for them to get up off the ground to finish what they had come for. And when Peter (only here is he named) strikes off the ear of Malchus (again, only here named), Jesus again orders the swords sheathed. Why would he fight to prevent this moment? It is for this that he came! Such power under control!
Another unique feature of this chapter is the extended exchange between Jesus and Pilate. Again, we see the power of Christ. Even though he is at Pilate’s mercy…he can execute him at will…Pilate is so captivated by his words and persuaded by the obvious purity of his life…he does everything he can to cut him loose. In the end, he cannot withstand the pressure of the Jewish leaders; he is too afraid. But you wonder how lasting was the impact on Pilate of this encounter with this strangely courageous “criminal.”
Jesus was courageous…and he did not dilute his message in order to save himself. I pray that the Holy Spirit would empower me in the same way.
What do you find here?