Monday, June 1, 2009

The Betrayal of Jesus

Yesterday, we studied the Betrayal of Jesus recorded in John 18:1-11. It was amazing to see how our Lord endured such suffering and injustice, yet remaining firmly in control the whole time. We considered three astonishing facts about Jesus' betrayal that show how He was in control:
  1. Jesus knew Judas' trap, but stepped forward (John 18:1-4). While Jesus was comforting, instructing, and praying for His disciples in the upper room (chs. 14-17), we now learn that Judas was conspiring with the chief priest and gathering a large crowd of soldiers to arrest Jesus. The betrayal appeared as a tragedy, but Jesus "knew all the things" coming upon Him, and had actually arranged and permitted them to unfold in this way.
  2. Jesus had divine power, but surrendered (John 18:5-9). When Jesus declared "I am," He pulled back the veil of His humanity one last time before the cross, revealing His divine glory and reminding everyone who was really in charge here. He could have annihilated this little band of soldiers or called down 120 times as men warriors from heaven, but instead the Lion became a Lamb, and quietly surrendered.
  3. Jesus dreaded God's wrath, but submitted (John 18:10-11). The "cup" of God's wrath that had been on our Lord's mind in the upper room (Mt. 20:22) and in the garden (Lk. 22:42) was necessary to drink. Jesus dreaded this cup of divine fury, but willingly drank it so that we who believe can have God's cup blessing instead.
Questions for thought and discussion:
  • In what ways do the methods of the chief priests and Pharisees differ from the methods of Jesus?
  • Have I trusted in Christ, believing that He drank the cup of God's wrath in my place? How should this make me feel about Jesus?
  • Are there any present trials or tragedies in my life where I can take comfort that Jesus "knows all things" and is firmly in control?
  • Do I respond to my enemies with anger and violence (like Peter, who cut off Malchus' ear) or love and compassion (like Jesus, who healed Malchus' ear)? Cf. Luke 6:27-36.
(Sunday’s sermon has been uploaded to our podcast site and is available for free download or to listen online.)

May God help us apply His Word this week in our hearts, in our words, and in our actions.

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