Thursday, March 21, 2024

          In John 18, we read about Jesus’ arrest.  Remarkable isn’t it, to put the words Jesus and arrest in the same sentence?  Here as the sinless Son of God being arrested by a conspiracy between the religious leadership of Israel and Roman political power.  This arrest, of course, led to His trial and finally to His crucifixion on the cross.  He was arrested while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.  According to John’s account, Peter fought for Jesus and even drew blood from the servant of the high priest.  We read, “Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’” (John 18:10-11).
           We can understand Peter’s human actions in the moment.  He did not want to see Jesus forcibly taken away—especially when the Lord had done nothing wrong at any point in His life.  He was ready to fight for Jesus. Jesus was his teacher and master but also his friend. Yet strangely, another human side of Peter would emerge shortly later when he would deny Jesus three different times.  He went from being ready to take up arms for Jesus to wanting to do everything possible to disassociate from Jesus.  He changed from standing up for Jesus to tucking tail and running away from Jesus.  Yet we too have had Peter-like moments—ups and downs in faith.  We have had moments where we stood firm and other times where we simply slinked away in defeat and cowardice. 
            Today, however, we focus not on Peter but on Jesus’ words at the time of His arrest.  Our Lord said, again, “Put your sword away!  Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  Jesus had set His face in the direction of the cross.  He had taken the cup that His Father had for Him.  He was prepared to drink the judgment and wrath of the Father so that we would never have to face such consequences for our sins and disobedience.  On the surface, it appeared that Jesus asked a question.  But it was rhetorical in nature.  There was no questioning what Jesus would do.  He would choose the Father’s way and this cup above any other alternative.  As Isaiah recorded, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
            What was this “cup?”  The simple answer is the cross.  Jesus would take His place on the cross—a cross we should have taken and would have rightfully deserved based on how we have lived.  But Jesus would also receive the full wrath and judgment of God.  You may recall the bowl judgments described in Revelation where God’s wrath is depicted as being poured out on what remains of sinful humanity.  The bloody, brutal and hideous death that Jesus suffered at the cross was nothing less than the full wrath of God emptied out on a sinful world one Friday afternoon.  We face no cross because Jesus bore His for us.
            This cup opened the way for redemption and reconciliation.  The sins that once separated us from the Father have been judged and paid for.  The debt has been settled by the Son.  The longer that we enjoy reconciliation with the Father the easier it can be to forget just how far away we were and how badly separated from the Father we were.  Memories can easily wane and fade with time.  The hours of Holy Week help us to reflect upon our wickedness and separation.  And we can reflect upon what was done for our redemption and reconciliation. 
            We also want to remember that Jesus commanded Peter to “put away” his sword.  Jesus would not fight the Father’s will.  Jesus would not save Himself at the expense of Peter, the disciples and all who would believe in Him.  Including us.  The most selfless act in human history was Jesus’ willingness to lay down His life for us and make the irreversible walk to Calvary.  Jesus said, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (John 10:17-18).  Jesus willingly, voluntarily drank the cup, ordered Peter to stand down and gave up His life as the payment for sin.  And soon, it would be “finished.”  From His acceptance of sin and guilt, we would experience forgiveness.  From His death, we would enjoy life.  From His resurrection, we would gain the blessings of eternity.
            This Sunday is Palm Sunday and marks the beginning of Holy Week.  Our children will help us to understand the triumphal entry and what that might have looked like as Ashleigh leads them in helping us to worship.  Bible study is at 9:45. Worship is at 10:55am.  Invite your friends to study the Bible and worship with you.  Also, remember our Maundy Thursday worship at 7:00pm on March 28 and our Crosswalk starting at the Gazebo at 4:00pm on Good Friday, March 29.  Sunrise worship is at the Gazebo at 7:00am on Easter morning with breakfast to follow in our fellowship hall.  Have a great Thursday!

No Comments





Acts Bible Communion Cross God's will God\'s will God Gospels Holy Spirit Holy Week Jesus Joseph Lent Peter Reformation Satan accountability action advent all saints allegory anger anxiety apologetics atonement awareness awe backsliding baptism beginning beloved betrayal bitterness blessing born again burden burnout calling care change character chistmas choices christian living christmas church history church circumcision comfort commitment community compassion complacency confession confidence consequences contentment control conversation cost courage creation death debt deception decisions deliverance denial dependence depth desire despair determination devotion direction discernment discipleship discouragement dishonesty disobedience distractions doctrine doubt dreams eagerness emotion encouragement end times endurance equality eternal life eternity evangelism evil example facing battles faithful living faithfulness faith family fatigue fear fellowship focus follow foreshadowing forgiveness foundation freedom friends fruit of the Spirit future generosity gifts giving glory goodness gospel grace grateful gratitude greed grit growth guidance guilt halloween happiness healing heart heaven help history holiday holiness home honesty hope humble humility identity impossible incarnation inspiration instruction integrity intentional jealousy journey joy judgment justice justification kindness kingdom knowing God lament law leadership lead lies life listening love martin luther maturity measure memorial memories mentoring mercy messiah minor prophets miracles missions mission mistakes motives mountaintops mourning music nation nativity nature new year new next generation obedience obstacles offering omniscience opportunity opposition overcoming parenting passion path patience peace pentecost persecution perseverence perspective plan poetry power praise prayer preparation presence pressure pride priorities process prodigal progress promise prophecy protection provision psalm purpose rebellion reconcile redemption refuge rejoice relationship remember remembrance renewal renown repentance resentment resolution restoration rest resurrection return revenge revival righteousness risk sacrifice sadness salt salvation sanctification scripture second coming seeking God self-control serenity sermon service shame sharing silence sincerity sin solitude sorrow sovereignty spiritual disciplines standard star stewardship storms strength struggle stubbornness stuck submission success suffering surrender talents talking temple temptation ten commandments testimony testing thankfulness thankful thanksgiving theology time tithes tough times traditions transfiguration trials trinity troubles trust truth veterans victory vision waiting warning weakness wisdom wise men witness wonder work worship