Journey To The Cross - Day 14
John 18:1-8 (ESV)
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.”
WHOM DO YOU SEEK?
The plot to silence the ministry of Jesus had been brewing among the Sanhedrin for years. This rabbi from Nazareth had taught with authority, debated with skill, cast out demons, healed the sick and…claimed to be older than Abraham and equal with God Most High (John 8:58, 10:30). It was time to cast him away from Jerusalem forever. Yet, despite their efforts, Jesus had always out maneuvered their tactics. Until now.
During the previous week, members of the ruling council had gathered in the court of the high priest. While they were seeking a way to privately seize Jesus, an unusual opportunity presented itself. Judas, one of the twelve disciples, was willing to betray the teacher. Now, all they needed was a window of time when Jesus would be hidden from the public eye and relatively alone. Judas knew the time and the place – the garden of Gethsemane after the Passover feast while under the cover of night.
When Judas finally came to the garden, Jesus didn’t run. He had expected and even foretold this moment. A few hours earlier, he had told his friends that there was a betrayer among them. His body would be broken. His blood would be shed - for the forgiveness of sins for many (Matthew 26:28). The journey to the cross had arrived.
But just before His arrest, Jesus made it clear that His divine authority was still very present even as he surrendered to sinful men. When he said, “I am he” the infantry fell to the ground. Why? The One who is older than Abraham and equal with God, spoke his sovereign name – I AM. Even though their hearts were far from worship, their countenance could not withstand such truth. They were humbled, temporarily. The Sanhedrin sought his destruction. Judas sought their money. Jesus sought the salvation of the world.
May we seek Jesus, especially in view of the cross. Amen.