The Arrest and Trials of Jesus – John 18

The purpose of John’s Gospel is to show who Jesus is. The emphasis is not necessarily on the things that Jesus did while on this earth. Rather, the focus is on showing or proving that Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world. We come now to chapter 18 which records the account of the arrest and trials of Jesus. As we read this passage it often brings sadness to our hearts as we see all that Jesus had to endure leading up to His crucifixion, not to mention the crucifixion itself. In our study of this chapter we find several spiritual nuggets that encourages and edifies us in our walk with God.

Never take matters in your own hands and always follow God’s will (v. 1-11). At the time of the arrest of Jesus, Peter takes out his sword in an effort to fight against Jesus’ captors. Jesus tells Peter to put away his sword. Jesus certainly could have wiped out those who came against Him with just a wave of His hand. But, He knew that He came for a greater purpose. He came to save the world from the curse of sin. He allowed those men to arrest Him and willingly went all the way to the cross.

Most of us are like Peter. We jump to conclusions, we are quick in our judgement, and we are hasty in our actions. We tend to take matters in our own hands rather than trusting in God. There have been times in my life where I made mistakes simply because I did not take my time to think it through and to pray. We need to learn to approach every crisis and every situation in our lives with careful consideration and prayer before we take action.

Jesus tells Peter that He must do the will of the Father. Instead of taking matters in our hands, we need to learn to follow the will of God. In order to know God’s will, we must be knowledgeable of God’s Word. The Bible reveals to us the will of God. The Bible is our guide. Every decision we make and every action we take should be done according to God’s Word and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Let your actions speak for themselves (v. 12-23). Jesus was led away to be tried by the priests. At this time in the history of Israel there was a small inner circle of High Priests that ruled Jerusalem regardless of who the actual High Priest was. Annas and Caiaphas was a part of that inner circle. As Jesus stands before Annas He is asked about what He believed and what He taught. The priest already knew the answer. Jesus responds by telling them that He had nothing to hide. Everything He taught was the truth. Essentially, Jesus was telling the priest to examine His life. His actions spoke for themselves. During this same time Peter is standing outside the door and he is asked by a young girl if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Here is the first of Peter’s three denials of Christ. The actions of Peter showed His weak faith and His depravity. However, the actions of Jesus revealed that He is truly the Savior.

You and I do not need to defend ourselves with words. Our actions should be the greatest proof of our beliefs. The way we live and the way we respond to others reveal what is truly in our hearts. The way we behave shows the true nature of our hearts. What do your actions say about you? Think about it.

Do not make promises that you cannot keep (v. 24-27). In these verses we see Peter denying the Lord two more times. This makes three times that Peter denies Christ before the rooster crowed, just as Jesus predicted. Peter told Jesus that he would never deny Him. However, Jesus knew the fear that was in Peter’s heart. He knew that Peter was incapable of keeping his promise.

Too many times we use the words ‘I promise’ in a casual way. Sometimes we even make promises that we never even intend to keep. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew and we make promises that we know that we are incapable of keeping. We should never take a promise lightly. Jesus always keeps His promises. As followers of Jesus, we should be very careful to do what we say we will do.

Betrayal is the worst kind of pain (v. 28-40). Eventually, Pilate gives the people a choice. He found not fault in Jesus and was confused as to the aggressive nature of the Jews against Jesus. Pilate offers to release Jesus or to release a common criminal. The crowd chooses the common criminal over Jesus. They demand that Jesus be crucified. Not only are these people whom Jesus created in His own image, but, these are also His chosen people. These are the Jews, the children of Israel. This was Jesus’ own family.

Imagine the pain Jesus must have felt in His heart. There is no greater pain than the pain of betrayal. When a friend or loved one turns their back on you and turns against you, it hurts. Jesus experienced the pain of betrayal. However, think of how often we betray Jesus. We betray Him with our words and our actions. We betray Him when we do not trust Him. We mock His name and the cross means nothing to us every time we choose to sin. May God forgive us for our continual acts of betrayal.

As we reflect on the things Jesus went through leading up to the cross and as we begin to reflect on the cross itself, may it cause us to be eternally grateful for all that Jesus has done for us. May we live our lives in a way that it shows our gratitude for the cross.

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