After studying the prayer Jesus gave after He completed His three year ministry of revealing who He is, God is moving forward in demonstrating His love for us. We see His plan for redemption in chapters 18-20 of the book of John. There is no greater love than Jesus laying His own life down for us.
We have reached this point in studying the book of John. Go ahead and read John 18:1-14. We are going to see how Jesus is betrayed by one of His own close friends.
QUESTION: Has a friend or family member ever disappointed you? Jesus understands.
QUESTION: What are the circumstances surrounding Judas betraying Jesus; look at verses 1-3?
After studying the first 17 chapters of John, has Jesus ever shown Himself to be violent and unruly? Yet, Jesus’ arch enemies gave Judas soldiers and guards along with weaponry so they can confront Jesus.
QUESTION: Why do you think this is?
Notice how Jesus responds to their arrival. He steps forward to meet them. He fully realized what was about to happen. He has known all along, even when He was still up in heaven. This shows how He chose to leave His heavenly home and become human like you and me. He conquered our sin by dying so we can be pardoned and given a second chance. In Christ, we become acquitted! This is one crazy kind of love!
STOP AND DO NOT GO ON ANY FARTHER until you give yourself a chance to think about this. What is God saying to you?
Jesus asks them, “Who are you looking for?” He already knew, didn’t He? When they said they were looking for Jesus, what does this say about them? And Judas?
QUESTION: Judas knew Jesus. Why didn’t he point Him out? Where were the disciples? Why did they remain silent?
It was time for Jesus to follow through on His mission that God called Him on. The silence of those around shows how God is in control of all situations and circumstances. God’s plan has never had to take a detour because of man’s actions. God has always been in control. He is today and He will be tomorrow. We can trust in this absolute truth.
The fear of the enemy is great when it comes to Jesus. They came prepared for war but notice what they faced when they approached Him. He answers their question, “I AM He.” Learn more about the great “I AM” in Exodus 3 while God spoke to Moses at the burning bush.
QUESTION: What happened after He spoke; see verse 5?
The power behind His name and voice takes command! It always has and it always will! Again, Jesus asks the same question and they answer the same way. Apparently those around Jesus, other than His disciples, did not know Him personally when they had to ask again.
When we do not take the time to study scripture and get to know Jesus personally, we will react like the soldiers and guards did when we are in His presence. We will miss Him. We will continue to question and seek elsewhere.
My friends, God is everywhere. In this Age of Grace, we are in His presence all the time. He is on a mission to win us over by His love. When we are too busy living like the world, we will miss Jesus. When we are focused on our own needs and wants, we won’t see Him. We forget that God is with us. This causes us to betray Him like Judas did.
A VITAL QUESTION: Do you know Jesus personally? If you don’t, look up and talk with Him. Be honest, confess that you are a sinner and that He came to earth to die for YOU. Ask Him to lead your life from this moment on. He will my friend. Then become a student of Truth. Live out the Bible. God will lead you in how to love yourself correctly and how to love others.
God follows through on His words. This is what makes Him trustworthy and faithful. Jesus fulfilled His own statement when He told them to let His friends go. Jesus was who they were after.
QUESTION: Look at verse 9 along with John 6:39 and 17:12. How does Jesus show His amazing love for His children? We are forever in His company.
Finally, a disciple reacts to the situation hastily and without thought. Don’t we do this when we aren’t understanding a situation? Or we judge what is going on even if we don’t say a word? I would guess Peter’s anger over the mistreatment of His friend and Savior got the best of him.
QUESTION: What did Peter do, see verse 10?
Peter was defending Jesus. “I will help you Jesus.” This shows how Peter did not understand God’s plan. Jesus had to be arrested. Jesus had to die. Or else we would have no hope for anything better than living life on earth only to die and it all be over. But we know that there is hope for we know the whole story!
Jesus let them tie Him up and they took Him to the High Priest. Go ahead and read Mark 14:53-54 to learn more. Pay attention to what Peter is doing.
Now, read verses 15-27. Peter followed Jesus along with another disciple who was acquainted with the high priest. This allowed for the two of them to go inside the courtyard.
Moments ago we saw Peter defending Jesus. Now we read how Peter denied knowing Jesus not once, not twice, but three times! This shows us how fickle we are. Even when we have been in His presence, learning from Him and studying His every move, our flesh will drop Jesus like a lead balloon and deny His presence within us when we face judgment, criticism or even bullying in believing God.
This is what makes God’s love a crazy love! Jesus unconditionally loves us even when we never reciprocate His love back. We are His wayward children that He says we are “worth dying for”.
STOP AND DO NOT GO ON ANY FARTHER until you give yourself a chance to think about this. What is God saying to you? How are you going to respond?
QUESTION: How would you answer if someone said, “Are you a follower of Jesus?” or “You go to church and read your Bible. Why?”
QUESTION: After Peter denied Jesus the third time, what happened, see verse 27? What is the significance of this, see Luke 22:60-62?
As Peter was denying being with Jesus, Jesus is questioned by the High Priest. “What have you been teaching your followers?” They would know if they bothered to listen. Jesus told them that everyone knows for He preached regularly in the synagogue and Temple. The very places the religious teachers taught. “I have not spoken in secret.”
Truth rustles up people’s feathers when they don’t want to believe.
QUESTION: What did a Temple guard do, see verse 22? How did Jesus respond in verse 23?
Knowing they weren’t getting anywhere with Jesus, they bound Him up and sent Him to another high priest.
This is how people act when they don’t want to follow truth.
QUESTION: How do you bind up Jesus when you don’t want to listen?
We are going to end today’s study right here. Spend time with God and ask Him to reveal where you hide. What do you hide behind? We all have it within us to betray Him and deny Him yet He loves us just the same.