Today we continue our PASSION WEEK 2020 series as we follow Jesus down The Road to the Resurrection. Soon we will be celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Christ. In preparation, for the next few messages, we will look at what Jesus endured on the road to the cross and what it means to us today.
(Read John 18:1-10)
In John chapter 18 we find Jesus entering a grove of olive trees. Judas, the betrayer, knew the place well. Jesus frequented the grove with His disciples. Judas led a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards (armed with blazing torches and weapons), to the grove. Jesus knew what was going to happen, so He stepped forward to meet them and asked, “Who are you looking for?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Notice that Jesus said, “I AM he.” As soon as He said it, the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground! I guess it hadn’t dawned on them what they were doing. They were about to arrest the Son of God. When Jesus said “I AM” it was like the power of God was released. At that moment the soldiers realized they were up against more than they bargained for.
Jesus asked a second time, “Who are you looking for?” And again the Soldiers replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus responded, “I told you that I AM he, and since I AM the one you want, let these others go.” The Bible says that Jesus said this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”
While Jesus knew what was going on, Peter did not. Peter was hot-tempered. He was not about to allow Jesus to be arrested without a fight. So Peter drew his sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, a servant of the High Priest. While Peter was zealous, Jesus knew this was not a flesh-and-blood fight. Peter was looking at the situation ‘in the natural’. Jesus was looking at the situation ‘in the Spirit’. Jesus was on assignment and He was ready to accept His fate. Jesus was ready to die for our sin BY GRACE. So Jesus told Peter to put his sword away and He put Malchus’ ear back on his head.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested.
a) Jesus knew Judas and the Roman Soldiers were coming for Him and He willingly allowed Himself to be arrested. No man could do anything to Jesus without His permission. In Matthew’s account, Jesus said, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). In Biblical times, a legion was a unit of between 4,000-6,000 soldiers. Jesus was saying, “Listen, I am letting you do this. I am not afraid of you or your power. I have real power at my disposal. I can ask my Father and He will send more than 50,000 angels to protect me.” There is documented evidence in scripture as to what one angel can do. Imagine 50,000.
b) The Roman soldiers fell to the ground as soon as they stood before Jesus. There is no way they could have arrested Jesus unless Jesus allowed it. Jesus accepted it and allowed it because He was thinking of you. He was ready to accept brutal punishment and horrific death, all because of you! Please remember that on Easter Sunday and keep that thought at the back of your mind every day.
c) Jesus willingly accepted PAIN because He was focused on His PURPOSE. Part of His PURPOSE was to open the door to ours. Without Jesus and what He did, there would be no HOPE for us. But because He did what He did, you and I can find HOPE, even in the midst of a global pandemic. God never said it would be easy. God never promised us a perpetual picnic. What God did promise was to be with us every step of the way. Just like Jesus focused on His PURPOSE and the passion for His PURPOSE helped Him push through the PAIN, we must do the same. We were created for such a time as this. As we keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus, we will get through this season and be ready for the next. Seasons come and seasons go. But Jesus remains the same. Which is why we should praise His name every day! Jesus willingly DIED FOR US!
2. Our fight is not against flesh and blood.
When Jesus was being arrested Peter put up a fight. He pulled out his sword and cut Malchus’ ear off. He thought the first was a physical one. Jesus looked at Peter like he was crazy, He picked up the ear, and reattached it to Malchus’ head because He understood the fight was not carnal. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit in all things. If you live the same way, led by the Holy Spirit, there will be times when the Holy Spirit leads you to do something that makes no sense in the natural. Which is why you need spiritual discernment. If you are attuned to the Spirit, He will reveal to you why God is leading you to do what you are doing. Others may not understand you like Peter did not understand Jesus. But living by faith will require you to do what God says, even when no one else understands what you are doing, and even when it causes you pain. The good news is that the pain you are enduring now will pale in comparison to the glory that will be revealed through it.
This is a good spot to talk about our perspective. The world is dealing with a global pandemic. This is not a pleasurable time for most. But if you keep your mind fixed and focused on Jesus, you will be able to look at what is going on from God’s point of view. He will teach you things in this season, while your normal schedule has been interrupted, that He may not have been able to teach you before, because you may have been too focused on other things. You are a spiritual being. You are filled with God’s Spirit. He wants to communicate with you Spirit-to-Spirit. In this season, spend time with the Holy Spirit and you will be amazed at what He reveals to you. Remember, our fight is not against flesh and blood. There are spiritual forces at work in this world, for good, and for evil. Which is why we must learn to discern what is going on in any given situation. Peter was not operating in discernment. Jesus was. May you operate in divine discernment in this season!
3. There are PROMISES waiting for you on the other side of the PAIN!
a) Jesus accepted the cross because it was part of His assignment. The cross was not the end of Jesus, but He needed to go through it. We could never celebrate the resurrection if Jesus refused to accept the cross. Many of us want the promise God gave us, but we don’t want to endure the pain associated with the process. God will give you the promise, and He may even give you a glimpse of what you will look like as you enjoy it, but the same God will require you to develop the grit and determination required to endure the pain connected to the process associated with bringing it to pass. If you are not willing to endure the pain, you may never enjoy the promise!
b) There will be times when you have to overcome the pain associated with your path, on the road to your purpose. Don’t let the pain stop you. If you are facing it, you can take it, and you will make it, by God’s grace. Just keep going, keep pressing, and keep pursuing your purpose. There is a promise waiting for you on the other side of the pain.
c) The writer of Hebrews said, “We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him.” (Hebrews 12:2 ERV). While Jesus was dealing with the pain associated with His path to the cross, He looked past the pain and He saw YOU. You are the JOY He was able to see on the other side of the pain. Jesus looked down through the annals of time and He saw YOUR FACE! That’s why He went to the cross. He did it for YOU! Understanding that, you should live your life in honor of His death! And you should be willing to endure any pain you encounter on the path to your purpose!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die in my place. Jesus willingly accepted His fate. He voluntarily went to the cross. He did it for me. No man took Jesus’ life, because no man ever could. Jesus accepted the pain associated with the cross because He was thinking of me; because He knew there was a promise waiting for Him on the other side of the pain. Like Jesus, I press through challenging times, knowing there are precious promises waiting for me on the other side. The road to Jesus’ resurrection was not without pain and the road to my purpose will not be pain-free either. But I shall not stop. Like Jesus, I endure the pain, for the JOY that is waiting for me on the other side, and in the end, I shall receive and enjoy the fulfillment of every promise You have ever made me! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!