“I Am/I Am Not”

As he tells of Jesus’ trial before Annas and Caiaphas John interweaves segments recounting Peter’s denial of Jesus (John 18:15-27). You are not surprised that the chief priests and the Council isolate Jesus, make him the scapegoat, and pursue his death. But you should be startled that Peter, Peter who had confessed his Lord, Peter who had insisted that he would never abandon Jesus, Peter denies knowing Jesus, not once, but three times.

In a quiet way John shows the isolation of Jesus as your Savior. The central figure in this account is not Peter, but Jesus. The point of the passage is not first of all to encourage the church under pressure to remain faithful to Jesus—though that is part of why the account is here.

John’s Gospel has recorded the great “I am” statements of Jesus. Those are brought to mind as, early in this chapter, Jesus twice announces “I am [he]” when the armed band comes to arrest him. In contrast, Continue reading ““I Am/I Am Not””

Christ before the High Priests

DNA evidence has recently resulted in a number of convictions for cold case crimes. It has also, on occasion, proved that innocent people have been accused and convicted. John 18:12-24 describes the ultimate miscarriage of justice as Jesus, the great High Priest, is led, bound, before the high priests and a “trial” conducted by the highest court, the Sanhedrin.

Jesus draws you into his trial. Marvel at the audacity of guard who arrest the Son of God and bind him. He has just displayed his power when he confronted the armed men in the garden and they fell back. Now they lead him to Annas, and then, Caiaphas. And Jesus goes. He is led as a lamb to the slaughter. He is the Passover sacrifice, about to be offered for his people (note Caiaphas’ unwitting prophecy). Annas had served as high priest until being removed from office by the Romans. But he retained authority Continue reading “Christ before the High Priests”

God Remembered Noah

This afternoon’s Bible study focuses on Genesis 7 and 8.

The flood, like every other judgment during the time of the covenant of grace, took place for our salvation. Ac­cording to 1 Peter 3:20, Noah and his family were saved by the waters of the flood. The flood removed unrighteous men from the face of the earth so that Noah, his family, the an­imals, and the whole world might be saved. The flood points ahead to baptism. Even the final judgment is for salvation’s sake: the world will be renewed through it. We are to tell the children about that salva­tion, showing them how God saved the world in grace through the flood.”

(S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol. 1, p. 59.)

The Arrest of the King

Have you ever watched a police officer arrest someone he considers armed and dangerous? That’s the picture John (in 18:1-11) paints of the arrest of Jesus.

Your King crossed the Kidron Valley to be your Savior. The teaching in the upper room was completed. Jesus has ended his prayer for his disciples—and for you. Now he leads the 11 disciples across the Kidron Valley to a garden (described by the other Gospels as an olive grove named Gethsemane).

Although Jesus did spend time in fervent, agonized prayer there, as the other Gospels indicate, John selectively does not describe that. Instead, he focuses on the fact that Judas (who had left the upper room to betray Jesus) knew the place. And it was there Continue reading “The Arrest of the King”

Jesus Prays for You!

What is Jesus doing in heaven right now? Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 23 speaks of Christ executing the offices of prophet, priest, and king, both in his estate of humiliation and exaltation. As priest here on earth Christ offered himself as the perfect, complete, once-for all sacrifice for your sins. In heaven as priest he is praying for you. John 17:20-27 gives you an idea of how he is praying for you.

Jesus prayed for himself (John 17:1-5), then for his disciples (John 17:6-19), and now concludes his high priestly prayer by praying for you. With his own suffering a death hours away, Jesus does not withdraw into focusing on himself and his pain. Rather, he intercedes for you. He had spoken of sending his disciples into the world. Through their work, through the good news they proclaimed and which they inscribed in Scripture, you and many others have come to faith in Christ. This prayer emphasizes the apostolic message.

You are standing on holy ground as you hear the Son pray to his Father in heaven. Although the primary purpose of this prayer Continue reading “Jesus Prays for You!”