Who Was In Charge?


“Again He asked them, ‘Who do you want?’ ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they said. Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am He. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.’ This happened so that the words He has spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus). Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?'” John 18: 7-11 NIV.

Who is in charge around here?

This is a very strange situation. A mob of soldiers and religious big shots, armed to the teeth had come to arrest Jesus but they couldn’t. He was protected by the power of His name. The very words, “I AM!” struck terror into these men and they fell backwards to the ground when He spoke. Never had they had dealings with a prisoner like this!

He was fully aware of why they had come. He had been anticipating their arrival and had actually gone to meet them. What criminal would ever deliberately put himself in the path of the authorities unless he knew he was guilty and wanted to hand himself over? Not only could they not lay a hand on them, but they were also afraid of Him. There was something about Him they could not fathom.

He, the felon, was actually in charge. He gave the orders; He called the shots and they obeyed Him. How crazy was that! ‘You can take me,’ He instructed them, ‘but leave these men alone.’ And even when they took Him and roughed Him up, He was still in charge. Everyone who had dealings with Him, soldiers, Sanhedrin, Herod, Pilate, Jewish mob, lost it while He remained calm and serene throughout the entire debacle.

Peter lost it too; Peter, the big, brave fisherman, pulled out his sword and lashed out wildly at the nearest guy — what a way to handle the crisis! Did he think he was going to pick them all off, one by one, while they waited in line to be taken out? Did he really think that Jesus would stand by and allow him to do that? No, Peter acted brainlessly and instinctively, so unlike his Master whose response was deliberate and carefully controlled.

Jesus’ response to Peter’s reaction was typically Jesus. Never for a moment did He lose focus. He had come for this reason and He was not about to allow Peter’s panic to side-track Him or cause Him to deviate from His purpose. Listen to His response! ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’ I wonder what the soldiers and the rest of the mob made of that!

How did the military men react to Jesus? What did they think when He allowed them to arrest Him? How many of them would gladly have walked away rather than take a man prisoner who literally invited them to do so? I would not like to have been in their shoes. What went through their minds when they lay in bed that night?

John did not record the sequel to Peter’s cowardly act, not that it didn’t happen or that it was unimportant but that it was just not a part of his purpose. He probably did not want to deviate from what he intended to convey. He was presenting Jesus as the Son of God and, at this moment Jesus was behaving as perfectly obedient to His Father, a true Son of the Father, doing the Father’s will without question because He had chosen to submit and become the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world.

He was fully aware of the “cup” which His Father had given Him to drink and the baptism of suffering He was about to undergo and He faced it without flinching because the reward that lay beyond it far outweighed the agony of the next few hours. But His suffering was to be His alone. The time would come when His disciples would have their own cup to drink. But not now. For the moment they were only spectators.

His words of command protected them from any thoughtless action by the soldiers. They would, in the future, be guilty by association but, for now they would be unmolested and free to follow, watch and try to process what was happening to their Master until He returned from the grave to shake their lives to the core and to send them on their way as witnesses to all these events.


Categories: Bible Study Tags: , , , ,

Luella Campbell

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