confessing Christ on my own

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John 18:33

John 18:33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

John 18:34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or have others said this to you about me?”

John 18:35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

confessing Christ on my own

Jesus’ question is one I should put to myself. Is my confession of Christ coming from me – or merely reflecting what others have taught me about him. Pilate had no interest in confessing Christ as Lord. He just wanted to get out of the unwelcome task of murdering an innocent man. He was not interested in justice. He was not interested in salvation.

What is my interest in Jesus? I confess him as the universe’s savior. He has my allegiance. What the world says about him does not matter.

Thank you, Lord.

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bought with a Roman cross

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John 18:28-32

John 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover.

John 18:29 So Pilate exited to them and said, “What charge are you presenting against this man?”

John 18:30 They answered him, “If this man weren’t a criminal, we wouldn’t have handed him over to you.”

John 18:31 Pilate told them, “You take him and judge him according to your law.” “It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared.

John 18:32 They said this so that Jesus’s words might be fulfilled indicating what kind of death he was going to die.

Jesus was marked for death, but not just any death. He knew himself that he was destined for death on the cross. It was a cruel and public spectacle of a death. But he was going to face it for our redemption.

bought with a Roman cross

Galatians 3:13 -14 (NASB) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”– in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Gentile Galatians were being taught a false gospel – that in order to please God you had to become Jewish. Paul points out to them that God’s plan involved a Roman cross. It opened the door to blessing for all children of Abraham – whether Jew or Gentile.

Lord, thank you for our redemption bought with a Roman cross.

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the third voice

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John 18:25-27

John 18:25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”

John 18:26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”

John 18:27 Peter denied it again. Immediately a rooster crowed.

the third voice

Peter heard three voices during this time of trial. Jesus was being tried, but so was Peter. He heard the questioning voice of the people around him. They wanted to know if their suspicions were right – that Peter is actually loyal to Jesus. Peter denies it until he can do it no longer. The second voice is the rooster’s crow. The lie is out.

Luke 22:62 And he went out and cried bitterly.

The third voice is Peter’s inner voice. All the time he was asking himself why he was denying his master. All the time he was in shock that his allegiance could be shattered so easily.

The mystery of the Christian hope is not based on our ability to trust him and hang on to our faith. It is based on the faithfulness of the one who keeps calling us back to himself, and telling us to feed his sheep.

Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Give us a faithfulness to match.

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another conspiracy

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John 18:19-24

John 18:19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.

John 18:20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews congregate, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret.

John 18:21 Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I told them. Look, they know what I said.”

John 18:22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by slapped Jesus, saying, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”

John 18:23 “If I have spoken wrongly,” Jesus answered him, “give evidence about the wrong; but if rightly, why do you hit me?”

John 18:24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

another conspiracy

John’s treatment of this phase of Jesus’ trial ordeal shows that it is all a kangaroo court. That phrase is defined as “an unofficial court held by a group of people in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanor.” … Except that it was not unofficial, and Jesus was not being tried for just a crime. He was being tried because he had been chosen as the scapegoat.

But behind this conspiracy there was another conspiracy. It was a conspiracy begun before time began. God chose for his Son to be wronged and face an undeserved punishment in order to rescue his lost children. For those purposes, it was necessary for Christ to be convicted even though there was no valid evidence against him.

Even today, many condemn Jesus and his followers for wrongs that have not been committed. Societies may choose to praise him or curse him. Often, either choice is a whim, based on the emotion of the hour.

Lord, give us the courage to stand for your truth, even if our culture chooses to condemn it.

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are you a disciple of Jesus too?

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John 18:17-18

John 18:17 Then the slave-girl doorkeeper said to Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “I am not.” he said.

John 18:18 Now the slaves and the officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself.

are you a disciple of Jesus too?

John had made sure that the slave-girl who was guarding the door allowed Peter to enter. She had opened the door for him in another sense as well. She asked him that question. John had apparently left no question as to his own loyalty to Jesus. So, the slave-girl asked if Peter was a disciple of Jesus too. Peter’s denial was not coerced. That would make it all the more painful once the rooster reminded him of his weakness.

The door is being opened for you and me today. We will be given chances to affirm or deny our loyalty to Christ.

Lord, strengthen our weak wills. Empower us to claim you as our savior and teacher.

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influential, but helpless to intervene

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John 18:15

John 18:15 Simon Peter was following Jesus, as was another disciple. That disciple was known to the high priest; so he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard.

John 18:16 But Peter remained standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, exited and spoke to the girl who was the doorkeeper and brought Peter in.

influential, but helpless to intervene

Based on passages like this, “John would appear to have been a man of some influence in Jerusalem.”1 It must have been frustrating to actually know some of the people involved in Jesus’ trials ands crucifixion, yet still be helpless to intervene to save him. We know now that what Jesus experienced was absolutely essential for humanity’s deliverance. God’s purpose prevailed.

Lord, when things seem to be happening beyond our control, help us to trust that your purpose will prevail.

1Andrew Collins, Twenty-first Century Grail: The Quest for a Legend. (Virgin, 2004), 39.

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one man to die for the people

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John 18:7-14

John 18:7 Then he asked them again, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

John 18:8 “I told you I am he,” Jesus replied. “So if you’re looking for me, let these men leave.”

John 18:9 This was to fulfill the words he had said: “I have not lost one of those you have given me.”

John 18:10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. (The slave’s name was Malchus.)

John 18:11 At that, Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword away! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?”

John 18:12 Then the company of soldiers, the commander, and the Jewish officers arrested Jesus and tied him up.

John 18:13 First they led him to Annas, since he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

John 18:14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be advantageous for one man to die for the people.

one man to die for the people

Jesus had just demonstrated his supernatural power by making the arresting party fall backwards to the ground. Now he demonstrates his ability to deliver his own by making sure that only he is arrested. He does this, even though Peter had just given them cause to arrest him as well. Everything is happening to accentuate the reality that these events are all about one man. Jesus is the one man meant to die for the people. He is the embodiment of God’s love and the one savior for the world.

Lord, you are the one man to die for the people. We trust in you for our deliverance.

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the awesome power of Jesus’ presence

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John 18:1-6

John 18:1 After Jesus had said these things, he exited with his disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

John 18:2 Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.

John 18:3 So Judas took a company of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees and came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

John 18:4 Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to him, exited and said to them, “Who is it that you’re seeking?”

John 18:5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “I am he,” Jesus told them. Judas, who betrayed him, was also standing with them.

John 18:6 When Jesus told them, “I am he,” they went away backwards and fell to the ground.

the awesome power of Jesus’ presence

John shows the awesome power of Jesus’ presence here. Soon, Jesus will submit to torture and death at the hands of a sinful and ignorant people. But at this point the focus is on who Jesus is. The words are the familiar ἐγώ εἰμι that mark the significant identity of Jesus.

In my Afterlife article, “Spring Up Oh Well” I show that John records Jesus identifying himself and his significance with seven famous “I am” statements:

  • I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.1
  • Jesus spoke to them again: “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”2
  • Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the gate for the sheep.3
  • I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.4
  • Jesus said to her, “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.5
  • Jesus told him, “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.6
  • I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι) the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.7

Yes, Jesus submitted humbly to the cross for us. But make no mistake about this: he did it because he loved us. He has power and authority over all the universe.

Lord, thank you that we can approach the awesome power of your presence through prayer.

1John 6:35 CSB (see also John 6:41, 48, 51).

2John 8:12 CSB (see also John 8:18,24,28).

3John 10:7 CSB (see also 10:9).

4John 10:11 CSB (see also 10:14).

5John 11:25 CSB.

6John 14:6 CSB.

7John 15:1 CSB.

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being with Christ will have to wait

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John 17:24-26

John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am so that they will experience my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation.
John 17:25 Righteous Father, the world has not discovered you. However, I have been aware of you, and they have discovered that you sent me.
John 17:26 I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”

being with Christ will have to wait

Dick Tripp cites this passage as one of many that supposedly point to a meeting with the Lord at death.1 But when you look at the passage in its context, you discover that Jesus is not promising life beyond death. He is saying that he wants his disciples to be with him. But they cannot be because they have a job to do now. They have discovered God through Christ, and so they have a mission to continue to make God known by sharing his love.

Being with Christ (μετὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ) will have to wait until the resurrection (Revelation 20:4). For now, what is important is that God’s love is IN them (ἐν αὐτοῖς) and that Christ is IN them (ἐν αὐτοῖς)(v.26).

Lord, we await your return, because we also want to be with you. But right now, energize us to share the gospel of God’s love with those around us.

__________

1  Dick Tripp and Derek Eaton. Life After Death: Christianity’s Hope and Challenge. (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2015), 67.

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the unity that he prayed for

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John 17:17-23

John 17:20 “I pray not only for these but also for those who trust in me through their word.

John 17:21 May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may trust that you sent me.

John 17:22 I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.

John 17:23 I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may discover you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.

the unity that he prayed for

Jesus defined the unity that he prayed for in this prayer. He wants every believer to share his glory. He has given us the glory that the Father had given him. Our reputation is tied to him. He is the Christ, we are the Christians.

The second definition of Christian unity is found in the gospel mission we share. Jesus prayed that the world may discover God has sent Jesus and has loved us as he has loved Jesus.”

We share some kinds of unity which are superficial. We may be in doctrinal agreement with some Christians, but in disagreement with others. We may share traditions and practices with some Christians, but not follow the traditions of others.

But all true Christians everywhere share the glory of Christ and the gospel mission.

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