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Gospel of John - Chapter 18 - Lesson 4

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus Before the High Priest and Peter’s 2nd & 3rd Denials

 

John 18:19 (ESV) The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

 

According to the Reformation Study Bible, this could have been Annas, the former high priest, or Caiaphas in Annas’ house. This should have been a preliminary hearing since the law would not allow a trial until two or more witnesses had established probable guilt. Everything at this point was being unlawfully carried out since these kinds of activities were not to be held at night.

 

John 18:20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”

 

Jesus stated that He had never been secretive about His teaching but had spoken openly not only in synagogues but also in the Temple. Jesus had nothing to hide. Many of these men had heard Him speak, and He invited them to question His followers as well. Jesus’ teachings were public knowledge because He had taught in public places where the Jews gathered. Why should they bother Jesus with questions for which they already knew the answers? Was the high priest trying to trick Him into saying something to incriminate Himself? Jesus may have been demanding that witnesses be called according to the Law.

 

John 18:22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

 

The implication is that he either slapped or backhanded Jesus in the face. The officer may have been passionate about the proper treatment of the high priest thinking Jesus to be insolent by rebuking Annas, but only a coward takes a cheap shot and strikes a man who is bound. The scripture does not say anyone ordered the officer to strike Jesus. He acted impulsively of his own volition. No one had authorized him to strike the prisoner.

 

Isaiah 50:6 (KJV) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

 

The striking of Jesus, and later the soldiers taunting Him was prophesied by Isaiah as seen above. This was all a part of the Father’s difficult but necessary plan. Even though Jesus knew this would be how things went down, He submitted to the Father’s will as He prayed in the garden.

 

John 18:23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”

 

Jesus confronted the man for hitting Him when all He did was tell the truth. In reality, the officer was being insolent to the King of Kings by striking Him as He spoke the truth. Jesus was asking for a fair trial which was not going to happen. The Bible does not record whether anyone answered Jesus’ question. Perhaps they were shocked and in awe at Jesus’ calm reply to being struck.

 

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

 

In order for the chain of command dictated by the Romans to be fulfilled, any recommendation to be brought before Pilate had to come from the reigning high priest, Caiaphas, as president of the Sanhedrin. So Annas sent Jesus, still bound, back to his son-in-law to be tried before the Sanhedrin.

 

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

 

The officers and servants in the high priest’s courtyard questioned Peter again as to whether or not he was a disciple of Jesus. Once again, Peter lied to save himself. Obviously, at this point, Peter’s loyalty to Jesus was running very shallow. I think he was “scared spitless.”

 

John 18:26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”

 

The next dude to question Peter may have even been out for revenge since he was a relative of Malchus, the one whose ear was cut off by Peter but healed by Jesus. If I were Malchus’ relative, even though Jesus healed the ear, I might still have a big, fat, juicy bone to pick with Peter.

 

John 18:27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

 

As Jesus had prophesied, Peter denied Him a third time right before the rooster crowed just as the sun was edging up over the horizon.

 

Matthew 26:72-74 And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.

 

Mark 14:70-71 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.” 71 But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”

 

Matthew and Mark, above, even record that Peter swore and cursed as He denied knowing Jesus. As we will see later, Jesus forgave Peter and restored him completely. He denied the Lord with cursing, but he did NOT lose his salvation. There was a rift in his closeness with Jesus, but he was still eternally secure. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit entered the believers, Peter gave personal testimony and boldly proclaimed the gospel. Three thousand people were added to the church in one day!

 

Q – Have you ever thought you have totally blown it as far as your walk with the Lord Jesus? Take heart. You can’t blow it much worse than the Apostle Peter did, and look how God used him! When your actions have failed to line up with what you say you believe, repent and ask the Lord to cleanse you. I know from personal experience that if you think you have become completely unworthy, the Lord can make you usable again.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 18 - Lesson 3

Posted on July 31, 2016 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Peter’s 1st Denial

 

John 18:15 (ESV) Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest,

 

Most commentators believe that the other disciple in this verse is John, the author of this Gospel. His signature is that he never names himself in His gospel but does name all the other disciples. Apparently John had some kind of “in” with the high priest, felt comfortable entering his courtyard, and was known to the girl attending the door.

 

John 18:16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.

 

Peter did not feel that he could just walk into the courtyard of the High Priest. John felt at home there. Enough so that he did not hesitate to bring a guest, Peter, inside. So he told the gate keeper, a servant girl, that Peter was with him.

 

John 18:17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

 

I wonder if this servant girl knew that John was one of Jesus’ disciples or just that some of them were hanging around. For whatever reason, she asked Peter whether or not he was a follower of Jesus. Peter said that he was not a disciple of Jesus. I feel that because Peter had seen what had happened to Jesus, he was afraid that admitting he was a follower of Jesus might cause him to suffer the same result as his Teacher. He was afraid of being arrested. At that point, his human frailty was stronger than his belief even though hours before he thought himself willing to follow Jesus to the death. This surprises me because Peter was the first of the disciples to proclaim Jesus as the Anointed, the Messiah, the Son of God. However, after he asserted that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, he then tried to talk Jesus out of going to the cross. Peter may not have fully understood that the Messiah must become the sacrifice for our sins, and due to his great love for his Master could not grasp that Jesus MUST die.

 

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

 

Because of his human need for warmth, Peter found himself standing in the middle of Jesus’ adversaries, the very ones who had arrested his Master. Peter, Peter, don’t you realize that is a precarious place to be? He was walking a tightrope. At this juncture in the story, I think Peter was just trying to get out alive. If only he could keep his mouth shut, he might be okay. But you know Peter…

 

Q – Have you ever been in a situation where you felt embarrassed to admit you were a Christian? Perhaps with co-workers or non-believing friends? We fault Peter for lying and saying he was not a disciple of Jesus, but his life was on the line! We sometimes deny Jesus just by neglecting to say that our relationship with Him is the reason we do or don’t do certain things. Think about it. Do you deny Jesus? If so, ask His forgiveness, repent, and proclaim your relationship boldly.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 17 - Lesson 1

Posted on July 12, 2016 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus

 

The highest earthly spiritual authority for the Jews was the High Priest; and for Christians, Jesus is the chief apostle and intercessor. The unnamed author of Hebrews declares this truth in Hebrews 3:1 “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus…” Here Jesus is identified as Chief Apostle, High Priest, Chief Intercessor, and the Son of God. In the seventeenth chapter of John, we find Jesus sharing His last supper with His disciples and as their High Priest praying a prophetic prayer for Himself, His disciples, and all present and future believers.

 

The MacArthur Bible Commentary:

This chapter (John 17) is transitional, marking the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of His intercessory ministry for believers (Hebrews 7:25).

 

John 17:1 (ESV) When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,

 

Jesus’ hour had finally come. After sharing with the disciples that their sorrow at His leaving would be turned to joy and they could take heart during persecution from the world because He had overcome the world, Jesus looked up and prayed. God’s purpose for the Son looked as if He were defeated. Nothing was glorifying about the position of Jesus naked and exposed on the cross. I know this was ultimate victory, but it didn’t look like victory at the time. We know Jesus was conquering sin because we know the rest of the story. The faithful eleven apostles must have really questioned His sacrifice and death at the time. Jesus knew the truth of what He had taught earlier:

 

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

 

He knew that His death was necessary to atone for the sins of those who would come to Him, and that this ultimate demonstration of His love would draw people to receive and trust in Him as their Savior. Afterward, He would be resurrected and returned to His full glory in Heaven.

 

John 17:2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

 

Salvation begins with the Father. Jesus had taught several times that He did not come to speak or teach in His own authority but was granted authority by the Father. God gave Jesus authority to grant eternal life in the presence of God to all those the Father had led to Him. The Father, through the Holy Spirit, draws men to begin a relationship with Jesus. All a person must do is surrender to that call. It cannot be earned because it is a free gift from the Father.

 

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

 

Eternal life originates with God the Father, but He gave Jesus the authority to bestow that gift of eternal life. Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God in an intimate relationship. God does not want us to know about Him with intellect or head knowledge, but yearns for us to know Him personally. John 17:3 is the scriptural definition of eternal life. Eternal life is not something that happens someday when we die. It begins as soon as we come into an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus and, through Him, with the Father. We can have peace knowing we are in right standing with God, not because of anything we have done, but because of everything Jesus accomplished for us by His death on the cross.

 

John17:4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.

 

The work the Father had given Jesus was completed by His death on the cross. Prior to His death, He was to cultivate the disciples in order to share His message with the world. He was to introduce men to the Kingdom of God so that after His death and resurrection, they would be drawn to the Father. Because of His teaching and the time invested in the disciples, they would in turn point others to the Father.

 

John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

 

Jesus was eager to go back home. He was ready to return to His royal privileges. Jesus completed His earthly purpose, ascended to heaven and is now able to enjoy the next level, His glorified purpose. Jesus went from the cross, to the resurrection, to sitting down at the right hand of God, taking His position as High Priest, our chief intercessor. Now He exercises His kingly and priestly authority. So Jesus, who is God, continues levels of purpose and fulfillment; and we can believe that when we get to heaven, we also will continue in our next level of purpose, being active and engaged in eternity forever. Remember, the eleven were present and listening to this prayer. This would remind them of Jesus’ deity and that He was deserving of glory and worship.

 

Q – Jesus no longer walks beside us on this earth. Does that mean He is far away? Certainly not. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, He is with us at all times. God is only a prayer away. Are you troubled about events in our world? Jesus told us there would be trouble, but take heart in the fact that He is at the right hand of God’s throne interceding for us. We have a High Priest who has experienced all we go through as men and women, so we have confidence He is advocating for us. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. We can have peace in the middle of turmoil when we cast our cares on Him. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.