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John 18

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, JULY 11

SCRIPTURE: John 18

There are several turning points in John’s Gospel.  This chapter is one of them.  In this chapter, we find the event (the betrayal) that is the first domino that starts all of the others falling until we get to the cross.  

As the chapter opens, Jesus and His disciples have crossed the Kidron valley in which is the brook or creek they called the Kidron.  This valley is between the eastern wall of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.  It is on the west slope of that mount, that the Garden of Gethsemane was located.  

Human history began in a garden and the first sin of humanity was committed in a garden.  The first Adam disobeyed and was cast out of that garden.  The last Adam which is Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 15:45) was obedient as He went to the Garden of Gethsemane.  

In his disobedience, the first Adam brought the curse of sin and death onto humanity.  By His obedience, Jesus would bring life and abundance to those who would believe.  

The word Gethsemane literally means “oil press”.  When the olives were picked there in the Garden of Gethsemane, they would be placed in a press where they would be crushed to remove their oil.  Jesus, too, would be crushed for our sins and transgressions.  Remember in the Bible oil is often used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  So, because Jesus obediently suffered the crushing punishment of our sin, the Holy Spirit would come forth to inhabit all who believe.

The Kidron Brook is also important to this scene.  The name Kidron literally means dusky or gloomy.  It was a reference to the dark waters that were often stained by the blood of the sacrifices made in the Temple of Jerusalem.  

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas and a small of army of Jewish religious leaders and Roman soldiers arrived to arrest Him.  Did you notice in verse 4 that Jesus went toward them?  As gruesome as the next several hours would be for Jesus, He did not shrink back from it.  He went toward it.

As the scene continues to unfold, Jesus asked them who they were looking for.  Their response was, “Jesus of Nazareth”.  His response was, “I am He”.  I want to make sure that you grasp what Jesus really said.  In the original language, Jesus’ response was, “I am”.  The translators added the word He so that it would read better in our language.

The important point here is Jesus made His claim that He was God when He said this.  The “I am” is the same name the Father used of Himself in His conversation with Moses in the wilderness.  

This is the explanation of why the army of religious leaders and Roman soldiers fell back and onto the ground when Jesus spoke.  We might understand why the religious leaders would fall down but it is a most telling statement that Roman soldiers would fall back and down just because someone said, “I am”.  Those Romans soldiers were part of the best trained, most feared military in the world at the time.  Just remember there is no sinful human that can stand in the revealed presence of the Almighty God.

It is most interesting to me that they were able to collect themselves and proceed with the arrest after that.  Of course, this was all a part of God’s sovereign plan.  And now Jesus would be led away to the first of His trials.

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 17

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, JULY 10

SCRIPTURE: John 17

We often call the prayer we find in Matthew 6, the Lord’s Prayer.  You know it is the one that begins with: “Our Father who art in heaven”.   Because it is certainly a prayer from our Lord, there is nothing wrong with calling it that.  But as you think about that particular prayer, it really does seem to take on the nature of a model prayer.  It is Jesus teaching us to pray.

With that as a background, this prayer that we find in John 17 may actually be the Lord’s Prayer.  It is often referred to as “The High Priestly Prayer” but I truly believe it may best be defined as the Lord’s Prayer.  It is a most intimate look into a very personal conversation between Jesus and the Heavenly Father.

As you begin this amazing chapter, I think it is important to look at the last words of John 16.  There Jesus said, “I have overcome the world”.  The reason that is important is the word world is used some 19 times in John 17.  Regardless of the efforts of the world to put down Jesus and drag people away from the truth, Jesus has already overcome that.  And through Him, we are overcomers as well.

In the first five verses, Jesus prayed for Himself and talked with His Father about the fact that His work on earth had been completed.  We should never hesitate to pray for ourselves.  

In the next section of the prayer (verses 6-19), Jesus prayed for His disciples.  Specifically, His prayer for them was that the Father would keep them and sanctify them. In other words, He asked the Father to guard them or protect them and to set them apart from the world.  That doesn’t mean they were supposed to segregate themselves from the world.  When we do that, we have no opportunity to share the gospel with anybody but our own offspring.  The disciples were most certainly going to be in the world but they were not supposed to be of the world.  That’s part of the significance of the Father sanctifying them.

The third section of the prayer (verses 20-26) is actually Jesus praying for you and me.  Isn’t that just the coolest thing?  Jesus prayed for us!  He prayed particularly for our unity.  In verse 23, Jesus said our unity is actually evidence of His identity and mission.  That means when Christ followers are fighting and bickering and fussing and treating each other badly, we are in effect saying Jesus isn’t who He said He was and that His mission was a scam.  Our unity, on the other hand, is undeniable, inarguable, evidence of the identity and mission of Jesus.  

He ends this section with a request that we might know God’s deep, deep love.  Remember the Bible says, “Love covers a multitude of sins”.  So, maybe this love is the key ingredient for our unity.

So, why did Jesus pray this prayer?  Undoubtedly, He was preparing Himself for what was about to happen.  He was just hours away from being arrested which would be the start of His horrible mistreatment and eventual crucifixion.  Hebrews 12:3 teaches that as Jesus thought about the joy that awaited Him and us, He gained the necessary strength to endure.

You know, sometimes I get so trapped in the muck and mire of it all that all I can see is what I’m stuck in.  And if that is all I can see, it is almost impossible to see how I can ever get out of that.  The only way out is to look up.  Moving forward always requires a change in focus.  Thinking about the joy of the Lord and the glory that is to come is the way out.  

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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