Passage: John 18:1-14

Speaker: Steve Hands

Series: Core Values – Discipleship

Transformed As We Follow The I AM

How do we respond when we are attacked? Do we react with defensiveness to destroy our attacker and defend our reputation? Jesus when attacked did not defend himself. Instead he gives of himself. And he overcame and even saved those who opposed him with a far greater power than any sword or word could have ever accomplished. How did he do that? In John 18:1–14, Jesus demonstrates true power, not of the sword but of submission to God’s Word, to bring salvation.

            First, Jesus demonstrates true power(John 18:1–6). Judas comes to a familiar place to meet Jesus with “powerful” people — officers and soldiers with weapons and torches. Yet their supposed “power” is like a dust mite wielding a needle; the One enthroned in heaven simply laughs. Jesus already is “knowing all that would happen to him,” and Jesus questions them. His response, “I am he,” causes them to draw back and fall to the ground (John 18:6). This “I am” statement demonstrates that Jesus is God (cf. John 8:58–59), and this statement itself causes his opponents to fall back in terror. The true power is not of torches and weapons or positions and influence but of his Word.

            Indeed, Jesus demonstrates true power, not of the sword but of submission to God’s Word(John 18:7–11). Just as Judas comes to Jesus with soldiers with weapons and torches, so Peter responds by drawing his sword and cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. The power of the sword is seen as we try to take control of our situation that we cannot control. Jesus, though, does not show the power of the sword but submits to God’s Word; he seeks “to fulfill the word that he had spoken,” even though it means drinking of a bitter cup that the Father had given him. True power is not seen in our ability to control and overcome circumstances but submit to the purposes that God has in that situation.

            Yet the result of this true power isto bring salvation (John 18:12–14). Peter sought to protect Jesus by using his sword, yet Jesus seeks more than self-protection. He seeks salvation for all people; Caiaphas the high priest prophesies that “it would be expedient that one man should die for the people” John 18:14). As Jesus submits to God’s Word and purpose through his sacrificial death, this sacrifice would bring salvation for all people (cf. John 11:50–52).

            So what? Perhaps we need to stop taking our lives into our own hands. Perhaps we need to relinquish control and look to the One in control. Perhaps we need to sheathe our swords, our incessant attempts to take control of things beyond our control and force them into submission. Perhaps we should follow Jesus who demonstrates true power, not of the sword but of submission to God’s Word, that through us He might bring salvation to others.