all-church focus 2018 devotional

September 22nd, Day #35 - John 18:1-40

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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." – John 18:17


Following Jesus can bring us into scary, even hostile situations. 


How have you been tempted to deny Jesus – either by words or actions? 


How do we find the courage to stand firm? 

game on

Read John 18:1-40


After this past week, we move into a new section of the story. You might have read through this before and the story will be familiar. You might even be tempted to read through it quickly, but take your time and read intentionally. John has masterfully put this story together for a reason.


Notice how in this story Jesus is in control of the events. We might know him now as the King but at the time of when these events took place, He didn’t have any political power or earthly riches. And yet, Jesus is shown as neither anxious nor surprised. As one commentator has written, “Throughout the Gospel, John has presented Jesus as moving quite consciously towards the hour of glorification.”


Take your time and see His commanding nature as Jesus intentionally and consciously moves towards death – for God’s glory and our good.


your move

Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through John 18:1-40.

 

Scripture: Write out the verse that grabbed your heart as you read this passage and jot down its significance to you.


Observation: In the midst of this swirling series of events, Jesus is in total control. In contrast, what is Peter’s response to all that is going on around him? What might have been going on inside Peter’s soul? What might be going on in Jesus during this time?

 

Application: Our faith can be a roller coaster: highs and lows and dips and flips! One minute we are on top of the world and then we can be tossed and confused, forgetting that God is in control. Where do you need the composure, trust, and confidence of Jesus? Work? Home? Life?

 

Prayer: Ask Jesus to help you trust in the Father’s plan for your life as He did. Invite the Spirit to help strengthen you as He did with Jesus. Lean on the One who understands what you are going through.


bonus round

What was the "Sanhedrin?" How did they get to play a role in this episode of Jesus' path to the cross? 


The origins of the Jewish ruling council, the "Sanhedrin" (from the Greek: gathering, assembly), lie in the inter-testamental period. Initially, the Council was made up of priests and elders who functioned under the direction of the high priest. The Sanhedrin consisted mostly of Sadducees until Salome appointed Pharisees as well. In New Testament times, the Sanhedrin was comprised of chief priests, elders, and scribes. When in A.D. 6 Judea became a Roman province, the Sanhedrin attained significant autonomy in handling internal Jewish affairs. After the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 the Sanhedrin ceased to exist, as did the party of the Sadducees.

 

John's Gospel makes clear, as do the Synoptics, that the Sanhedrin was the legal Jewish body that bore ultimate responsibility for Jesus' death. As John traces the plot to take Jesus' life throughout his Gospel, the Sanhedrin occupies the central role. At the same time, John makes it clear that the Sanhedrin was not united in its opposition against Jesus.

 

Nicodemus, the "Teacher of Israel" (3:10) and "a member of the Jewish ruling council" (3:1), is portrayed as sincerely interested in Jesus' message (3:1-2, 4, 9), openly admonishing his fellow-council members to fairness (7:50-52) and even (together with another "secret follower" of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea) assuming responsibility for Jesus' burial (19:38-42), a duty customarily fulfilled by a Jewish rabbi's disciples.

 

At the heart of the Sanhedrin's case against Jesus was the charge of "blasphemy" (5:18). When Jesus "broke" the Sabbath by healing a man and telling him to pick up his mat-a violation of Jewish, though not biblical, law and then cast his action in continuity with God the Father's continuing work (5:17), "the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only is he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God" (5:18). The Sanhedrin's rising antagonism toward Jesus supplies the Johannine narrative with its major element of drama and suspense (e.g. 7:1, 27, 30, 32), although for the reader it is an open secret what will happen to Jesus.

 

Intermittently, Sanhedrin meetings are called (7:45-52; 11 :47-53), yet God is shown supernaturally to protect Jesus until his "time" has come (e.g., 7:30). The inexorable drive toward Jesus' crucifixion climaxes in the Jewish and Roman trials that make up the Johannine passion narrative (18:1-19:16a). In it the Sanhedrin is shown cynically to manipulate both the Roman procurator (simply called "Pilate" in John's Gospel; esp. 19:12, 15) and the masses (19:6, 15) to achieve their sinister ends.

Post-Game Review

We’re coming down the home stretch. It’s likely that you’re starting to see some emerging themes as you’re committed to the devotional and our all-church focus. This week we focused on the transition from being Committed to Commissioned. How has God been nudging you?

 

Do you see any themes emerging?

 

What is God challenging you with?

 

Are there any next steps becoming clear that God is asking of you?

How do I get in the game?

  • Follow up on that service opportunity you started looking into last week.
  • Look for an ongoing ministry where you can serve children, youth, peers, guests, or our facilities.
  • Pray about how you can show God’s love to one of your literal neighbors in a tangible way.