dying for the people killing him

In John 18, we see Jews & Romans, representing the whole world, working against Jesus. Everyone turns against Jesus here. If we want to know where we are in the story, we would be in (and are in) the “everyone else” category!

  • Judas betrays Jesus. We don’t know the motivation but we do know it’s the betrayal of someone who has been a friend, it’s the violation of close relationship.

  • Annas questions Jesus with the appearance of a proper trial. Jesus exposes the questions are not legitimate enquiries about his teaching because all of that has been public. They are looking for reasons to carry out what they already want to do.

  • Peter is scared and denies Jesus. His bravado of earlier chapters has disappeared. He really meant it when he said he would die for Jesus, but regardless of his emotional good intentions, he turns his back on Jesus in order to preserve himself.

  • Pilate shows frustration and contempt for the Jews, impatience as he questions Jesus about his kingship, yet seems convinced of Jesus’ innocence. He hears about Jesus’ kingdom of truth and seems close for a moment - asking, what is truth? - then turns away before he can hear the answer. He rejects the heavenly kingdom (where Jesus holds all of the power) in favour of the one he sees right in front of him now (where he holds all the power).

  • The crowds want Barrabas, a known criminal, to be released and an innocent man to be condemned

  • We also see the irony of the Jews trying to keep themselves pure by not entering Pilates house while at the same time plotting the murder of God!

Everyone else is setting themselves up against Jesus, and we do the same thing is the same ways
  • Like Judas we have violated our friendship with Jesus
  • Like Annas we find reasons to do what we already want to do. How often do we become a legal “expert” when it comes to Jesus - with reasons and sub clauses why certain things don’t apply to us, or to explain and excuse what we have done?
  • Like Peter, no matter how serious our intentions we let fear of others lead us to disassociate ourselves from Jesus
  • Like Pilate we turn away from the kingdom of heaven in favour of earthly kingdoms.
  • Like the crowds we are easily swayed to choose someone else just a week after chanting Jesus’ name
Like the Jews we think that we are keeping God onside with religious regulations while at the very same time rejecting his son.

Jesus chose the cross, for us

Jesus is in control here. He is doing this for them, and us. This is the scandal of the gospel. Jesus was dying for the sins of those putting him to death.

The account of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest and trials remind us again of our great sin and of His greater love for us.