Saturday, August 08, 2009

Got Courage?


John 18:1 After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.

2 Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. 3 The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.

4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. "Who are you looking for?" he asked.

5 "Jesus the Nazarene," they replied. "I AM he," Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.)

6 As Jesus said "I AM he," they all drew back and fell to the ground! 7 Once more he asked them, "Who are you looking for?" And again they replied, "Jesus the Nazarene." 8 "I told you that I AM he," Jesus said. "And since I am the one you want, let these others go." 9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: "I did not lose a single one of those you have given me."

10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest's slave. 11 But Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?"

12 So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, "It's better that one man should die for the people."

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest's courtyard with Jesus. 16 Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. 17 The woman asked Peter, "You're not one of that man's disciples, are you?" "No," he said, "I am not."

18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.

19 Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. 20 Jesus replied, "Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. 21 Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said."

22 Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. "Is that the way to answer the high priest?" he demanded.

23 Jesus replied, "If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I'm speaking the truth, why are you beating me?" 24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

25 Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire, they asked him again, "You're not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying, "No, I am not."

26 But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Didn't I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?" 27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed.


Last night we were in the garden, you know the one outside of Jerusalem that we always went to, Jesus liked to go there and pray and relax, but tonight the peace and quiet there was turned into confusion and chaos. We were relaxing in the garden, some of us were already asleep when all of a sudden there was a lot of noise and the light of torches and lanterns piercing the night, who were these people and what did they want?

Jesus calmly went over to them and asked them who they were after, when they said that they were there to arrest Jesus I was shocked, they had already tried to take him in plenty of times before but he always got out of the situation. Jesus message wasn't accepted by everybody and we lived each day knowing that adversity could pop up at any moment, had they finally gotten the upper hand and caught Jesus off guard, fear went through all of us as we thought of the idea of living without him.

And then just as we began to think that Jesus was surprised by any of this and was powerless to save himself, there was a supernatural power that caused the whole group to stumble backwards and fall down, it looked to me like that was a good time to leave the scene as quickly as possible but Jesus just stood there and waited for them to recover and stand back up.

We were all scared and didn't know what to do, Peter reacted impulsively like he did so much of the time, out of fear he drew his sword and attacked the closest person that he could reach. Poor Peter he hasn't ever been a military man and you could tell by the way he swung that sword. The only target that he could hit was a servants ear, which didn't even last very long because Jesus showed us again that he was still in charge of this situation when he picked the ear up and reattached it.

Jesus told Peter that he was not going to resist, he said that he was not here to do his own will but instead he was going to be obedient to the Father, he had told us many times that this is why he had come to earth.

After the violence that took place, it is a wonder that we weren't all arrested and brought up on charges, but instead the soldiers were ordered to tie up Jesus and they got out of there as fast as they could. They were a little shook up after being thrown to the ground and witnessing an ear being put back onto the servant's head.

Simons fear didn't stop after we left the garden and when I made the arrangements for him to come inside the gate at the High Priest house he was confronted by the gate keeper, the woman asked Peter, "You're not one of that man's disciples, are you?" Why she didn't ask me the same question, we will never know, but I wasn't going to bring it up.

I don't know for sure what Peter was thinking but I know I was still concerned that the religious leaders were going to turn to us and have us arrested too. We knew that they hated Jesus and we were told many times that they would hate us and that we would suffer and may be killed for our beliefs. Are we doing the right thing? Am I really convinced that he is the Son of God? Maybe I am wrong.

After Peter was inside the courtyard he was confronted two more times and asked if he was one of Jesus disciples and two more times he told them that he didn't even have any idea who Jesus was. Did he realize that he had done exactly what Jesus said that he would do? Peter seemed so bold and courageous at times but at other times he was just as fearful as the rest of us.

After Jesus was taken away and I began to calm down, I realized that Jesus told God that he didn't lose any of us, he protected us every time there was an uprising that seemed to put us in danger. Even when they were eager to kill him their anger wasn't turned toward us, in retrospect it seems that we were never in any real danger, he really did protect us.

I didn't want to be a coward, I wanted to be as bold as Peter was when he told Jesus that he would never deny him and yet I am just as terrified and cowardly as Peter had been. I didn't admit to the girl at the gate that I am Jesus disciple, I stood there and watched Peter get questioned again and again and didn't offer him any support. Will I ever be strong and fearless for Jesus?

Matthew 10:28 "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.


Those of us that live in America make it out to be so difficult to admit our faith in Jesus, we are so timid about it when there is so little opposition, nobody is going to throw us on a cross or feed us to the lions and yet we are so nervous. I want to be as bold as Peter turns out to be after Jesus resurrection, after all the doubts about Jesus true identity are cleared up, what a difference in Peter after he sees the ultimate proof of Jesus identity. His death and resurrection were the best evidence we could possibly ask for.


I want to eager to share your good news and bold enough to do it Lord. Help us to live for you in word and in deed so that the world will be drawn to you.