THURSDAY, JULY 13 | JOHN 18
Do you remember when you learned the truth about Santa? Did you argue with a friend that Santa was real? Did you behave so well the month of December just so you could find that joy on Christmas morning? Your beliefs in Santa were so strong, that they totally changed your attitude, your thoughts, and your behavior. In this chapter, we’ll learn about the fear of Simon Peter, the misguided beliefs of the Jewish leaders, and the spiritual kingdom where Christ reigns supreme.
Read John 18:1-14
Despite all the times that Pharisees attempted to arrest or murder Jesus, the time had finally come. Yet, the detachment of soldiers who approached Jesus “fell back” at the declaration that He was, in fact, Jesus of Nazareth. What does this say about the power of Jesus and the recognition the soldiers had of Jesus’ power? While it was only Jesus against some soldiers, Jesus obviously had the power to defeat them. However, Jesus knew what was to be done. Simon Peter, obviously not desiring that Jesus be taken away, attempts to protect Jesus. What does Jesus say in response to Simon Peter’s actions? Why was Jesus so at peace with His arrest?
Read John 18:15-18
Just as Jesus had predicted, this was Peter’s first denial. While it may not have been elaborate and grandiose, it was a denial. A young servant girl, considered as one of the lowest parts of the social structure at the time, asked him and he denied knowing Jesus. It is amazing that such a simple act has such a great repercussion. Why do you think God would plan to use a servant girl to fulfill what Jesus had prophesied for Peter’s denials?
Read John 18:19-24
The ultimate shaming is soon coming for Jesus. Remember that it was not long ago that Jesus was honored at a feast, rode into the city on a donkey while the ground was covered in palms, and recognized as the son of God by many. Notice that there is an intersection of faith in God and politics happening as the downfall of Jesus. For it is not the high priest who strikes Jesus, but a nearby official.
Read John 18:25-27
Here, Simon Peter fulfills the prophecy made by Jesus. Just as Simon Peter denies Christ for the third time, the crow of the rooster is heard. What do you think is the significance of the rooster’s crow? When do you normally hear rooster’s crow? What new day is coming for the disciples?
Read John 18:28-40
Pilate is the Roman Governor at the time and was in charge of officially sentencing criminals. As Pilate questions the Jewish leaders and Jesus himself, what charge does he officially place against Jesus? Nothing! Yet, when the question of who should be released, an uprising leader named Barabbas or Jesus, they chose Barabbas. Pilate, often criticized for sentencing Jesus, was left with no choice. As a political figure, he could not go against both the Jewish leaders and the crowd gathered outside. Later on, when Pilate asks, “What is truth?”, his truth is based in the laws, Caesar, and military might. What is Jesus’ truth based on? Does the truth of God connect with the truth of the political system in our world?
The death, and resurrection, of Christ is the foundation to everything that Christians believe. However, through studying these verses, what do you recognize about how Jesus responds to political pressure? He escapes political pressure by focusing on heavenly things. Do you ever get caught up in the pressures of the world when, really, you need to refocus on what God has planned to guide your steps? What steps does God have planned for you today? How can you live out your faith today in a way that reflects the flaws of human nature and the gift of freedom found in Christ?