As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!
Introductions—Accusations happen all the time. Have you ever been accused of something you did not do? And then, the gossip colony gets a hold of nice juicy story and watch out. You are now associated with guilt. You may not even know what is going on and your name is being drug through the mud. It happens.
We have an accuser and His name is Satan, Lucifer, the Evil One, etc. His mission in life is to accuse you of anything that will make your life a living hell. John 10:10b says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Satan is a thief.
Our Lord Jesus is now on the hot seat with authorities. They want to arrest Jesus because He has shaken up the religious system that the leaders had come to love. The Pharisees had power and Jesus was taking it away from them and giving back to God, where it appropriately belonged in the first place. If anyone was guilty of Blasphemy it sure wasn’t Jesus. All they needed to do was look in the mirror. The Pharisees and the Sadducees made up laws to protect their own sinfulness in order to be sinless. All their tracks were covered, and now Jesus had uncovered their pious, prideful, and powerful lifestyles.
The charges that this group was trying to get Jesus on were blasphemy. Blasphemy means to speak about God in the most sacrilegious way. You have zero respect for God. So making yourself equal to God was profane to the religious leaders.
They needed Judas to be the accuser for them, after all he was an insider.
Exodus 34:14—Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Read: John 18:1-14
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.
- Accusations need a testimony – verses 1-9
- Jesus had just finished praying for the world, for His Disciples, and for you and me. He then takes His disciples to a familiar place where they would meet together regularly, the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus wanted to get away from the crowd since it was Passover season and there wouldn’t be any lodging available. Camping was the mode of lodging for the disciples since they were poor.
- Judas knew where to find Jesus since He had been involved in gatherings with the other disciples. The accusers always know where to find what they are looking for.
- Judas leads an entourage of soldiers, leaders, and accusers carrying torches and weapons to arrest Jesus.
- They only needed one more thing to make the arrest legitimate. They needed a testimony. So the question was asked by Jesus, Who is it you want? Jesus didn’t wait for them to ask, He knew why they were there.
- They answered Jesus, with a statement that they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth.
- And Jesus literally blows them away, when he says, “I AM HE.” Much has been made of this proclamation of Jesus statement, “I AM HE.” Some scholars have said that this was the same claim the God gave to Moses, when Moses asked God whom shall I say is sending me in Exodus 3:14—God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
- So if this was the same “I AM” claim, then no wonder they fell to ground.
- I believe that because Jesus was so assuring and had a calm demeanor, not to mention a command, that is why they soldiers were startled. They had come to extract a testimony in order to have the valid accusation they needed to make the proper arrest. I could see them doing a double take as they fell down.
- They may have even been thinking to themselves, “that was too easy” He just admitted to us that He is God, and now we have what we need.
- Jesus makes sure they know what they are doing so He asks again in verse 7, who is it you want?
- The answered again with Jesus of Nazareth. I wonder if they all huddled together and braced each other for Jesus’ answer.
- Jesus says once again, “I AM HE.” But this time, He goes into protection mode. If you can remember from last week, Jesus prayed for God’s protection over His disciples. He loved them and knew they were to fulfill the great commission, which is to go into all the nations to proclaim the Gospel and to baptize believers in the name of the triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus prophetic proclamation that not one of His followers would be lost in verse 9. When a person places their faith in Jesus as Lord, there is no way that you can lose your salvation.
- I don’t know about you, but after being thrown to the ground, and told twice be Jesus that His is the great I AM, and then a prophecy proclamation, I think I would have called a business meeting to reassess the situation. I would have believed that Jesus was the anticipated Messiah!
Illustration—Testimonies are some of the evidence that is needed to make a case for a conviction in the court of law. Eyewitness testimony is the sometimes the best evidence, especially if it comes from a credible witness. It carries a lot of weight.
The irony of accusing Jesus for saying He was God, to me, makes His testimony even more amazing. I would think that if they didn’t believe He was God, then why would they arrest Him. He wasn’t the only one to come along and make those claims.
In any society you have people claiming to be God, or even Jesus. Just Google it and you will be amazed at the list. Of course we don’t accuse them of blasphemy because we think of them as crazy or ludicrous.
Jesus was definitely different because He glorified God and brought all the fame to His Father as He deserved.
Application—Have you believed in the testimony of who Jesus says He is, or who someone else says He is? When was the last time Jesus’ words blew you away?
- Accusations can lead to an arrest-verses 10-14
- Peter takes up for Jesus and defends Him by swinging his sword and cutting off the special deputy to the high priest’s ear. I see that as a courageous act on Peter’s part since 600 highly soldiers were there and could have taken out Peter after this assault.
- Peter proclaimed in John 13:37—Lord, I will lay down my life for you. So, he was keeping his end of the deal.
- Jesus didn’t approve of Peter’s action in verse 11. He tells Peter that He will drink of the cup that His Father has given Him. The cup is connected to Jesus prayer in this very Garden where they stand.
- Matthew 26:39—Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
- Matthew 26:42—He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
- Then it happens, Jesus is arrested. He is bound and taken before Annas who is the father-in-law of Caiaphas. John makes note of this because, Caiaphas was still the real power behind the throne. He still had great influence to make sure things went the way they were supposed to.
- Jesus is on His way to the place of pain and suffering for our sins.
- We are the ones He was loving as He accepted this “cup.”
Illustration—The cup. Jesus’ cup was a heavy cup. His was one that represented the sins of the world. There’s no other cup like it in the world. We all have a cup to bear. Everyone has been given a mission and purpose. Have you found yours?
Conclusion—When we deny Jesus in our lives, we make personal accusations that he really isn’t our Lord. We can get caught up with the majority calling out insults and lies about our God. In a sense, we too arrest Jesus because He isn’t able to be free living through us. We handcuff Him, not allowing Him to do what He came here to do, and that is to set us free from a life of bondage. Jesus is the One you have been looking for. He says to you this morning “I AM HE!”
Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,