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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday November 15, John 18.1-11

John 18.1-11

1500's anonymous "The Capture of Christ."
18After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples.3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.4Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?”5They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.6When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.7Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Thoughts:  After several rather heady readings we come to the Garden and the moment of Jesus' betrayal and arrest.  Several things strike me as interesting in this little passage.  First of all is the fact that the same question Jesus used in the beginning of the Gospel he uses here again, this time for the guards. "Whom are you looking for?"  Everyone is looking for Jesus, some to follow him and some to get rid of him.  What to make of Peter and his sword?  The servants name means "King" and I think that has to be important--somehow.  Here is a servant named King, and Jesus is a King who becomes a servant.  Both will end up being assaulted by violence.   I wish I had some deep thought to explain this connection, none comes to mind.  But it is interesting.  

Questions:  "I am he" and all the guards step back and fall to the ground.  What do you make of that?   Jesus when saying "I am" is in a sense invoking the divine name.   Does John show us this to remind us that while it is about to get ugly, Jesus is still in charge?

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