Betrayed and Denied
Pastor Tom Ascol addresses John’s Gospel, Chapter 18, verses 1 through 27 in a message entitled Betrayed, Arrested and Denied for Our Salvation. As events in Jerusalem seem to spin out of control from a human standpoint, as Jesus is betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and arrested by Roman and Jewish authorities, Jesus nonetheless makes it clear that God is still in control, reigning on His throne.
While Judas, one of the twelve disciples, was the one to betray Jesus, this betrayal came as no surprise. Jesus, in Chapter 13 verse 27, had predicted it. Judas led a partnership of Roman soldiers and religious officials to arrest Jesus. Jewish and Gentile authorities had conspired together.
These two groups, normally at odds, came together against Jesus. Even here, in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He was being arrested, Jesus shows no surprise. In yet another display of His use of the words “I Am” Jesus’ power is momentarily revealed as the arresting forces shrink back. Jesus also fulfills prophecy, again showing His sovereignty over these matters, as He provides for the freedom and safety of His followers. Jesus’ arrest leads to His trial. Little did the high priest Caiaphas know the truth of his words spoken earlier telling “the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.” Jesus’ trial would lead to the Cross.
Finally, Peter denies Christ three times even though only hours earlier he had pledged to follow Jesus even unto death. Just as Jesus had predicted, after the third denial a rooster crowed. Peter failed in his time of testing. His first denial led to the easier second and third denial. The lesson to be learned is that we cannot manage our sin; we might fight against sin the first time because one sin leads to other, easier sins. Nevertheless, God is a redemptive God and John’s gospel is to show later Jesus restoring Peter to fellowship.
One point of application Pastor Ascol made is the danger in blindly following religious leaders. Men and women are responsible to follow spiritual guides only as those guides adhere to the truths of Scripture. We should not be like the Pharisees or their followers, the blind leading the blind! A final point showed the necessity of trusting in the One who is sovereign over all that happened then and happens now. We can trust Jesus for our salvation as well as for our earthly lives. Failure to put our trust in the Sovereign of the universe has eternal consequences.