“I am he,” Jesus said… “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
—John 18:5, 11
As we’ve traveled with Jesus to Jerusalem, we’ve seen that he is not a pawn on a chessboard moved about by an unseen force. He is the Son of God on a mission! And this mission will bring him to intense suffering and death on a cross and then to victory over death—all for our sake!
Today’s reading follows an intense time of teaching and prayer on Jesus’ final evening with his disciples. Just a little while earlier, he prayed fervently for himself, his disciples, and his future followers (John 17). What follows is an encounter with Judas, his betrayer, and some officials and soldiers sent by the ruling religious leaders.
Reminding us of who’s in charge, John writes that “Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him,” approached the soldiers and asked, “Who is it you want?” When they said they were looking for Jesus, he stated boldly, “I am he!” And as the King spoke, they all fell to the ground!
After another round of questioning Jesus said with authority, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
Jesus had a cup of suffering and death to drink, and nothing would prevent him from taking it, for the sake of all whom he would save. He submitted to his Father’s will (Luke 22:42). Knowing our Father’s will, we must also submit and obey.
Dear Jesus, again we are amazed at your willingness to suffer and die for our sake. Empower us to do your will, wherever and whenever we can. In your name, Amen.
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