Summary: The world is dark. It seems like God has lost the battle. Did the darkness win the war? Maybe you need to look up for the answer Mary.
DID THE DARKNESS WIN?
THEME: CHRIST HAS OVERCOME THE DARKNESS FOR MAN.
The world is dark. Two planes become two missiles, two towers become two piles of rubble, and thousands of families become fatherless and motherless. One man’s regime exterminates 6 million Jews to make room for a master Aryan race. A teenager boards a bus, detonates a bomb, and blows up everything in sight. Serial killers terrorize entire cities, child predators prey on the innocent and helpless, school buildings become crime scenes, individuals are abused physically, sexually, emotionally, and verbally, people are murdered because they are of a different race. The world is dark. A mom murders her children, a husband stabs his wife, a wife runs over her husband who has been cheating on her. Millions of babies are aborted before they are ever given a chance at life. 14,000 pornographic web sites powering a multi-billion dollar industry pollute the internet. The local news is a commentary on the darkness of the world. The world is dark.
Has God lost the fight? Did God lose the battle? Sometimes it seems this way. It seems that God is no longer in control, but Satan has stolen the victory. The world is sinful and dark. We hear accounts of the church dying. We hear stories about abuse, murder, division. We read statistics about fewer people attending church. So has Satan won? Has the darkness over the Savior?
The disciples felt this way. The disciple thought God has lost. You would have too. John 18:2-3 states “Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place; for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.” One of Jesus’ own disciples is selling out his Savior. He leads the soldiers to Christ to arrest him. There are about 200 to 600 hundreds soldier there to take Christ into custody. These odds are impossible to defend against. There is no way this battle can be won. The disciples seem to be on the wrong side this time. Jesus cannot escape like he did before. The darkness is winning. But just when you think that Jesus is powerless to defend himself. He blows on the people the breath of “I AM.” In verse 6 of chapter 18, the cohorts of soldiers tumble to the ground. The power of the presence of Christ is still in control.
Peter seeing this sign of power and might lines up with Jesus. John 18:10 “Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.” Peter is brave and confident that the victory will go to God. He is willing to fight to the death with Christ by his side. Peter at this point knows who is most powerful. Peter is no fool. He is on the winning team. He is begging for a fight. He is challenging the soldiers with his actions. He is taunting his adversary. I darn you to fight. As long as Jesus is with him, he can overcome the impossible odds. As long as Jesus is with him, he can defeat hundreds of soldiers. Peter feels that God will overcome the darkness at this point.
We are like Peter. When it seems like Jesus is in control we are fighting on his side. When it seems like the winning team is God’s, we line up with the Lord. Humans like to be on the winning team. At church camp every year, high school boys and girls would completely change their tune. The same teenagers that would never be at any devotional or service project would be speaking up like dedicated Christians. These were the same boys and girls that would too busy drinking and partying on the weekends to be at church. When being a Christian was cool, they changed their stripes. But when being a non-Christian was cool, they played that tune also. This is like the man who has the holy look on his face during church. He prays a beautiful prayer. He watches his tongue and makes spiritual comments during class. But at work he is cursing, telling dirty jokes, and going to the bar with the boys after work. In the presence of Christ he is one man, but he is another at other times.
Instead of Jesus engaging in combat, Jesus tells Peter to put away his sword. Jesus submits to go with the soldiers. Jesus is going to have a mock trial. He is going to have to stand before Annas and Caiaphas. Peter has to watch Jesus be bound and arrested. Jesus is led away by the power of men. Peter is watching these events unfold. It seems like Jesus is at the mercy of man. This once powerful man seems to be helpless. He is being persecuted by these leaders. And Peter is watching all of this. He must be second guessing him. Maybe he chooses the wrong team to be on. Maybe he is not sure that Christ is going to get out of this one. It says in John 18:15-16 “And Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought in Peter.” Peter is there with Jesus. He is watching the darkness prevail. It seems like maybe Satan has won.