Summary: We are going to go through a couple chapters of Scripture from the Gospel of John that takes us from the crucifixion of Jesus to His resurrection from the grave.
A quote from C.S. Lewis says, “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us…like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation on a cruise liner. We are far too easily pleased.”
Such was the case of the disciples after the death of Jesus. He was dead, they lost their joy and went back to their jobs when they should have been standing on the precious promises of God.
Today we are going to go through a couple chapters of Scripture from the Gospel of John that takes us from the crucifixion of Jesus to His resurrection from the grave. He lives. Our Savior lives! The death of Jesus Christ is important because He died to pay the penalty of our sins but His resurrection is also important because it is proof of His victory over sin, death and the grave. This wonderful truth gives the Christian joy even in the most challenging situations.
The resurrection is proof that God the Father accepted His Son’s offering for sin. It also gives us a glimpse of what is to come. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is like a movie trailer that motivates us to get in line at the theater to see the whole movie!
We begin our journey in John chapter 18 where we find Jesus taking His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was the place where Jesus frequently met with His disciples. Judas the traitor, was aware of this, and leads a group of heavily-armed Roman soldiers and temple guards there to arrest Jesus.
But Jesus, being God, knew everything that was going to happen to Him and asks the soldiers, “Who are you looking for?” When they answer, “Jesus of Nazareth”, Jesus says, “I Am He.” The Bible says when Jesus said, “I Am He” they all fell to the ground.
Let me pause for a moment to tell you that when God the Son took upon Himself a body and came the earth to dwell among men, the Bible lets us know that His glory as God was veiled (Philippians 2:6-7; 2 Cor. 4:6.; 1 Tim. 6:15-16). But there are those few times when His glory as “God the Son” seeped out. This was one of those times! When Jesus said, “I Am He” they all were knocked to the ground by the power of the Great I Am!
Back in John chapter 18 we find Peter drawing his sword and cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s slave. All pandemonium was about to break loose when Jesus took charge and told Peter to put his sword back and then says to the Roman soldiers, “Leave the alone and take me.” (18:8)
Jesus was arrested and taken to be interrogated by Annas, who was formerly the High Priest but still had lots of power and influence. Annas questioned Jesus and then sent Him to Caiaphas, Annas’ son-in-law, who was the current High Priest.
The Old Testament teaches us that God made a donkey talk and it appears that He was doing a similar thing when Jesus was with Caiaphas. Not even know what he was saying from his own mouth, Caiaphas prophesies that Jesus would have to die (John 11:49-53; John 18:14). He says, “…it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” Caiaphas didn’t even know the significance of what he was saying. But what he said was true. Jesus died for many so that many could live.
While Jesus was with Annas and Caiaphas, He was beat up by the soldiers and in the morning they Him to Pilate, who was the Roman Governor over the province of Judah.
By the way, where were the disciples? They were nowhere to be found expect for Peter who tried unsuccessfully to blend in with the crowd outside the court of the high priest. When Peter was identified as being one of Jesus’ disciples he denied even knowing Jesus.
Jesus is now with Pilate and Pilate interrogates Him asking if He was “King of the Jews.” Jesus answers in 18:36, “My kingdom does not belong to this world; if my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. No, my kingdom does not belong here!”
After the interrogation Pilate goes before the people and says, “I cannot find any reason to condemn him.” Obviously, Pilate do his homework concerning Jesus. If he would have checked the record in the Old Testament he would have known that Jesus was the Passover Lamb who was without blemish. If he would have checked with the local new reporter, he would have learned that Jesus Himself said, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?”