Today has been pretty standard so far. And by that I mean that I’ve rescued a sneaky baby (but-almost-toddler) from trying to eat every inedible item in our house and yard, consoled my son through the travails of learning how to read, and tried to figure out why my second oldest thought that grass clippings would make good dining room table decor.
But at the same time, there’s nothing ordinary about today or any day in the life of anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and has life in His name (See John 20:30-31).
I reviewed John 18 while I was sweeping up after breakfast. Once again, Jesus floored me:
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” – John 18:1-9
The call given in the gospel of John to the readers is to believe in Jesus. Citing monergism.com: “John used the verb believe 98 times, which is more than all the uses in the Synoptic Gospels combined.” (Read more here )
The way that the Spirit worked through to John convey this to the reader is so incredible. There’s no ambiguity or room for debate: Jesus is equal with God. He is God. (5:18, 10:30) And because of His love for us, the Spirit doesn’t stop there in the explanation. He tells us exactly what God is like, so that we may know the One in Whom we are invited to believe.
He’s the kind of King Who knows everything that’s going to happen to Him during the crucifixion. He steps forward willingly. He isn’t like us or like our leaders, making vague promises and only occasionally keeping them . Everything He does is consistent with what He’s said to His disciples leading up to that moment:
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” – John 10:17-18
John also gives us many examples of people believing in Jesus to encourage us to do likewise and show us what true belief looks like and how it works itself out in real life.
- The woman at the well & her fellow Samaritan villagers:
“They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.””
- The official who asked Jesus to heal his son:
“The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household.” – John 4:53
- Peter, after several of Jesus’ followers peaced out following a tough sermon:
“So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
- Thomas…and also every Christian who has believed without seeing Jesus like Thomas did:
“Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Blessed indeed! I have life in my Savior’s name. I have joy in the mundane activities that I do every day, knowing that Jesus is with me and that my labor in Him is never in vain. I have hope even when death comes unexpectedly to fellow Christians and even to those who haven’t professed belief. Christ left the grave behind. He will raise every person and judge each one perfectly fairly (John 5:19-29, Revelation 20:11-15).
I can trust God to sustain my brothers and sisters who are walking through terrifying persecution, dreadful diseases, and every kind of challenge. This spurs me to keep calling on His Name and to love others as He has loved me.
If you haven’t yet believed, don’t hesitate! If you do believe, keep seeking to know Him more and more until the glorious day when we will surely see our Lord and our God.