It’s Easter week. Every Easter week for as long as I can remember I have had this roller coaster of emotions. Jesus was beaten and died on a cross for me. Me. I feel guilt and heartbreak. Jesus rose from the dead, conquering the grave, three days later. Amazed. I am overwhelmed by His power and love and passion for me. Though the emotions are nearly the same every year, it never gets old. It is the greatest story ever told in our history. The most important story of our lives.
Thanks to our pastoral staff, this year I was amazed by a different part of the Easter story. A part I had known but never really considered as much.
When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” – John 18:1-11
It’s a common story on Easter week right? We have heard it before, Jesus is arrested. If you are like me you usually breeze past this part and focus on what happens next. But I would like to challenge you to linger here for a little while. Linger here and just think about what a different kind of King Jesus is. He is a different kind of king than we are used to seeing isn’t He?
I don’t want you to miss what happens in verse 6.
When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
What other King in the history of the world has ever had his captures bow before him? The guards came to the garden and Jesus asked them who they were looking for. He responded saying He was the Jesus they were searching for and they instantly fell to the ground. Jesus didn’t hesitate to show His authority to these soldiers. They literally could not even stand at the recognition of who He was! No other king in history has ever shown his authority in such a way that He was able to bring His captors to their knees and then simply allow Himself to be taken. Powerful leaders and rulers throughout time have even recognized this anomaly.
Why did He do this? Why would He let Himself be taken captive when He had the authority to stop it all? The answer is simple . . . me. He did it for me, and for you. What kind of king is this Jesus?
The other thing I want you to see is in verse 8.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
King Jesus speaks on my behalf. He stands between God and me; a God that can not be in the presence of my sin. This King bridges the gap for me. If you think about any other king in history, he would send his armies out to defend him at the first sign of trouble. But not Jesus. He says, “it’s me you want. Let them go.” A King serving His servants. Have you considered this King before?
Jesus saw Himself as secondary to the plans of His Father. In verse 11 He says “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jesus knows what is about to take place to Him. He knows the pain and torture that will fall upon Him. Yet He chooses to follow through with His purpose here on earth because of us. What other king would do that? It doesn’t make sense does it?
I challenge you this week to consider this King. I challenge you to share your King with someone else. As we head into the greatest weekend in our history let us celebrate what a good, good King Jesus is! A King that has all the authority of Heaven and yet chooses to serve me by dying on a cross. He is a good King. He is a good Father. He is everything.