Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Agape Bible Study text – Good Friday – “Ear” today and gone tomorrow

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Agape Bible Study text – Good Friday – “Ear” today and gone tomorrow – 03/25/2016

Last supper has just happened, remind the folks of what was spoken about last year.

John 18:1 (ESV) 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. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 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. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Main points from this text…

  • Verse 1) Jesus made it easy to be captured, he retreated to a place that Jesus “often met with disciples” (verse 2)
  • Judas procured a “band of soldiers” Here is how a Roman Army detachment was made up

Roman Army definitions
Centurion – Was in charge of at least 100 soldiers
Legion – Reserves would count a Legion of 500 conscripts or 600 soldiers in times of conflict, bear in mind the time or revolutions and revolts (such as the revolt of the Maccabees) and the nature of the uneasy Government in Israel at that time it is fair to say that that number would have been 600.
Band – a tenth of a legion, Legions were assembled in battle into bands that were ten across.

Judas brought up to 60 soldiers of the empire that was so highly trained that it conquered most of Southern Europe, the Middle East and much of the Northern Coast of Africa. They were taking no chances having the following group marching into the garden some 60 soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and Pharisees. I think that it’s fair to say they would be noticed.

The reason for this is simple, this is not the first time Jesus was close to arrest, they sought to arrest him in John chapter 10 chapter 39 but that was while he was teaching so that would have been during the day, so they are taking no chances now doing this away from the crowd with excessive force.

In the UK it is quite often for children to say “you and whose Army?” if they believe that they are quite superior to their opponent or “come back with all your friends and we will make it a fair fight?” if they are boasting, Jesus was showing that in both those scenarios he was mightier Because Judas was flanked by the might of Rome, can you imagine how proud he must have been having been able to muster up that kind of back up? There are times when we rally and rally and think we are on the right side, this is one of those times! Can you think when you have done this?

• They asked for “Jesus of Nazareth” Jesus said “I am he” twice (verse 6 & 8) the He is italicized so it was not in the original transcript and was added later by the translators. So Jesus was saying I am.

• Jesus says “I am” and the excessive force brigade fall backwards – In a pretty humble declaration of who had all the power in this scenario, what a declaration that you can come with your mighty army but you have nothing on Jesus Christ and for me it is a foreshadow of the final battle in Revelation.

• Despite having all the power, Jesus submits to his father’s plan – The following phrases let me know that Jesus knew this was his time “if you seek me, let these men go” and “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

• Peter cuts off Malchus ear, this is important in the next part of scripture…

John 18:15 (ESV) Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

John 18:25 (ESV) Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Jesus told Peter that despite his boasting he would deny that he even knew him before the end of that day (see John 13)

John 13:36 (ESV) Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Peter was not under major duress when he did this, but he was scared because the guy he believed was the Son of God had just been arrested and all of his friends scattered in various directions. From Peter’s situation this was as grim as it got, he was brave enough to follow to see where they took Jesus but he stood out with the door far away to not be pulled in and easily enough to escape if the situation got too hot, but close enough to hear what was going on.

Many of us live our Christian lives like Peter, brave with a sword (in the church assembly and often the loudest voices where they can get “Christian kudos”) but cowards where it really matters, when it is not popular to stand with Jesus, and in Peters case a coward before a servant girl (v18) who was sent out to collect Peter to draw him in to where Jesus was.

Peter is scared and tries to blend in at this point and uses the fire to warm himself and to merge into the background, unfortunately the fire lights up his face and the guys who had been in the garden with him (who made the fire in verse 18) less than a few hours previously ask him if he was there. (Remember Peter had cut one of their ears off so they are gonna remember him!) and Peter denies a second time.

Then lastly a relative of the “earectomy” who in all likelihood was right next to him when it happened and certainly would have heard about this because in those days if you lost an ear in battle, if they were able to reattach it we know there would be a mark of some kind. Jesus fixed it whole so that in itself is noteworthy.

Peter relies on himself and his courage fails for a third time and immediately the rooster crows (like Jesus said it would) and Peter cries because of his love for the Lord and he knows he blew it! Just like Peter, we have blown it in so many ways and again just like Peter we have been redeemed, some of us have not taken up that gift of salvation and others are not living according to God will in our lives. As we take communion please think about confessions, things that you need to change in your life and if you need to then beg Jesus for forgiveness of your sins.

Communion text

Explain relationship with Jesus and give a chance to repent of sins

1st Corinthians 11:23 (ESV) For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Let’s take a moment in prayer and let’s take the Communion together as a family

Take the bread

Take the cup

We come together to proclaim not just Christ’s death but also the resurrection of Jesus that we symbolically celebrate on Easter Sunday and make an invitation to church on Easter Sunday.

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