First of all, it is beyond incredible to hold in my hands the words of the Son of God. Salvation Himself. The very words he spoke, for them and us, and to read them all these years later. For guidance as real and tangible as it was when the smell of his sweat was caught by those closest to him.
I have been going through the Gospel of John, specifically to look at what Jesus said. He ministered for roughly three years and from that we were given four books. Much of them overlap (which is for a purpose all on its own) but when you get down to it, Jesus made every word count. He knew his time was short and that every conversation, every relationship carried everlasting importance.
I want to just touch for a moment on what He has taught me from Chapter 18. We enter the scene just after Jesus has spent a deep time of prayer with His Father: primarily for his disciples and us, future believers. The guards, led by Judas, come to arrest Jesus. Jesus makes himself clear, so that none of his disciples would get injured during the arrest. Simon Peter lashes out with sword in hand and de-ears Malchus, a servant of the high priest. Jesus shouts, Put your sword away! (v. 11)
Fast-forward now to verse 28. Our Savior is led before Pilate. A conversation ensues which leads to the release of Barabbas, a murderer. But I would like to highlight verse 31: Pilate said, Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.
This passage holds countless lessons, but what I see first is one on strife. We all battle people at one point or another; whether at work or school – pretty much any place where there is more than one person, a disagreement is inevitable. Some fights are verbal, others physical, but here in the States most are mental. We quietly judge, couch-side protesters and living room activists. We’ll endorse hate and start riots, as long as we are behind a screen and our weapons of choice are not clubs, but keyboards.
But aside from our methods, look at our justification. Take him, the Son of God who none can bear legitimate witness against, yourselves, since you elevate yourselves worthy of such judgment, and judge him, do not merely complain but act on the darkness of your hearts, by your own law – by the logic and finiteness of your own life, your own understanding, your own standards – judge him by the very things you cannot live up to.
I tell you the truth, the torture did not begin with the first blow from the guards, it began with the words of those He had come to save.
Just as the Bible, God’s Word, is the Sword of the Spirit; so they unleashed their swords, the sting of their words. Remember, Jesus was fully human. And on that day he felt the pierce of man’s words against his heart more so than any of us could dare imagine.
Our greatest call is to be the body He has called us to. To love one another, as the Father loved him and He loved us. As much as it was a rebuke to Peter, so it is to us; Put your sword away and do not judge by your own law. We are together one body with Christ as our Head, one family with God as our Father.
What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?