Delivered Up for Me
Bible Reading: John 18
“(He) loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). So wrote the Apostle Paul regarding Jesus. He spoke in personal terms regarding His Savior. He understood that Jesus purposed in love to deliberately offer Himself up for his sins. His testimony regarding Jesus is shared by every believer in Christ. You and I can rejoice in the same truth, “Jesus loved me and gave himself for me!”
Jesus was well aware of “all that would happen to him” (John 18:5). He warned His disciples of His pending suffering and death on many occasions (Mark 8:31). He predicted Judas’ betrayal before it happened (John 13:11, 19). He had spoken of the “cup” He would drink (Mark 10:38). It was a cup the Father had given to him. Earlier Jesus had labored, sorrowful of soul, in prayer concerning it. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
The events recorded in John chapter 18 were not matters of mere happenstance. They were not accidental occurrences which worked to bring about an unforeseen calamity, or supposed premature end to a “good man’s” life. The death of the divine Son of God was according to the predetermined plan of God (Acts 2:23). God purposed all along to send His only begotten Son to suffer and die for our sins (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). In His cross–and in all the events which led up to His sacrifice–Jesus fully and willingly submitted Himself to the Father’s will (John 17:4).
A company of Judas-led men came “with lanterns and torches and weapons” to arrest Him (John 18:3). It was no small group and included “a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees” (John 18:3). They came with torches to search for him, yet He did not hide. They came with weapons to overcome any resistance, but He did not resist. The mere affirmation of His identity, “I am He,” caused them all to draw back and fall to the ground (John 18:6). Nevertheless Jesus voluntarily gave Himself up and was bound by them. Had He chosen to resist, all the armies of the world would not have been able to arrest and bind Him. But He had already bound Himself to the will of the Father and that bond would ultimately work to bind Him to the cross.
Despite having been forewarned, Peter did not fully understand the events which were transpiring. His response? “He drew (his sword) and struck the priest’s servant and cut off his right ear” (John 18:10). What was his plan? Defeat the enemies of Christ “one ear at a time?” Matthew’s gospel includes the rest of Jesus’ response to Peter’s ill-advised effort: “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so’” (Matthew 26:52-54)?
Jesus could have called “twelve legions of angels” to rescue Him, but He did not. Instead He chose to subject Himself to the Father’s will. In so doing He fulfilled numerous, specific, and centuries-old prophecies. The words “fulfill” and “fulfilled” are used repeatedly in the passion account to describe His obedient response. He loved me and gave Himself for me! Every step towards that cruel cross was fueled by His unwavering desire to fulfill the Father’s will in rescuing lost sinners like us!
Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and giving Yourself up for me! We are awestruck as we read of how Your loving devotion to the Father led you along on the way to the cross! Nothing could work to deter You from finishing that which You had purposed to do! And we are the glad-hearted recipients of Your loving sacrifice! May our hearts ever rejoice in it!
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptur’d soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.