Day 22 – Leaders of the people capture Jesus
Bible reading: John 18:1–7, 12–13
Soldiers take Jesus to the leader of the priests
Judas, who sold Jesus to his enemies, was standing there with the soldiers.
Why did the Jewish religious leaders hate Jesus so much? It was partly because they were jealous of his popularity with the people. It was partly because they thought he was teaching people the wrong things about God’s kingdom. He was not very concerned with what they considered as the essential ways to be pleasing to God. Things like how to keep the Sabbath holy, how to worship and how to obey many small rules in daily personal life.
The religious leaders also feared that Jesus’ great popular support would cause the Romans to destroy the country. Fear, jealousy and strict opinions still keep people from the true person of Jesus.
‘Who are you looking for?’ Jesus asked the angry crowd who had come to arrest him.
‘Jesus from Nazareth,’ they reply.
In our English translations, Jesus replies ‘I am he.’ But that fails to give the original meaning of his two words, actually ‘I am’. That was God’s name which God had revealed to Moses centuries before. God is the ‘I am’ – the ever-living One (Exodus 3:14). Every Jew knew that.
The soldiers step back
And that is why the soldiers stepped back, and fell to the ground in respect and fear. No more secrets about who Jesus is. He brings the ever-living God into human history. That is why his followers rejoice to worship him.