The Point of No Return

The Point of No Return

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Each weekday morning, we’re going to spend a few minutes in a passage in John. Here’s the goal: read it, pray it, share it. Every post will have a passage of Scripture, a short prayer, and a question to meditate on and talk about. In a few minutes every day, we can prepare our hearts for all that God has planned in this season of Lent. 

Read: John 18:1-12
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?” [12] So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. (ESV)

This is the turning point, the moment of no return. If Jesus wanted to put on the breaks, he had to do it here. A few chapters earlier, Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:27). This was Jesus's purpose. Now that the time was right, he had to die. It was the only way to pay for sin and the only way to bring people back to God.

Throughout the scene, Jesus is in control. Even when he speaks to the soldiers, they fall to the ground. It brings something else Jesus said earlier to mind, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:17-18).

This was all according to God’s plan. Jesus willingly went to his death, which makes it all the sweeter. He laid down his life on our behalf. Then he took it back up so we can be with him. What man intended for evil, God intended for good. 

Lord, you sent your son to willingly go to the cross for my sake. Even in the Garden, he didn’t stop the guards but went on to an unjust trial and an untimely death. Thank you for the cross and for the sacrifice. Remind me of this tremendous act of love when I need to think about it today. Amen.

What were the disciples doing and thinking when Judas and the soldiers came to arrest Jesus? Why did Jesus allow himself to be arrested?

What difference does it make that Jesus went to the cross willingly?
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