The Divine Display of Love and Obedience
Truth Taught- Through Jesus’ display of divine love and obedience, He purchased us for His own.
Last time we were together we began chapter 18. We saw some truly amazing things concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw that Jesus is the Second Adam…He accomplished the things the first Adam failed to accomplish. When Satan walked up to Him indwelling Judas Jesus did not step back like the first Adam did but instead stepped up looked Satan in the eye. He had to make it easy to be apprehended because His time had now come. We also saw last time that Jesus is God the Son. We saw that when He announced to the crowd who came to arrest Him that He is the I AM that the entire Roman army and all with them fell to the ground under the weight of being in the presence of God.
John 18:6 (ESV)
6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Last time we saw amazing power of Christ. We also learned that with such power the only way He would ever be crucified was if God wanted Him to be. No one would take His life but He would lay it down for His people.
This is where we pick things up today…
In seeing the love and devotion Jesus had for His Father should encourage us to love God in much the same way as Jesus did. Our need is to see the Father like He did and then we too will love Him and serve Him faithfully. God open our eyes to see You and Your glory in and through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen
John 18:7–11 (ESV)
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?”
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.”
When our Lord shows love to us, it’s not some wishy-washy love. It’s not love that is shown only when things go well. It’s not a love like the world loves. His love is a love that is eternal and sacrificial. It’s a love shown to us from the most powerful Being is the cosmos.
1 John 4:10 (ESV)
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Let us first note that the love of God is self-originating. That is to say, it does not arise from something outside of God but is inherent to His own divine nature. For fallen human beings, it is often the case that something outside of ourselves motivates us to love another person. We do not, in our fallen nature, love that which is unlovely. That this is not true of God is evident by the statement “God is love.” God’s love is not dependent on the loveliness of the creatures He has chosen to love.
Lest anyone doubt this, the supreme example of God’s love given to us in verse 10 confirms this idea. We read in this verse that we see God’s love preeminently in His sending of Jesus for our redemption. God’s love for us does not rest on any account of our own loveliness. In fact, God loves us despite the fact we were not at all lovely. We were sinners by nature, deserving only His wrath. Despite all of this, God loved us and sent Jesus to be a propitiation — to satisfy His justice and turn His wrath away from us. As John Calvin comments on this passage, “Christ, then, is so illustrious and singular a proof of divine love towards us, that whenever we look upon him, he fully confirms to us the truth that God is love.”
Greek philosophy at the time of John’s writing asserted that the highest form of love was love for that which was worthy of being loved. But if God is love, and if His sending of Jesus is the supreme example of His love, then we see the highest form of love is to love the unlovely. Moreover, as Jesus is God and sacrificed Himself for us, we can see we love as God loves only when we are willing to sacrifice ourselves. This may involve giving up our lives (3:16), but even if it does not, it does mean we freely give of ourselves in deeds of self-denial to those who are seemingly unworthy of such love.
God’s love for us takes the initiative. God is always the First-Mover in our lives. He takes the initiative as He shows love to us. God is not waiting around for us to love Him first and then based on that He shows love toward us. He loves us while we are the most unlovely.
Romans 5:6–11 (ESV)
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Do you see how God moves first to show love to His people? While we were weak and ungodly Christ died for us. God’s love is shown at the time when we were still lost in our sin…still sinners as Paul puts it its then at that time Christ came and died for us. Divine love does not wait but acts and acts quickly; Paul even tells us that Divine love is operating while we are even God’s enemies. It’s at the point that we were His enemies that He reconciled us to Himself. Who does the work in our being reconciled to God? God does.
Divine love keeps us and shapes us into the image of Jesus Christ. Christ saves us from the wrath of God due to our sin.
Here in our passage today, at the arrest of Jesus, our Lord was thinking about His disciples. He knew that He came to die. He knew the Father’s will was to go to the cross to pay for the sins of His people. Jesus also knew how fragile His followers faith was. He knew that if the promise He made about not ever loosing even one disciple was to remain true that they would need to be let go and not arrested like He was about to be. So, with the same authority used when He had just pressed the entire legion of soldiers to the ground He makes a demand that His followers be let go.
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.”
Because God is in the process of conforming us to the image of Christ we too should seek to show others active and aggressive love. Like God’s love we should seek to not wait but show love quickly and purposefully. Godly love seeks to meet real needs the other person has. Godly love takes the initiative and doesn’t wait to be asked but sees a need and goes after it. Divine love is sacrificial and cares more for others than for itself. How can you show God’s love to others?
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?”
Well there’s Peter…He’s feeling pretty bold here. Jesus just caused the entire Roman Legion to fall to the ground with two words. He was especially bold standing next to Jesus.
Luke reports that at this point the disciples all were emboldened by this event and cried out…
Luke 22:49 (ESV)
49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
The intense scene is that of the disciples fighting against the army of Roman soldiers to protect Jesus. While this was noble on one hand, this was not the will of God. God didn’t desire to protect Jesus here. This was the time for our Lord’s death.
Peter’s intention was to fight his way through the crowd. He was swinging the sword to cut off Malchus’ head. He must have ducked or flinched so that Peter missed and only cut off his ear rather than his head.
This is one of those time when the disciples were actually working against what Jesus was trying to accomplish. This was one of those, get behind me Satan moments.
Jesus was not an earthly king who needed His followers to protect Him. Had He so chosen, He could have called on far greater army to come to His rescue than an inexperienced ban of fishermen.
Matthew 26:53 (ESV)
53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
The bottom line here is that Peter and the others still did not understand why Jesus came. They were not going to be part of an earthly political movement to free the Jews from Roman domination but instead a heavenly King saving His people from their sin and ushering in the heavenly kingdom by means of the cross and our Lord’s death.
God’s will for Jesus had eternal consequences.
We often think how shortsighted the disciples were. We wonder why they didn’t understand what Jesus was accomplishing for them. Beloved are we any different? They lived in the day when God’s kingdom was beginning. When Jesus came the first time He brought the Kingdom of God with Him. That’s why our Lord’s sermons and John the Baptist’s as well had a central theme…repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. While Peter and the others were thinking of an earthly kingdom Jesus was thinking of a heavenly kingdom.
We too think too much about an earthly kingdom and not nearly enough about the coming heavenly kingdom. One day our Lord is returning and will He find us faithful? Will He find us focused on Him, His glory, and His Kingdom or our own kingdom we are seeking to build. You see when we have our focus on earthly things we are just like the disciples who didn’t understand the magnitude of what Christ was about to accomplish for all of us who are His.
Our Lord had one all encompassing thought. It’s like He lived His life with blinders on to everything except His Father’s will. He was so willing to devote His life to the Father’s will that when the will of God had Jesus drinking the cup that the Father gave Him He was willing to go that great distance too.
The Cup is the cup of God’s wrath.
Here’s what we must see here…
Normally, in every other example God’s cup of wrath and judgment is poured out on evil, sinful humanity.
Psalm 75:8 (ESV)
8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.
Isaiah 51:17 (ESV)
17 Wake yourself, wake yourself,
stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
the bowl, the cup of staggering.
Revelation 14:9–10 (ESV)
9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
Many other verses exist which liken God’s cup to a cup full of wrath that He pours out on lost humanity.
But here, something is very different, something that does not make sense. Why would the Father give His Son the cup of His wrath to drink?
Here we enter into the miracle of our salvation. We must never loose sight of the fact that the cup Jesus drank to the bottom was the wrath of God that we should have drank. The cup of judgment should have been ours. We should have been on the cross, we should have been accused and tried and beaten and mocked and scourged and crucified.
However, because Jesus willingly took it from the Father’s hand and drank it for us, the cup of God’s wrath is empty for all who are in Christ. No wrath left because it was all poured out on Jesus.
Paul really sums it up well in one verse…
2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Do you see the wonderful gospel that Jesus the innocent Son of God took our place and for us drank the wrath of God and we are free now to love and serve Him with all our strength.
So, the Son’s amazing obedience truly changed everything for us. Obedience is like that.
We could never offer God such extravagant obedience as His Son did but we must realize one amazing truth. Our obedience will positively affect others for God’s glory. Our obedience cannot save anybody but it will greatly honor God who can and will save others. Just like we don’t sin in a vacuum, we are also not obedient in a vacuum.
As we are conformed to Christ’s image in our obedience we are fulfilling our calling…
Romans 8:28–30 (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
According to this verse, salvation’s end is not getting us to heaven. Salvation’s end is to produce a people who think and act like Jesus. There is a great calling for God’s people to act like God’s people.
1 Corinthians 15:47–49 (ESV)
47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
 RC Sproul