John 18: Jesus Knows, Jesus Keeps, Jesus Controls
Too many times my days seem like a blur of tension, expecting something to be difficult or disappointing, struggling with things that are difficult and disappointing, or looking back with resentment at things that were difficult and disappointing.
In other words, I often act as if I am living alone, with no guidance or support from heaven. I act as if I know little about God as Creator and Father. I stress out as if Jesus were not my Lord, and as if I had no divine Helper.
I act as if I'm ignorant.
From this passage we can see how false those emotions are, and we can draw three big ideas about Jesus:
- Jesus knows everything that will happen,
- and all that belongs to him he keeps,
- and he controls all events.
Big Idea #1: Jesus knows all that will happen.
John 18:4 (ESV) Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”
This same word appears in an earlier chapter:
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1
Some might point out that these references specify only that Jesus know what would happen to him, not what would happen to others not connected with him. However, everything is connected to Jesus:
In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:2-3
Jesus has been given all things: the earth, heaven...and us. We live and breathe only by the power given us as he upholds the universe!
So, Jesus knows all that will happen. He knows when and how and why each specific difficulty and disappointment will hit us.
However, some might wonder if knowing leads to caring.
Big Idea #2: Jesus keeps (guards) all those who belong to him.
John 18:9 (ESV) This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”
Not one person given to Jesus has been given to destruction or lost to ruin, death or punishment.
Jesus earlier said,
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:12
More than only knowing what specific things will happen to those that concern him, Jesus cares for them. He has his eye upon them always, guarding and preserving them from destruction, ruin, punishment and death. We may suffer difficulties and disappointments, even overwhelming tragedy on earth, but our ultimate destiny is not destruction, ruin, punishment and death.
However, some might ask, "If Jesus knows, and he cares, why allow these earthly difficulties and disappointments? Why allow overwhelming tragedy on earth? Does not the One Who knows and cares have control over these events?"
Big Idea #3: Jesus willingly faced pain and death because he knew it was according to the plan of God the Father.
John 18:11 (ESV) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Repeatedly, Jesus had said to his disciples that he was on a mission from God:
My Father is working until now, and I am working. John 5:17
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. John 5:19-20
I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 5:30
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 6:38
And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”John 8:29
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
I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. John 17:4
The One Who created all things and upholds all things moment by moment, absolute control over all things and all events, willingly submitted himself to fulfilling a mission given him by his Father. The mission would bring overwhelming personal tragedy, and Jesus was well aware of the certainty of pain and disappointment:
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
But Jesus knew the plan. He knew that God was good, and his power was complete.
What does this all mean for us?
If this is all true (and we believe it is) what should be our response? What things should we ask God to change concerning our hearts, minds and daily lives?