Today we want to focus on Two small windows that show something of the magnitude of Jesus great love.
JOHN 18:3- A mob came, led by Judas and the Chief priests and church officials. They came with lanterns and torches and weapons! What a contrast. Seeking the Light of the World with torches! How often attacks on the Truth are made by artificial lights and carnal weapons!
Imagine the angry crowd coming to the Good Shepherd with weapons! Little did they know of His willingness to be led as a lamb to the slaughter. He had no plan but to drink the cup. He came to die. They were a quart low when it came to true spiritual knowledge. Never think that mob captured Jesus. It was not the mob who apprehended Jesus but He Who submitted to them. He offered Himself as a sacrifice.
18:4-- "Who seek ye?" Notice Jesus was the first to speak. He did not wait to be attacked. He is in charge.
"Who is it you want?" Why did the mob not say: WE WANT YOU!? They may not have recognized Him. It takes more than mechanical lanterns and pine pitch torches to discover Jesus. If you are seeking Jesus you start with surrender.
As soon as Jesus said I AM HE they drew backward and fell to the ground. You would have done so as well. The reason is that the angel Gabriel moved between Jesus and the mob. Jesus face shown with a holy glow. An intense bright light struck them down. The murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, possibly 500 Roman soldiers, even Judas, ALL fell as dead men to the ground. After a time the angel withdrew, and the light faded away. Jesus could have walked quietly away, as it would have been so easy to do. But He was still there.
So often we read this story and focus on
Again Jesus asked a Question: WHO SEEK YE?
Why would He repeat this question twice? Do you catch what Jesus was doing here? He is skillfully arranging for the escape of His disciples. They might have all been hung that Friday. But Jesus was protecting His own. JOHN 18:8-"If you are looking for Me, then let these men go." Jesus got the proud leaders to verbally state and restate that it was Jesus of Nazareth that they wanted. We are told that Jesus loved His own unto the end. And how beautifully this is demonstrated here. As Jesus looked into the blood-shot eyes of the evil mob, Jesus is thinking about His sheep. The Shepherd is protecting His sheep. The very last thought of our Saviour was for the safety of His flock.
Jesus says Here I am, but you will not meddle with my followers. He speaks as a King! They were about to tie His hands, but before doing so, He first tied their hands!
I have no doubt but what the mob intended to torture and hang the apostles as well. A small window in MARK gives it away: MARK 14:50
Everybody that was there with Christ, deserted Him and fled. They all got away. One almost didn't. There was a young man who had followed Jesus who was wearing a linen garment and they seized him. He was not one of the 12 and so the mob would not break their word by trying to take him. But he too got away. He fled NAKED. Obviously the mob was intent on taking others besides Jesus. But the naked man disappeared into the darkness.
Only Jesus was to die. Jesus had other work for his disciples to do. As long as God has a work for you to do even the devil himself cannot seize you.
That day Jesus showed His disciples that He was fully competent to protect them even among the gravest danger. I know that many times Jesus has intervened in my behalf at a time when circumstances were about to close in on me. Have you felt His loving touch in your life? That day, Jesus showed them His rich beautiful caring love.
When I look at Jesus' love, I want to be more like Jesus. The next time you see someone in need try to focus on their hurt or their crisis. It may help you to face your own trials. When you hear that someone is sick, offer to COOK a nice healthful dish for them. Volunteer to sit with the sick to give their family a break. Offer transportation to those who can't get out. Visit the shut-in. Pray for those who are suffering. Let us all behold Jesus and become more and more like Him.
Now back to the Bible for a second small peek at Jesus' love.
###################################### JOHN 19:25-27 If you were hanging on a cross, suffering extreme agony, bleeding from dozens of wounds, dying from real thirst, and dying with a lump in your throat because of rejection, what would you be thinking about?
Notice how an episode in Jesus last moments shows the depth of His beautiful sweet love.
John 19:25-- His mother 'stood' by the cross. Think about it. The Jews of course were present at the crucifixion to satisfy their fiendish craving for His extinction. Roman Soldiers were required to be there. BUT, a small pitiful band of 4 women and one man stood close by the foot of the cross.
All these Mary's were there. The name Mary means BITTERNESS. As they stood there they were filled with anguish. But they were THERE!
At the risk of her own life Jesus mother stood there. His disciples deserted Him, His friends disappeared, the Jewish nation despised Him, but His mother is there. She was at His birth, at His death. She stood apparently in silence. The crowds were chanting, the thieves were blaming, Pharisees were mocking, the soldiers were dividing His clothing, the Saviour was bleeding, Mary was crying. It was a bad time.
We don't worship Mary. We worship Jesus. Mary the mother of Jesus was never supposed to be worshipped or prayed to or honored as Divine. She was a very good mother, but she was human. This is clearly demonstrated here. She needed the care and protection of another person. Jesus knew her needs. He gave her John.
Jesus was fully involved in the greatest task ever performed, not only on this earth, but in the entire universe: RESCUE OF A DOOMED PLANET! No other creature could sustain the burden Jesus bore. Jesus was the object of satan's fiercest hatred. Yet at that terrible time, Notice how Jesus' beautiful caring love shines through. As He is just about to leave this world, he provides a home for His Homeless, crying, poor, suffering, lonely Widowed Mother.
Jesus, in the full awful agony of the cross, when the salvation of the entire planet Earth hung in the balance, thought of the needs of His mother. He had a world full of troubles of his own, but He took some of His last energy to care for someone else. To the very end, Jesus thought more of the sorrows of others than of His own.
WOMAN BEHOLD THY SON! In a way Jesus was no longer her son. His death on the cross brought to an end His natural ties--(II Cor 5:16) From now on He would be her God.
Jesus' act magnifies the 5th commandment. What an example for children to honor their parents...to the end! Honor your parents not just while you are a child.
The perfect example of Christ's love shines forth with bright luster. Even in His last agony, as He was dying as a ransom for the doomed race, He provided for His sorrowing needful mother. What love Jesus has!
JOHN 19:27 From that hour John took her unto his own home. John would care for her. Jesus was modeled in the heart of John. At once John took her away and tenderly cared for her. She did not witness the terrible cry of agony. or see her son die. Jesus shielded her from the worst. And I believe that care extends all the way to 1996. Jesus, as God, was the head of the family and He was making arrangements for His younger children. For You and for me.
WE ARE JESUS' MOTHER! Matthew 12:50-- "Whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my...Mother!" That loving act was a pledge, of Jesus loving care, for ALL He left behind here on this old world. Jesus provided for us at the cross. So don't worry, Jesus will take care of you! Isn't Jesus great love beautiful?
Friends, is your love a little bit like Jesus' great love? Do you tenderly show concern for the needs of others? Christians should be the most loving and caring of all people. In the Evening of life we shall be judged on the love that we show to God and the love that we show to others.
Only one time in the Bible does Jesus ever allude of a person going to the Hot Place (HELL). And that was when a man who had the ability to help, refused to CARE or be bothered with the needs of a truly hungry beggar.
The very essence of Christianity is to love the unlovable, to feed the hungry, to forgive the hateful, to provide for those who have not, to reach out and touch someone with the same love that Jesus has shown to us.
The Greatness of a man can nearly always be measured by his willingness to be kind and loving. Jesus demonstrated awesome love and thoughtfulness. Jesus is a great God.
PRAYER: Thank you for Jesus and His great love. Help us to experience the true depth of Jesus' beautiful love. Give us a sample of Jesus love in our marriages, in our church, in our community. Help us to sense that love is a SOFTENING of the HEARTERIES. Dear Jesus, Come into our hearts just now.
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last updated 3/17/98 by Bob Beckett.