“Jesus and the Sword” out of John 18:1-14 was preached on October 7th, 2012 by Pastor Brett Baggett at the worship gathering of Ekklesia Muskogee. Week #39 in Ekklesia’s The King and His Cross sermon series.
Scripture – John 18:1-14
18 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. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.
Judas betrayed Jesus. But why? Why would Judas, who had walked with and been loved by Jesus for three years, betray the eternal Son of God? Judas betrayed Jesus because he served the kingdom of the world instead of God and trusted in the power of the sword instead of the cross. The kingdom of the world ultimately values and stops at nothing to achieve 1) money and possessions, 2) control, 3) happiness, 4) personal comfort and pleasure, and 5) personal reputation and status; whereas the Kingdom of God ultimately values and stops at nothing to achieve 1) giving and generosity, 2) service to one’s neighbor, 3) joy, 4) other’s good and well-being, and 5) Jesus’ glory and the spreading of his gospel. To achieve the values of the Kingdom of the world you must take up the sword; you must use force and threatening which enslaves and destroys you. But, to achieve the values of the Kingdom of God you must take up the cross; you must sacrificially love and serve which frees you and is eternal.
Judas chose the power of the sword and lost. He ended up with a noose around his neck. Jesus chose the power of the cross and won. He ended up saving his people by dying in their place and resurrecting to eternal life. The cross beats the sword every time. The way of the sword will end, but the way of the cross will continue to triumph for all eternity.
Q1. Was there anything from Sunday’s sermon or the big idea that was new to you or had an affect on you? Did you hear anything that raised more questions in your mind?
Q.2 Look at the 5 things that are mentioned about the kingdom of the world and contrasted with the Kingdom of God. What seems to be the kingdom of the world’s chief purpose? What seems to be the Kingdom of the God’s chief purpose?
Q.3 How does believing that the cross beats the sword change the way we view our money and possessions? Try and be specific. Give an example of how this would work out in your everyday life.
Q.4 How does believing that the cross beats the sword change how we seek to influence others? Try and be specific. Give an example of how this would work out in your everyday life. **Threatening vs. Loving or Controlling vs. Serving
Q.5 How does believing that the cross beats the sword change the way we view suffering? Try and be specific. Give an example of how this would work out in your own personal suffering.
Q.6 How does believing that the cross beats the sword change how you view your own reputation? Try and be specific. Give an example of how this would work out in your everyday life.
If we are really honest, I think we would admit that we are a lot like Peter. We want to sacrificially love and serve in the Kingdom of God, but a lot of times, when push comes to shove, we still take out the sword. We look at the values of the Kingdom of God and say “That’s really hard! I don’t live up to that.” We are right. But remember this: Jesus as your example will crush you, but Jesus as your Lamb will save you. Look to Jesus and his finished work on the cross! Jesus died to free us from the penalty that we have earned by taking up the sword and serving in the kingdom of the world.
Only to the degree that you look to Jesus as your Savior will the power of the sword decrease in your life. Only to the degree that you look to Jesus as your Savior will you be able to take up the power of the cross and serve in the Kingdom of God. For Jesus’ glory and your joy in Him! Amen.