16 July 2019

Welcome to Tuesday’s Podcast. Our reading today is John 18: 1-18 but today I’ll focus on verse 4-5:

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’
‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied.
‘I am he,’ Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)


This is an extract from John Wesley’s diary:

Sunday, A.M., May 5 – Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back any more.
Sunday, P.M., May 5 – Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12 – Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19 – Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19 – Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26 – Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2 – Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2 – Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.’

It’s hard to know if this really is an excerpt from Wesley’s diary but knowing something of Wesley’s life it was littered with battles and breakthroughs. There are enough American Methodists who seem to think it’s legit.

Life doesn’t always work out as planned!

In my final year at University I applied for a job in London. Interview day arrived and I brought the cheapest train ticket I could afford and arrived in London before the shops opened. My day was spent walking around London & riding the Tube. Daydreaming about what life might hold in the capital city. I arrived in plenty of time for the interview. I was dressed smart and thought I was feeling pretty confident. At the end of the interview the interviewers stepped outside.

After what seemed like an age they returned to the room I was sat in. I remember those words ‘I’m really sorry…’ just went swirling around my mind…

The plan was up in smoke. I had no idea what next. In these moments people will often say: God has a plan or God’s in control. Over the years I’ve found this to be true – Proverbs 16:9 says this: ‘We may plan our course but the Lord determines our steps’.

The context of today’s passage is Jesus’ arrest. A seriously difficult moment made worse by the betrayal of a friend. As moments go in life – this isn’t good a good one.
But within it there’s hope. Let me explain.

As the Roman soldiers accompanied by some Priests and Pharisees approach – Jesus asks who they’re looking for: ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’

Jesus knows everything that is going on. His divinity means he knows what they’re thinking. He knows the future.

And his response to the men is this: ‘I am he’, accurately translated he just says ‘I am’.

In the midst of the bad situation: the arrest, the betrayal the upcoming trials and tribulations – he says ‘I am’.

So what?

There are seven ‘I am’ references in John’s gospel, each one revealing Jesus’ divinity & subsequent power. When God reveals himself to Moses he describes his name as ‘I am’ – it’s a deeply powerful reference to God.

The circumstance may be tough but God’s power is bigger. In our lives, in tough times, we call on one who is sovereign. God is powerful and can work in and through and use all the circumstances of life.

There’s a great song by Aaron Keyes which includes these lines:

‘Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good and for your glory’

Looking back 20 years I can see that getting knocked back in that job interview was really significant. But I can see it was God’s plan because I wouldn’t be here today at STC if I’d got the job – that difficult interview feedback set me on a whole new course.


Father, thank you that you are in control. I pray that today Peace may reign in our hearts as we embrace your plans for us. Amen.

READING: John 18:1-18

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’

‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied.

‘I am he,’ Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’

‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they said.

Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.’ This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: ‘I have not lost one of those you gave me.’

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant-girl on duty there and brought Peter in.

‘You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?’ she asked Peter.

He replied, ‘I am not.’

It was cold, and the servants and officials stood round a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.