Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”
ESV Study Bible Commentary
Jesus, confident of God’s sovereign control, hands himself over to his captors.
This passage in John is toward the end of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, he just finished praying to, and pleading with, God. He’s asking that this cup of wrath would pass from him. But he also acknowledges God’s will, that it be done, even if it means death on a cross. Even if it means God’s full wrath being poured out onto him.
The “them” in John 18:4 are the authorities coming to take Jesus captive to ultimately sentence him to death on a cross. This was the start of Christ’s end, and without fear or timidity, he stepped up and said, “Whom do you seek?” knowing full well that it was him they sought.
There’s something powerful that stirs within me when I read this passage. I feel this sense that if I could believe like Christ did — that all things were working toward our own good and that God was in control, and that God, as our father, had our best interests in mind — well, then everything I did would have so much more meaning and passion behind it.
If I knew all that would happen to me like Christ did, then I would boldly do things knowing the outcome of my actions. The thing I begin to believe, however, is this: That can never happen, so I’ll have to live my life a different way.
The problem with that line of thinking is this abandon to follow God boldly is exactly the life God calls us to live. A life completely surrendered to His will and trusting absolutely in His plan for our lives.
Christ says that we will do more than Him. Obviously, we won’t cover the sins of the world and drink from God’s cup of wrath, but our effect on this world for the glory of God will be larger than what Christ did because he was the cornerstone, he is the vine, the source, and we are the branches. We are the feelers, we are the body. Through us God does His works.
If we surrender. If we empty our lives and empty ourselves, of ourselves. Letting God have complete control and reign over our lives (our thoughts, words, actions, etc.). If we could live a life completely surrendered to God, then we could be Christ-like in knowing what God had coming next. Maybe not in an omniscient way, but more in a trusting way.
Our minds are so finite, that when we hear the words of John 18:4, we think that Christ could see the lines of His life laying physically in front of him. But I believe that it was a lot more faith and trust than an actual visual knowledge of what was going to happen next moment by moment.
If we fully surrender our lives and trust in God, we begin to trust Him so much that we believe that the challenges, successes, etc. come from a loving God who has our best interests in mind.
Do we believe this to be true at our core? Or do we merely hope and know this intellectually to be true, but don’t believe it with our hearts?
Think about it.