Today, we begin the Passion narrative of the Gospel of John. Not every gospel records Jesus’ birth, and few of the miracles are in all four. But the last week of Jesus’ life, the Passion narrative, is clearly and consistently found in every gospel narrative and beyond. Yet John’s presentation of His last days takes a very different tone than any other. John’s gospel shows Jesus completely in control of every aspect of the last days of His own life.
This is important to John’s purpose. While Matthew’s purpose is to show Jesus as King, Mark’s to show Jesus as servant, and Luke’s to show Jesus as Savior, John’s purpose in His gospel is to show Jesus as God. As God, Jesus is not a victim of the Romans or the Jews, and He is not Plan B. He is the orchestrator and implementor of the cross and resurrection, and He is in control.
At the garden of Gethsemane, we get our first glimpse of this fact. And from here on, nearly every character we meet will show, state, or imply that Jesus is the true King of the Jews, God Himself.
For John, Judas was doing exactly what was needed, though not knowingly. When the Roman guard shows up, we find Jesus directing them as well. He asks them whom they seek and, when they fall to the ground in front of him which is a normal position of worship, He reiterates His identity and demands they leave His followers alone, and so they do. Peter proceeds to cut off a servant’s ear, and that servant’s name, given only in John’s gospel, is Malchus, which means “My King” in Hebrew. Jesus then completes the scene by commanding His disciples.
In the days to come, we’ll see Jesus in control again and again, and we’ll see character after character proclaim Him as King of the Jews. But the eternal question for us is the same that John was trying to answer: Is Jesus in control of this world, even with all it’s turmoil and pain? Is He in control of your life, even when it takes a direction we don’t like or understand? Is Jesus your King?