“Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers…..came with lanterns, torches and weapons.”  John 18:3

“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?”  John 18:4

There is an imminent threat.  There are people massing against you.  You have others who believe as you do.  It is at those times that we hear such platitudes as:  “All for one and one for all” or “We must all stand together or we will hang separately” or “There is strength in numbers” or “If you are for me you will stand with me” among many others.  From my military days I completely understand the power there is in superior numbers.  However, no matter how superior the numbers are, should conflict actually happen, there will be losses.  Depending on the number of losses is whether they are considered “acceptable” or not.

Jesus had some numbers; there were eleven others besides himself.  The world, in the guise of Judas Iscariot, is coming against Jesus.  None of the gospels give us a definitive number but experts says that a “detachment” of Roman soldiers would have been approximately 600, although they probably would not have sent the entire detachment.  There was also members of the Jewish religious leaders and their police who were also there.  So the number could have been in the hundreds.  They have torches.  They have several types of weapons.

This would have been the time for Jesus to call to His small band to assemble.  Jesus would then give a rousing speech to incite a passionate defense on the part of His men.  Jesus did neither.  Instead, He alone stepped out in front.  Jesus walked away from His small band of brothers to face the threat alone.  It is true that once the soldiers start to move against Jesus, Peter, one of His disciples, takes up his sword in defense of Jesus and strikes the High Priest’s ear.  Yet Jesus tells Peter to stop; to put away his sword.

Here’s the irony, it might not have seemed it; but Jesus, even then, was in charge; in complete control.  Jesus knew He needed to be arrested.  Jesus knew that He had a legion of angels desperate to come down to His defense to utterly annihilate this puny, impudent, Satan following rag tag group.  Jesus knew that these men, so confident in themselves and their strength, had no ounce of power over The One True Son of God.  Yet two things were the most important to Him.  First, Jesus wanted to carry out the plan of His Heavenly Father.  A plan of salvation for us all.  Second, Jesus did not want to lose one of His beloved disciples except the one who purposefully walked away; Judas.  So Jesus stepped forward; making sure that all the hate, all the fear, all the desire for destruction would be aimed solely at Him.

So brothers and sisters here’s the thing.  The world is coming at us.  The world is attacking us with numbers, popular worldly opinions and even from within our own ranks.  We are outnumbered.  Even if we attempt to come together within groups like churches and try to stand on the powers of our own laws and our own sense of sensibilities; we will lose.  There is only one way to victory and only One victorious in Himself:  Jesus Christ.  And know this; Jesus still does not want to lose one who is given to Him.  Jesus Christ is more than ready; Head of His legions of angels, to again stand out in front.

And we should take the greatest comfort and have the utmost confidence that as Jesus Christ saved each of those eleven; the same Jesus Christ will stand in front and in between the world and us; granting each of us victory as well.  How do I know?  He took my nails.  Rather then see me (and you) separated from Almighty God because of our sins within this world; He stood out in front to pay my punishment.

Attacks will come; some we know about, some, by heavenly blessing, we will never have knowledge of.  Jesus Christ stands ready to blunt every assault, turn back every attacker.  May it be that we will humble ourselves to call on Him.  May it be that we will never attempt to enter into battle without Him.  May it truly be that we understand, in all His Glory, what it means to have Jesus Christ as our Savior.  A Savior who has been, is and always will be, in every attack against us, out in front; completely victorious.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You with all of our being that You saw fit to provide us with a Savior in Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank You, Dear Father, that He is ceaseless and tireless in defending us against the attacks of this world and the prince of this world.  Forgive us, Most Merciful Father, when we go off to battle on our own, seeking our own glory instead of calling on the name of Jesus Christ.  May it be that as we follow Jesus Christ in victory after victory, that we may come to live lives that praise Your Most Holy Name.  In Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

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