July 16, 2021
When Life Spins Out of Control
By Skip Heitzig
Have you ever used the phrase "I've got it under control"? Well, the fact of the matter is you don't really have it under control, because the last time I checked, that's God's line, not yours.
In John 18, we read a story that from a human vantage point looks totally out of control: the death of Jesus Christ was fast approaching, and the disciples were despondent. But overarching the scene was the sovereignty of almighty God. Let's look at how Jesus was in control of the place He was at, the people who were around Him, and the plans that were being carried out.
1. The place. "[Jesus] went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered" (v. 1). The Brook Kidron at this time would have been full of the blood of the Passover lambs that were being sacrificed upstream at the temple, all very suggestive of the Lamb of God who would soon take away the sin of the world (see John 1:29). And the garden they entered, called Gethsemane, was a place where olives were harvested and crushed, also very suggestive of how Jesus would soon be crushed for the sins of the world (see Isaiah 53:5). It all indicates that Jesus was in total control of the place they were at.
2. The people. "Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons" (v. 3). Can you imagine how intimidating that would have been for the disciples? But Jesus didn't hide or cower. "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, 'Whom are you seeking?' They answered Him, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus said to them, 'I am He.' And...they drew back and fell to the ground" (vv. 4-6).
Suffice it to say that Jesus was the one writing the script at this point. But Peter didn't think so, because he took a swing with his sword at the high priest's servant and cut off his ear (see v. 10). We hate to feel like we've lost control, don't we? But Jesus calmed Peter and graciously healed the servant (see Luke 22:51).
3. The plans. Jesus told Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (v. 11). What cup was He speaking of? His coming death on the cross. In other words, His arrest here was all part of God's predetermined plan that He willingly offer Himself as a sacrifice and rise from the dead (see John 10:17-18; Acts 2:23).
In this life, you're going to drink some cups you're not too happy about. You'll be in gardens that aren't peaceful. You'll feel crushed by circumstances. And when it seems like things are spinning out of control, you might be tempted to take out your sword and pull a Peter.
But Jesus says, "Put it away. I've got it under control." He is ever present and an ever-present help in times of trouble (see Psalm 46:1). He will never forsake you (see Psalm 139:7-12; Hebrews 13:5). And He holds your life in His hands (see Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; 21:1). So keep marching on, full of confidence not in your own power or control but in His overarching, sovereign plan for your life.
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