BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 5: Romans 13:6-7

Summary of passage:  Pay taxes to the authorities who should be paid for governing.  Give everyone what you owe such as taxes, revenue, respect and honor.

Questions:

12)  In essence, Jesus said the same thing as this passage:  Give to those what you owe them.  Pay your taxes and pay God.

13)  Today, there are many purposes for taxes and many different kinds of taxes (like in ancient times as well but in a different way).  Here, it says pay taxes so that the officials may be paid for their time in running the government.  Taxes also go for the public good and items and services we consume collectively like roads, police, etc.  We should have an attitude of gratitude towards taxes that pays for the military and police who keep us safe, roads we travel on to visit loved ones, and so many other things we don’t think of.  Taxes are a part of life.  Accept it.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:

Exodus 20:12:  Father and Mother.  Honoring their wishes and what they’ve done for you.  Being there for them in their old age.  Loving them.
Leviticus 19:32:  The elderly and God.  Volunteer to help the elderly.  Care for them in their old age.  Visit them.  Care about them and their lives.
1 Timothy 5:17:  “the elders who direct the affairs of the church especially those who preach and teach”  Pastors and church leaders.  Pray for them.  Care for them.  Do random acts of kindness for them.  Give to them when they don’t expect it.
1 Timothy 6:15b-16:  God.  There is no limit to honoring God.  Prayer, obedience, evangelism, being kind to others, worship, etc.
1 Peter 2:13-17:  Governing authorities, rulers, respect everyone, respect believers, fear God, honor your king.  Obey laws, don’t bad-mouth leaders, pray for leaders and rulers, treat others as you want to be treated, obey God.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray for them.  Pray for them to follow God’s will.  Honor their choices in life.  Give it to God.  It’s none of your business when it’s friends and families and acquaintances.  Treat them as you want to be treated.  Love them.

Conclusions:  The theme of Lesson 24 is honor and respect authority (both human authority and God’s authority).  Obey both human laws and God’s laws.  Overall, be good citizens and people.

End Notes:  We pay taxes so the officials can do their job in keeping an orderly society–not to enrich them.  But also so they can eat as well.  Paying taxes is supporting God’s work since He gave the government to help us.

Good question to ponder:  Is rebellion against government ever justified? If a citizen has a choice between two governments, it is right to choose and to promote the one that is most legitimate in God’s eyes – the one which will best fulfill God’s purpose for governments.  However, knowing which is right in God’s eyes is the challenge.  The Communists believe they are right. So do democracies.

These verses are easy for those of us living in a democracies.  We are the government; therefore, we are supporting ourselves when we pay taxes as the money goes for public good.

In ancient times, this would have been much more difficult when rulers were oftentimes evil.  The first generation of Christians benefited from the same freedom of worship and legal protection as the Jews.  But soon emperors such as Nero turned on Christians, torturing and murdering thousands.  History shows that most of them followed Paul’s difficult advice in this passage, refusing to revolt against the government no matter how hostile it had become.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 4: Romans 13:3-5

Summary of passage:  Do what is right and you have nothing to fear.  The ruler is God’s servant ready to punish the wrongdoer.  Thus, submit to authorities so you’re not punished and because of conscience.

Questions:

9)  God has a purpose in all rulers.  He used Babylon to punish His people and make them turn to Him and strengthen their faith.  There is a purpose in suffering–to grow us–and there is a purpose in the future that we cannot see.  I can have faith in God and that leaders are in power for His purpose.  I can pray for the leaders to do God’s will.

10)  You must submit to authorities because they are placed in authority by God and by submitting to them you are submitting to God.  Otherwise, you are rebelling against God if you do not.  Also, if you don’t submit, you will be punished if you break the laws.  Furthermore, you submit because it’s the right thing to do.  You submit for the good of all over the good of yourself.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Good I hope.  I tell my kids to respect authority, those in power, and those elected.  I’m a horrible driver in terms of getting angry (which I’m working on).  I’m running for local office.  I’m respectful as well.

Conclusions:  In essence, Days 2, 3 & 4 all have the same point:  God is in control and if you trust in Him then you trust your leaders.  There’s a purpose.  God’s purpose.  Have faith even when you don’t know.

End Notes:  [Taken from yesterday’s, just cut to the commentary that deals only with verses 3-5].

Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.

Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.

If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.

It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.

The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.

We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so.  Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open.  Christians must duly honor the government in order to maintain a good conscience.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 3: Romans 13:1-5

Summary of passage:  You must submit to government authorities because God is the one who has given them authority so in essence you are submitting to God.  If you rebel against the government, you are rebelling against God and are therefore subject to judgment.  Do what is right and you have nothing to fear.  The ruler is God’s servant ready to punish the wrongdoer.  Thus, submit to authorities so you’re not punished and because of conscience.

Questions:

6)  God

7)  Glorify, remember, is great honor or praise.  When we obey authority, we are showing our faith in God and His Word.  Thus, we are obeying God when we obey authority, growing our faith, which honors Him.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s not.  I was brought up with police officers in my family and with a healthy respect for those in authority.  I pay my taxes.  I follow the laws.  I respect all elected leaders.  I vote.  I pray for them to lead us in God’s ways.

Conclusions:  As you can see, I didn’t get much out of these questions.  We are coming up to the end of Romans with only 4 chapters left and 6 weeks so expect more of this drawing out phase.

End Notes: [Same as yesterday’s]. Connecting Romans 12, people are not to take vengeance but the government can punish wrongdoers since God gave them the authority to do so.  Paul is speaking to some Jews who refused to acknowledge the authority of the rulers and thus paid no taxes.

“Be subject to” is a significant theme for Romans 13:1-7.  The civil rulers, all of whom were probably pagans at the time Paul was writing.  Christians may have been tempted not to submit to them and to claim allegiance only to Christ.  Even the possibility of a persecuting state did not shake Paul’s conviction that civil government is ordained by God (1 Peter 2:13-17).

Government authorities serve a purpose for God.  God appoints a nation’s leaders, but not always to bless the people. Sometimes it is to judge the people like we read in Daniel and how God used the Babylonian empire to judge His people.

Paul wrote this during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians – yet he still saw their legitimate authority.

“Your Savior suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had; and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman Emperor. And neither our Lord nor His Apostle denied or reviled the ‘authority!’ ” (Newell)

Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man (as in Acts 4:19).  Paul is describing the ideal rulers here.  Obviously, man is fallen so this is not always the case the rulers will do what is right.

God uses governing authorities as a check upon man’s sinful desires and tendencies. Government can be an effective tool in resisting the effects of man’s fallenness.

Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.

Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.

If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.

It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.

The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.

We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so.  Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open.  Christians must duly honor the government in order to maintain a good conscience.

Fun Fact (taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary):  The Bible, by exhortation and commandment, requires submission and obedience to six principal authorities:

  1.  Parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; 1 Timothy 3:4)
  2.  Teachers (Proverbs 5:12-13)
  3.  Husbands (Ephesians 5:21-22, 24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5-6)
  4.  Masters–or today, employers (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18)
  5.  Government (Romans 13:1-2, 5: Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13)
  6.  God (Genesis 26:5, Ephesians 5:24, Hebrews 5:9; 12:9, James 4:7)

The supreme test of faith is obedience (1 Samuel 28:18).  The Bible often links obedience to faith (Genesis 22:18; Romans 1:5; 1 Peter 1:14).  Jesus obedience to the Father is the supreme example for Christians.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 24, Day 2: Romans 13:1-5

Summary of passage:  You must submit to government authorities because God is the one who has given them authority so in essence you are submitting to God.  If you rebel against the government, you are rebelling against God and are therefore subject to judgment.  Do what is right and you have nothing to fear.  The ruler is God’s servant ready to punish the wrongdoer.  Thus, submit to authorities so you’re not punished and because of conscience.

Questions:

3)  The definition of submit according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to yield to governance or authority; to subject to a condition, treatment, or operation; to yield oneself to the authority or will of another”.  Everyone must submit to governing authorities because God is the one who had given them authority so in essence you are submitting to God.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The same reasons people struggle with submitting to God (which in this passage Paul says is the same thing i.e. God and authorities are the same):  people want to do what they want to do (selfishness) and not what others tell them to do.  Human nature is inherently evil and if a person wants to be able to kill another, that’s what he wants to do.  Man wants power and to lord over others.  God established rules/government so there would not be anarchy in this world.  I’m fine with following the government (when you’re brought up in society it’s relatively easy to obey).  It’s the daily selfishness I struggle with such as when I’m driving being nice to others or putting others needs before mine or giving up my time for others.

5)  When man/human authority asks us to go against God and His Word.  Daniel ignores the decree by King Darius to not pray to God.  This is against God.  When you’re asked to do something that goes against your conscience or that you know is wrong.  Then you can disobey.  Killing others, persecuting others, causing physical harm to others, etc.

Conclusions:  Great passage by Paul and very important today when people are so against governing authorities.  You may not like who is in office, but God put them there so respect them and the laws of your country.

End Notes:  Connecting Romans 12, people are not to take vengeance but the government can punish wrongdoers since God gave them the authority to do so.  Paul is speaking to some Jews who refused to acknowledge the authority of the rulers and thus paid no taxes.

“Be subject to” is a significant theme for Romans 13:1-7.  The civil rulers, all of whom were probably pagans at the time Paul was writing.  Christians may have been tempted not to submit to them and to claim allegiance only to Christ.  Even the possibility of a persecuting state did not shake Paul’s conviction that civil government is ordained by God (1 Peter 2:13-17).

Government authorities serve a purpose for God.  God appoints a nation’s leaders, but not always to bless the people. Sometimes it is to judge the people like we read in Daniel and how God used the Babylonian empire to judge His people.

Paul wrote this during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians – yet he still saw their legitimate authority.

“Your Savior suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had; and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman Emperor. And neither our Lord nor His Apostle denied or reviled the ‘authority!’ ” (Newell)

Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man (as in Acts 4:19).  Paul is describing the ideal rulers here.  Obviously, man is fallen so this is not always the case the rulers will do what is right.

God uses governing authorities as a check upon man’s sinful desires and tendencies. Government can be an effective tool in resisting the effects of man’s fallenness.

Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.

Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.

If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.

It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.

The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.

We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so.  Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open.  Christians must duly honor the government in order to maintain a good conscience.

Fun Fact (taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary):  The Bible, by exhortation and commandment, requires submission and obedience to six principal authorities:

  1.  Parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20; 1 Timothy 3:4)
  2.  Teachers (Proverbs 5:12-13)
  3.  Husbands (Ephesians 5:21-22, 24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5-6)
  4.  Masters–or today, employers (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18)
  5.  Government (Romans 13:1-2, 5: Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13)
  6.  God (Genesis 26:5, Ephesians 5:24, Hebrews 5:9; 12:9, James 4:7)

The supreme test of faith is obedience (1 Samuel 28:18).  The Bible often links obedience to faith (Genesis 22:18; Romans 1:5; 1 Peter 1:14).  Jesus obedience to the Father is the supreme example for Christians.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 5: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage: Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Fear.  Shame.  In what I accomplish.  I don’t say things are God things when I should and I know they are in front of others.  God does arrange everything. Nothing is coincidence but I omit saying it and am guilty of giving God the credit for it.  A strong faith helps us avoid being like Peter.  Reading the Word more.  Praying. Drawing closer to Jesus.  Like Jesus, pray for my protection more from the devil and his ways and for God’s light more in my life.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m alone in my work as a believer.  I try to impart words of wisdom and fate to my colleagues.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Well, they are happening at the same time so it follows chronologically.  We see Jesus’ trials alongside Peter’s.  We see Jesus strong and Peter weak.  We see Jesus’ faith in God and Peter’s lack of faith in God.  We see Jesus’ love and Peter’s lack of love.  We see Jesus’ sacrifice and Peter’s self-preservation.  By contrasting both, we see how you are supposed to act and what happens when you don’t act like Jesus.

Conclusions:  Good questions.  Convicting on how we need to stand up for Christ and give him the glory and how fear holds us back from doing so.  We must pray for protection in this world for the devil is sneaky and cause us to do things we normally wouldn’t because fear grasps our hearts.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 4: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage:  Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

9)  He just starts questioning Jesus, blatantly disregarding Jewish law and trying to get Jesus to incriminate himself.  He feels he is above the law.  He allows Jesus to be struck.  He doesn’t care about human dignity or abuse. He ships him off to Caiaphas when he’s done with him with not a care in the world about what will happen to Jesus.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He always maintains his composure.  He throws the law into both Caiaphas’ face and the unknown official who struck him.  He protects his disciples by refusing to mention them.  He doesn’t panic.  He submits but always letting his captors know they are in the wrong.

Conclusions:  We all know this trial won’t be fair and it starts here from the beginning.  Jewish law states witnesses must be called forth first, beginning with the defense.  The Talmud states, “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day. If the person be acquitted, the sentence may be pronounced during that day; but, if he be condemned, the sentence cannot be pronounced till the next day. But no kind of judgment is to be executed, either on the eve of the Sabbath, or the eve of any festival.”  It’s the dead of night here.  People corrupted by power known no bounds and care not for law and order.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 3: John 18:1-12

Summary of passage: Jesus and his disciples left the upper room, crossed the Kidron Valley, and stopped in an olive grove. Judas shows up with officials and soldiers armed with weapons. They ask for Jesus who declares himself. Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus and cut off the ear of a servant named Malchus. Jesus chastises Peter, telling him this is his destiny.

Jesus was arrested and bound.

Questions:

6)  He does everything he can to protect his disciples.  He calls attention to himself.  He stuns everyone with his declarative power.  He asks for his disciples to go free.  He stops Peter from defending him so he can fulfill God’s plan for us.  He reminds us this is the cup/plan the Father has given him.  He submits to the soldiers, not fighting or escaping.

7)  John leaves out the entire saga of Jesus asking God for the cup to be taken from him and the disciples falling asleep in the Garden.  He leaves out Judas’ betrayal with a kiss.  He leaves out some of Jesus’ words and how the disciples fled.  He leaves out the healing of the ear.  John keeps it very simple and focuses on Jesus protecting the disciples and fulfilling God’s plan for his life and humanity.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus loves us so much to suffer and die for us and I need to love him as much–or at least as much as is humanly possible here on earth.  Seeing God’s plan being fulfilled helps me to know God will fulfill His plans for my life as well.

Conclusions:  Good to read the other accounts and see the differences.  I love how all taken together gives us the whole picture of that night.  It would have been amazing to have been there!

End Notes:  The Kidron was a small stream that was the drainage from the temple, and would be reddish from the blood of thousands of Passover lambs. This would have been a vivid reminder to Jesus of His soon sacrifice.  Info on Kidron Valley HERE  Cool maps of Jesus’ last 24 hours HERE and HERE

John did not name this as the Garden of Gethsemane, but the other Gospel writers did (Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32). Jesus often met there with His disciples, perhaps to sleep for the night under the shelter of the olive trees or in a nearby cave. Hence, why Judas knew Jesus would be there that night and why Jesus went–so Judas could easily find him knowing he was searching for him.

John does not go into detail in the Garden, leaving that to the other apostles to do so.

Judas came with many soldiers, expecting a struggle. How he didn’t know our Lord! Jesus could have wiped them out with a word. This harkens to the Garden of Eden. Man lost that round. He would win this round!

Jesus speaks first for 2 reasons: 1) He wanted any potential violence to be directed to Him and not to His disciples. 2) Jesus wanted Judas and the detachment of troops to announce their evil intention.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am: Jesus answered them with two words in both English and in the Greek (ego eimi). He did not say, “I am he”–that was added by translators and not in the original text. Jesus was consciously proclaiming himself God, just like he did throughout his testimony on earth (John 8:58; 6:48, 8:12, 9:5, 10:9, 10:11-14, 10:36, 11:25, 14:6).

This explains why all fell back. When Jesus proclaims himself “I am” the power and presence of God overwhelms the soldiers and they are afraid. We’re talking probably upwards of 500 soldiers sent to arrest Jesus and all were petrified. Jesus could have escaped then, but he didn’t. For our sakes.

Jesus asks them again who he is in order to shock them back to reality. He repeats I am but with less force. He willingly gives himself up and asks for his disciples to go free. Sacrificial love. The show of power was to protect them as well. This was a command to let them go. He promised the Father he would protect them (John 17:12). There would be no harm to his disciples as long as Jesus was there! This was also the signal for the disciples to slip away, which they did all except Peter and John.

John is the only writer to identify Peter as the one with the sword. Peter was fulfilling his promise to protect Jesus (Matthew 26:35).

Cutting off the right ear is significant. Scholars say this meant Peter, holding the sword in his right hand, must have attacked the high priest’s servant from behind, because it would be near impossible to cut off his right ear if he was facing the servant Malchus. It is entirely possible that Peter deliberately chose a non-solider, and attacked him from behind. This was not a shining display of courage. And given the fact we know Peter is about to deny Jesus 3 times, this was probably an impulsive display that was safe for him.

Why is the servant mentioned by name here? Scholars speculate that Malchus may have eventually become a Christian and would have been known to the early Christian community at the time of this writing. This is a pattern we see throughout the rest of the Gospels and Acts.

Peter’s thoughtless action may have erupted into violence and the disciples getting hurt. Jesus stops Peter for his own good and for the disciples. And so he could die on the cross. John leaves out how Jesus healed the man’s ear (Luke 22:51).

The cup signifies suffering and the wrath of God. It came from the Father. God is in control.

The captain was a Roman and the others were Jews. Both were complicit in Jesus’ death. Jesus consented to be bound. He could break those easily.