John's Gospel - a new look: What fear does
No 31-John 18:15-27
After Jesus is arrested in Gethsemane Peter and John follow him to the High Priests house where John enters the house because “he was well known to the High Priest” but Peter waits in the courtyard. John often refers to himself as “the other disciple” and commentators have suggested that John knew the High Priest because of business dealings between John’s family and the Priestly family. One commentator speculates that John supplied the High Priest with fish caught in Lake Galilee. Others suggest that John was related to the High Priest.
Now the seemingly brave and fearless Peter who cut of the High Priest servants ear denies being a disciple of Jesus as he warms his hands in the courtyard . What had changed in that short time? It was one thing to draw a sword in the emotional, adrenalin filled moment when the mob came to arrest Jesus Fear did that!. To now stand with him as Jesus faces a trial and even death is another. Peter is in fact going to deny Jesus three times as Jesus had predicted earlier.(Jn.13:36-38) This would lead to the emotion filled discussion between Peter and Jesus after his resurrection.(Jn.21:15-19)
Fear can do strange things to people. Looking more closely at this section of John’s Gospel it becomes obvious that many of the people involved here are also acting from fear. Pilate fears the Roman overlords who depend on him to keep control in the Palestine. Now he faces the Jewish crowd braying for the death of Jesus.When he is told as recorded in John 19:7 that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, Johns states in the next verse that "he was terrified".
The Jewish leaders feared for their position as religious leaders and so felt that they have to destroy this man claiming to be the Messiah.Fear will do that to religious and political leaders.
Joseph of Arimathea is going to ask for the body of Jesus because he is a disciple of Jesus but a disciple “in secret because he feared the Jewish authorities”. (Jn.19:38). As John describes these events one can almost smell and see the fear around every corner.
Even Jesus as he faces the separation from the Father in his anguish asks for this cup to be taken away if it is possible. (Mt:26:27).The only one who dealt with fear here in this situation is Jesus who is in close communion with his Father in heaven.(John 18:15-27)
David in a time of great emotional turmoil records in the beautiful words of Psalm 56:11, as he speaks to God out of his anguish, "I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me". (Contemporary English Version)
Every one faces fear on a daily basis. Fear of rejection, fear of the dangers of life, fear of death and even fear of letting ones self down, but it is how you deal with that fear that is important.
Luke records the events soon afterwards(Acts 4:13) when John and Peter face the same group that were resonsible for Jesus' death.Luke the histiorian writes that the officials were "amazed at how brave Peter and John were".. and "were certain that they had been with Jesus". That is how powerfull the influence of Jesus was.
How well you and I deal with our fears may depend on our relationship with Jesus!