John: Day 24

Not of This World

by

Today's Text: John 18:1-40, Daniel 7:14

Text: John 18:1-40, Daniel 7:14

The hour Jesus was born for had finally come. He’d been predicting it, waiting for it, knowing what it would require of Him: arrest, pain, and death. For anyone else, this would be a crisis moment, to be sure. For the Son of God, it was an opportunity for the most profound display of obedience, love, and humility ever known.

John’s account of this night shows us the holiness of Jesus, God incarnate—deliberate, powerful, wise, and gentle. Put simply, He is not of this world. But the people surrounding Him? They proved themselves to be oh-so very human.

At this point, Judas’ secret sin had finally consumed him. All those months on the road—stealing from the disciples’ treasury, betraying his friends—had prepared him for this moment, and he intended to capitalize on it. Jesus responded as only He can: by declaring His deity, revealing His glory, and protecting His disciples. And even as He submitted to His arrest, Jesus gave Judas one last chance to see His true identity.

Peter was a man of action, refusing to sit around and wait for Jesus to die. He followed his heart, despite Jesus’ teaching and example—despite knowing better. First, he sliced off the soldier’s ear to protect his Lord, then he denied Jesus altogether. His Savior’s response was not one of condemnation, but of grace. He protected Peter, gently rebuked him, and restored him (John 21). He continued to build Peter’s faith, even in His darkest hours.

Annas was one of the richest, most powerful Jews of his time. There was no way he’d be willing to let some upstart from the outskirts destroy everything he’d spent a lifetime building. Believing Jesus was leading the people away from his agenda, Annas had no problem breaking a few laws to get rid of Him. But Jesus had nothing to hide, no secret life to reveal. So He turned the tables on Annas, subtly challenging the leader’s interrogation of Him (which had been done in secret, and therefore, was against their civil laws).

As for Pilate, he’d learned not to interfere in Jewish matters and had become skilled at shifting responsibility. To him, this was a Jewish problem for the Jews to work out amongst themselves. But to Jesus, this wasn’t just a Jewish issue but a human one, an eternal one. It was about a Kingdom impacting the whole world and beyond, a Kingdom rooted in Truth.

In this series of events, John’s Gospel makes one thing clear: our Savior is fundamentally different from this world. His response is never fed by deception or greed or fear, but rather by an otherworldly compassion for His people and command over all circumstances. He will always accomplish His gracious plan, often in unforeseeable ways.

Like the events in John 18, life can seem like one long, dark night, leaving us feeling betrayed, wounded, and scared. It’s easy to relate to Peter’s impulse to fix the situation, or Pilate’s attempts to distance himself from it. But then I see Jesus walking into the darkness, knowing all there is to fear, yet bolstered by confidence in the Father’s plan to rescue all who love Him.

It’s tempting, perhaps even good, to feel inspired by Christ’s example. But I’m finding I don’t always have the wherewithal to follow Jesus’ lead. I need to lean on Him, push against Him, knowing He will never falter or fail. Seeing His response to such an array of broken people is healing and soul-nourishing for me, a sinner. Our Savior was gentle, trustworthy, and sovereign on the darkest night in history, and He will be so with us today, even now.

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Carolyn Denny dabbled in the Navy, politics, business, and publishing before she discovered her true calling: household management. Today she is raising three boys and a baby girl with her husband Josh in Nashville, Tennessee. In those precious moments tucked between bedtimes and carpools, Carolyn loves to teach the Bible and write about how God shows up in her messy world.

  • Peter went from defending to denying Christ within a matter of moments. I look at him, shaking my head in disapproval. ‘Oh Peter, you got it wrong again.’ And then God nudges my heart and reminds me that I also defend and deny His existence on the daily. I am fickle. And inconsistent. From one moment to the next I can be found declaring His truth or second-guessing that same truth. Or worse yet, I neither defend or deny. I am absent. Not present. No defense. No denial. Jesus. Cover me in your grace. Luke warm or operating in the fleshly extremes of my sinful nature. Your truth. Your story. Jesus. Help me declare it for a lost and dying world.

  • Jesus is so awesome!

  • Our Savior was gentle, trustworthy, and sovereign on the darkest night in history, and He will be so with us today, even now.

  • I believe it is good to feel inspired by Christ’s example. I certainly do. Inspired to oneness with God–inspired to depend on His grace as wholeheartedly as possible. Inspired to pray for otherworldly compassion in my own heart and for wisdom. All the while knowing that some days I will still fail, but that I am forgiven and restored nonetheless.

  • “For anyone else, this would be a crisis moment, to be sure. For the Son of God, it was an opportunity for the most profound display of obedience, love, and humility ever known.”
    Feeling challenged about how I react in time of crisis… don’t think I display obedience, love and humility. So thankful for the example of grace given to Peter, that I know Jesus also gives me.
    Lord, strengthen me, grow my heart closer to your heart so that everyday, in crisis or not, I will obey, love and be humble. Thank you for grace to cover my failures.

  • I want so much to respond to the difficulties of this life the way that Jesus responded on this night!! I don’t want to respond in desperation and fear, but with grace and truth, just as Jesus did. I want to learn from You, Jesus. I long to sit at Your feet and learn and grow through my time spent with You. Thank You that You make that available to us, Lord!!

  • What a beautiful reminder that how broken we are, and how wonderfully gracious he is to us. I needed to read this today.
    “In this series of events, John’s Gospel makes one thing clear: our Savior is fundamentally different from this world. His response is never fed by deception or greed or fear, but rather by an otherworldly compassion for His people and command over all circumstances. He will always accomplish His gracious plan, often in unforeseeable ways.”

    Gods been working on fear with me, may he continue to give me strength and ability to take the chance in front of me even when they are scary.

  • It is so important to sit in the truth of the death of Jesus. To read this scripture over and over again is so important. To understand all that goes into this death is something that needs to sit in my soul. I am so grateful

    • Heather Fringer

      I love this Kelly! This is a first for me going through detail by detail everything that Jesus went through for all of us since I was never good with sticking to a reading plan until I found SRT. I am simply amazed by this but it really helps to deepen the meaning of the love that He has for us and for me!

  • Christina

    The devotions this week have been so powerful, and this one is no less so. I so appreciate that God drew people like Peter to Himself to let me know that my mess is never too much for Him. I appreciate that the gamut of human depravity is displayed in Scripture in stark contrast to Jesus Himself, who simply walks into it and reveals it by His very presence. Wasn’t that why the Jewish leaders sought to kill Him in the first place? He must have been tempted to respond in His humanity to some degree, but He was the most God-tuned human to ever live. Even though we may never attain that atune-ment, we know it is possible and can be a goal of ours. So good to see what it looks like!

  • Naomi LaBoo

    Satan has been so deceiving to me! He tells me I serve a God ready to pounce on me at every little mistake, and will not forgive me! But I know I serve a God who in His agony on the cross prayed Father forgive them for they know not what they do for those who were killing Him! Just made me think!

  • “Like the events in John 18, life can seem like one long, dark night, leaving us feeling betrayed, wounded, and scared. It’s easy to relate to Peter’s impulse to fix the situation, or Pilate’s attempts to distance himself from it. But then I see Jesus walking into the darkness, knowing all there is to fear, yet bolstered by confidence in the Father’s plan to rescue all who love Him.”

    Wow, this is so timely. Just last night, I had a conversation with my boyfriend that left me more discouraged than ever. He has been struggling with depression and at first it seemed to be bringing him closer to God. But lately, it has been one bad situation after another – the loss of a job, not getting through with other jobs he’s applied to, his car breaking down (costing him even more money that he doesn’t have right now), and the list goes on.

    Now he is saying he is not sure what he believes in anymore. During our conversation I brought up the story of Jacob wrestling with God because I feel like that is what is happening with him right now. I truly believe that he has been under spiritual attack and the devil is trying to get him to let go of any hope that he has left in God.

    Part of me, like Peter, desperately wants to fix the situation, but I know only God can do that and I need to put my full trust Him. But then another part of me, like Pilate, is confused and wonders if I should just distance myself from this whole situation. I wonder if it is too late or too broken for hope and restoration.

    But deep down I know that God is faithful, that just as Jesus walked through the darkest of paths trusting His father completely, I need to do the same. I feel so confused about what God’s will is right now and if you have managed to read up to this point, I would be so thankful if you would remember me and my boyfriend in prayer.

    • Candy

      Dear Kristi, you are indeed in my prayers. I too am a “fixer” and find it hard to just stand by when someone I love is hurting. I have to imagine my problems placed into a ball and then I throw it to God in prayer and quickly close my hands so I don’t go and grab it back. Our great and loving father God has got this and you and your boyfriend in His large and capable hands.

      • Kristi

        Thank you so much Candy. Your kind words of encouragement are a blessing.

    • Kate

      I can relate to your feelings in this Kristi. Praying for you both!

  • Jessica Gardiner

    When I face dark nights of rejection or betrayal or fear, I have this bold confidence: Christ went before. There is nothing I can experience that would one-up what He suffered for me. Just as Jesus walked through it, entrusting Himself to the Father’s plan, so can I.

    “He works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” Like Jesus, I can have unshakeable confidence in the darkest night because nothing can alter the Father’s good plan for me and evil cannot win when I entrust myself to Him.

    Oh Lord, when dark nights come, help me not to react or withdraw but instead humble myself before you and entrust myself to your care. Amen <3

  • churchmouse

    Praying today that I would indeed be different from this world and that I would have unwavering confidence in the Father’s plan. Help me, Lord Jesus.

  • I am being fed through this ministry! SRT has sparked my study of scripture again! A cross ref. verse of John 18:36 is found in 1Tim. 6 :13-15. Jesus example of the good confession of faith is detailed n 1Tim.6:13-15
    “I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who wittnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lird Jesus Christs appearing,which He will manifest in His own time”
    Oh how I need His courage to stand and confess this truth in the time appointed to me!

    • Jessica Gardiner

      Such a wonderful link. Thank you for sharing. I’m praying for you and me both this morning for the courage to stand, the character to bring glory to God and the Words to speak to make much of HIM!

  • Keri McCue

    I love Christ’s response and reactions to everything. He was so confident in His Father. So sure of His plan. He didn’t waver or question. Oh, that we could have faith and confidence like that! To stop doubting and questioning and to just obey!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • I think it’s so important to be rooted in HIM and HIS word. There is so many distractions with news and opinions, but truly, he has the final say in it all!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • “Seeing His response to such an array of broken people is healing and soul-nourishing for me, a sinner.” This is exactly what I needed. This morning has been hard as the Lord has been showing me hidden sin in my life. This morning has been beautiful as the Lord has shown me His love, grace and victory over sin in my life. Praise the Lord!

  • Diane Huntsman

    I think most of us can relate to Peter.. we think we are “all in” ready to “die with Jesus” but when the real moment of truth comes we lose our boldness and buckle under pressure.. all things Human come crashing over us and we have to retire our superhero capes and humbly admit we are scared and lacking the faith we were once so sure we had.. I love that the Word of God contains such relatable people.. I want to be a Joseph but I’m so often a Peter.. over confident one moment denying God the next.. all those days Peter walked with Jesus, saw the miracles, witnessed who He was and yet he totally wimped out.. so crazy and yet I most likely would have done the same exact thing.. but Peter knows he’s blown it, that rooster crows and the words of Jesus pierce him through and he owns it.. he knows that he is in the wrong and he has to feel the weight of the world upon him as he deals with what he’s done.. and yet Jesus isn’t disgusted in Peter.. He isn’t mad.. He doesn’t give Peter the “I told you so lecture” He responds with gentleness and restores him.. His grace is extended to each and every one of us.. not to be abused or misused but to be appreciated and to teach us to understand we serve a compassionate Lord with an unending supply of love and mercy.. knowing who He is should merely make us want to honor Him in all things.. relying solely upon His power to be who He has called us to be.. not on self as did Peter.

  • Stephanie

    I love how Jesus is with us in the dark places.
    These past few months have been hard, I unjustly lost my job, have had many many confrontations with my roommate, and been wavering on where God wants me next. Right now I have a temporary job, but there doesn’t seem to be any real plan for it to morph into a full time job, which I need.
    But through it all, I have experienced God’s faithfulness like never before, I have learned how to love well (not just according to how I feel) and I have learned more patience.
    I am so thankful that all this has happened because I have learned so much more about who God is personally, rather than just what the Scripture says. He is with us always. And that is such a refreshing thought.

    • Christine Marie

      God is faithful and transforms us in the difficult times. Thank you for sharing Stephanie :)

  • I guess it saddens me some that only Peter stood up and was willing to fight for him, because that’s the reaction I naturally feel I would have. The symbolism that there are things in my life I probably fight for, that Jesus says is not God’s will…. is humbling to me. Praying I can be more gentle in my response to adversity.

  • I have a question for anyone that will answer.I am really enjoying this study. Very thankful for it. I know there are actual books you can order to go with these amazing studies. How much does the accompanying book change the depth of your study? I am trying to decide because for me the books are a little expensive. However, the books look so beautiful and I know they are well done. What does the book bring to the study for you? Thank you.❤

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      I absolutely love the books…..I am a visual, hands on sort of girl. I write my notes and prayers each morning……the artwork, the scripture written in – love it! Back in the day they were more of just a simple dedicated journal (more of a small notebook) – now they are truly round out the study for me. The one downside is that since I do all of the reading and note taking in the study book, I am not doing it in my bible…..I love the verse memory cards – I keep them out on my kitchen table and have a couple that I have framed and tucked in sweet areas of my house. For me, autoship has been a huge blessing. There was one month, years ago (back with the old style of journal and before autoship) that I didn’t get the study (Daniel maybe??) and it just didn’t work for me. I didn’t have the same “feeling”…. It keeps me accountable….. Hope this helps! :)

    • Carol

      Shelia, I have exactly those same questions… Love these devotionals, though!!

    • Sam

      I ordered my first book this advent, and actually was really disappointed. All that’s in the book is the scripture and “extras” (recipes, pictures). The book is very beautiful, but I didn’t end up using it at all. I thought the book would have the study/devotional so I could just take that and my Bible and go read, instead of having to be on my phone, but nope. It replaced my Bible, which I thought was just…odd, and really expensive. I know others love them, and that’s awesome! Obviously they make a difference for some, but thought I’d throw in my $.02. :)

      • sheila

        I appreciate the details about what is actually inside the books. The only thing I know is that they are pretty. Very helpful. Thank you.

    • Jacki

      I love them. I find they do help me go deeper because I read the scripture in the book then underline and mark what stands out to me or touches me, then I read the devotion and write the quotes that stand out in the notes section of the study. Doing all of this makes it stick so much more in my mind. If I just do it on the phone or my computer, it’s so much easier to skim or to speed up. Having the paper books makes me slow down and really get into what we’re studying. It’s also so much easier to go back and reference something from previous studies. I’ve been doing the paper books since Lent of last year and it has deepened my spiritual walk like no other.

    • Bg

      Hi Sheila- the books are a very nice addition to the study –so beautifully done–but I think that you can get what you need using your Bible along with the online devotional and comments/community. I really enjoy the books, they put the Scripture readings all in one place, offer journaling space and sometimes offer little extras such as timelines, recipes, and hymns. When money is an issue, I have no problem doing without the book–and I think you will be fine and will not be sacrificing any depth without them. I do, however, encourage you to spend time in the online responses to the devotions. SRT is truly an uplifting community and I could not imagine a day without learning and worshipping with this group of sisters from around the world.

      • Leah

        I ordered the proverbs study book and was disappointed. It wasn’t any different than what you read here. Not one more word. Not worth the money

      • sheila

        This is such an encouraging answer. Thank you for taking the time to describe the two different ways to do the studies. I was looking at the Lent book and $32 just seemed like a lot for me to pay.

    • Jenny

      I ditto Jackie. but agree the books are expensive. This is only my third study and I have found that I cherish the beauty of the books design and it keeps me motivated to stay on track each day and provides a deeper experience. But for the next two studies coming up the total was high for my budget so I opted to get the cards for one study and the book for another.

    • Stephanie

      I honestly got a few of the books but find that I don’t actually use them (I got the Open your Bible and the She’s in the Word one) and honestly they are so pretty, but I feel like I get the same from the app and my Bible, and sometimes more because with my Bible I will think of other verses that go along with the daily reading. I also feel they are kinda expensive so I tend to be slightly cheap, :) anyways that’s my opinion at least

      • sheila

        Thank you to all that answered my question about buying the companion books. Your answers were so helpful. These studies are such a blessing and I am grateful for them. I really appreciate all of you for helping me.

    • Kate

      The study books are beautiful, but if your budget doesn’t allow the expense, keep using this app along with a blank notebook to record your observations/thoughts/prayers each day from using the app and you will basically be doing the same thing. No offense to the SRT study creators at all either! But if you can’t afford it, then I think this is a great alternative.

    • churchmouse

      I’m grateful to SRT for providing the study books because I’m a paper and pen person. I read the Scriptures in the study guide and highlight what stands out to me. Then I read the devotion on the mobile app and store down any notes from that in the study guide – as well as any comments by the She’s that especially impact me. I enjoy all the little extras in the study guide and the Bible memory cards. I sometimes do the study at a local coffee shop and the beauty of the books has drawn comments from passer-bys (“that looks interesting. What are you reading /studying? “). So the study guides have even been a witnessing tool. I have found the guides to be very useful for me but not absolutely necessary for everyone. I think it’s a wonderful blessing that SRT provides such options. Blessed whether one uses the guide or not.

  • He protected them. How many times do we feel scared and alone in darkness? How reassuring to know Jesus is there to protect us.

  • I was struck by verse 37-38. Jesus says that His purpose was “to bear witness to the truth”. Truth is not something our society seems to seek. The prevailing belief seems to be, ‘what’s true for you, might not be true for me’. But, I think that’s crazy to believe that way. Now, more than ever, I need to be a person of The Truth – Jesus. Isaiah 59:14-15 says, “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.”
    Lord, make us all people of Truth.

    • Susan

      Amen!!

    • Candice Friedrich

      Amen!!

    • Tania

      So true….. The verse that popped out for me was Pilate’s “what is truth?”. Is that our world today or what. I pray for God to give me the courage to speak truth to my friends even when it’s unpalatable in our current culture!

  • In a dark season, God was so good to share a vision with me that brought great peace in that time. I was so troubled by decisions I needed to make and one I knew was the right one, that my heart wanted to believe but because of history, I was so fearful for my future with it, so I prayed, thought on it and worried over it … day and night, while simultaneously putting it off. One day, while praying, it was as if everything stopped and the image of Christ standing before me in a heavy forest came to mind. His face clear to me, I was behind Him. It was daytime, I could feel that but the trees were so plentiful that the light only flickered in and out of them. I could hear the brush and tree limbs cracking under my feet and could feel my fear when Christ reached out His hand for me, I grabbed it and He carefully and methodically led me through the forest. There was no path. He pushed small branches out of our way, holding them for me to pass safely, while often looking back at me as if to say “I’m still here, no worries”. We did not speak, we just held hands and slowly walked. We moved slightly uphill as we went when I noticed the light becoming greater at which point Christ looked back at me, pulled back branches and allowed me to walk through. What was revealed was greater than I could ever put in words. It was an open field, vibrant, full of blossoming color. The ground felt soft under my feet and the reeds blew slightly in a gentle, warm breeze. I felt peace that I could not ever explain and the scripture Isaiah 43:18-19 was laid on my heart …

    18 “But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
    19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
    I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

    I realized He was asking me to trust Him in this. That He would bring me through it all, leaving behind the pain, the hurt, the history and providing something new and amazing, beyond my imagination. I will admit, I was still nervous but I knew what I needed to do and I had hope that wasn’t there before and more than that I knew that no matter what would come, no matter how thick the brush, God would walk me through it. He wasn’t going to leave me in the journey, He would walk *with* me, the entire way …. no matter what. And He did, He did not fail to provide.

    Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” … He is so good to reveal beauty to us when we need it, to show us things we would otherwise not see, to gift us Himself in EVERY season.

    Happy Wednesday friends!

    • Susan

      Beautiful!

    • Tricia C

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Sarah_Joy

      …to gift us Himself in every season. Love all of this. Thank you for sharing, B.

    • Missa

      Thank you for sharing this! My husband and I have made the decision to move far away from everything I’ve ever known, and while I’m excited and have always loved where we are moving, just thinking how much my life is about to change brings me so much anxiety! I needed to hear this today.

      • Carey

        Missa – I moved a few times and it was emotionally difficult for me. Looking back – some of the greatest experiences and friendships I’ve ever had! This group/support really helped me! https://justmoved.org/ It’s a womens Christian organization for those who have been uprooted. Blessing on your journey – God taught us a lot! <3

        • ~ B ~

          Carey, I just checked out the site. What a great idea. After all my moves, I wish I would have thought of it but so glad someone had the foresight to. :)

      • ~ B ~

        Ah, I so understand this. I have moved my entire life, all sides and throughout the middle of the great USofA and every time, there is always a little trepidation. I will be prayerful over your move. I am excited for you. A new start and the many wonderful things that come with it … exciting, all while nerve wracking, stuff. When are you moving?

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Absolutely beautiful! Thank you friend for blessing my morning!!! xo

    • Missy

      He’s so wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

    • candacejo

      Your words… ♥

      • ~ B ~

        Love to you. Hope you’re enjoying that beautiful babe. I may be down in your neck of the woods in the coming months. :)

    • KrisR

      Wow, so needed this today. Thanks for sharing B.

      • ~ B ~

        I’m glad you found it helpful. I am certain that vision wasn’t just for me. :)

    • Alexis

      Your words have really blessed me! I almost want to print out your response as a reminder to myself when I am going through hard times and don’t see a way out. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insight with all of us. I always look forward to your words.

      • ~ B ~

        Thank you, Alexis. I am so glad that I had the words to convey what God had done for me. I know it is meant for all of us. Hope you don’t find yourself in too many of those moments. :)

    • Christine Marie

      What beautiful imagery. Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • Kendra

      ❤️❤️

    • churchmouse

      Amen and amen

    • Candy

      Thank you SO very much for sharing this! I have always felt nearer to God in nature so I can visualize this so clearly. How blessed you are! I took a picture of your post to keep since that is my way to highlight things on my iPad. God bless you!!

      • ~ B ~

        Candy, I am the same way. I find and hear Him in nature so easily. It’s amazing, too, isn’t it? He knows exactly how to speak to us, where we will hear Him best … what imagery to provide to help us see better. Constantly overwhelmed with His care of keeping of little old me.

  • Alice Carroll

    If He walked into the darkness, we know that when we come to do the same, He has already been there and will be there with us.

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