Devotion 130 – Friday of Lent 1

Opening Prayer

Show us, Lord Jesus, Your love and Your power. Amen.

Text: John 18:4–9

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 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 Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Then – when He said to them, “I am He,” – they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.”

Devotion

“No one takes my life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself,” the Lord said (Joh 10:18). Of His own free will He went to His death; otherwise no power in the world could have led Him to it. Only the Father’s will, only the plan of grace and eternal love for our salvation by His death drove Him, only His infinite mercy toward us is the power that led the Lamb of God to slaughter. If He had gone to His Passion reluctantly, with repugnance and aversion, which the devil continually and horribly tempted Him to do in Gethsemane, then He could not have paid for the guilt of our sin.

One word from Him, “I am He,” throws the armed mob to the ground. He thereby shows us that He willingly let Himself be bound. But thus He also gives a penitential sermon to Judas and the others, for Jesus can do nothing other than lovingly call all who come near Him. Are they still determined to lay their hands on Him to bind Him? Must their hearts not be struck by His greatness, so that they repent, just as those earlier servants who were sent to arrest Him (Joh 7:46)? No. The hour of darkness has come, and Satan will now use these men to put God’s Son in chains. Miserable womb that bore you!

And now the Lord uses His power only to save His disciples: “Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way.” In these words He gives them a letter of safe conduct which the enemies must obey. What would have happened to the poor disciples if they too were now imprisoned and led to death? O what a strong and faithful Lord Jesus is! He Himself lays down His life, so that we shall live, and He cares for us the whole time, during the most hopeless circumstances, so He does not lose one of those the Father had given Him. Keep this in your heart, and remember it when you are being tempted. His power and love and faithfulness are with you to save you. Believe in Him!

Closing Prayer

We heartily thank You, precious Lord Jesus, that You cover us with Your wings. Save us by Your death, and defend us with Your almighty Word. Give us the light and gifts of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may believe in You, follow You, and suffer and die with You. Amen.

Hymn

Behold how Jesus fareth
Unto the place of death;
Himself He now prepareth
For such a mournful path.

He sees with God’s own vision
His capture, cross, and death.
He, only, knows the reasons,
The purpose of such wrath.

In willing mind we find Him
His enemies to spite;
He knows that they shall bind Him,
Yet vict’ry is in sight.

His coming is so humble
Upon a lowly beast,
Yet He shall never stumble
When Satan is released.

‘Tis He who comes to loose us
From bondage to our sin;
‘Tis He who then will soothe us
And comfort souls within.

‘Tis He who joy now bringeth,
To Salem biddeth peace;
To Zion’s daughter singeth:
“Now in thy Lord rejoice.”

‘Tis He who thee embraceth
With tender loving care;
‘Tis He who vict’ry graceth
With bloody sweat so rare.

‘Tis He who now is wearing
A crown of thorns for thee
‘Tis He the name is bearing
Of Lord eternally.

Kingo: Se hvor nu Jesus træder L 300:2.3.5.7.8 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: O Jesus, for din Pine (LHy 479); alternate hymn: A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth ELH 331

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