The Faithfulness of Christ

Gospel of John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Big Idea: Christ’s example of faithfulness serves as an example for us to follow.



Big Idea: Christ’s example of faithfulness serves as an example for us to follow.
Christ was faithful…
in protection those entrusted to Him - John 18:8-9.
in enduring the pain of God’s good plan - John 18:11.
in being above reproach in all word and deed - John 18:19-21.
to restore and reconcile - John 18:25-27.


All the virtues which appeared in Christ shone brightest in the close of His life, under the trials He then met. Eminent virtue always shows brightest in the fire. Pure gold shows its purity chiefly in the furnace. It was chiefly under those trials which Christ endured in the close of His life that His love to God, His honor of God’s majesty, His regard to the honor of His law, His spirit of obedience, His humility, contempt of the world, His patience, meekness, and spirit of forgiveness towards men, appeared. Indeed, everything that Christ did to work out redemption for us appears mainly in the close of His life. Here mainly is His satisfaction for sin, and here chiefly is His merit of eternal life for sinners, and here chiefly appears the brightness of His example which He has set us for imitation. Jonathan Edwards
There is no greater example of faithfulness than Jesus.
As we near the end of his earthly life and ministry, this is never more clearly seen.
As we turn into chapter 18, we move to this critical mass moment and we witness, the face of his betrayal and death, the faithfulness of the Son of God.


Big Idea: Christ’s example of faithfulness serves as an example for us to follow.
Four examples of faithfulness stand out.
Christ was faithful…

Christ was faithful in protection those entrusted to Him - John 18:8-9.

John 18:1–9 ESV
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”
At the end of John 14, Jesus and his disciples left the upper room and had begun to make their way to the garden.
John 15-17 all take place then, in route to the garden.
John 18, they now arrive at the garden of Gethsemane.
They went forth - left Jerusalem
Just to give you a mental and pictorial bearing…
They had to cross the city, leave the city, and then work their way to the garden.
Judas, knowing the place…was already prepared for the fact that Jesus would be here with his disciples. So commonly did Jesus come here, that Judas knew this is where he would be.
Gathering the soldiers and the chief priests and Pharisees, they come to collect Christ. Judas makes good on his betrayal.
Jesus, already knowing this is coming is waiting.
“Whom do you seek?”
He knows whom they are seeking. Why is he asking?
Forcing them to answer for the disciples sake, for the sake of having it openly proclaimed who they were there for?
Perhaps more…seeking for them to provide an answer as to who they may perceive him to be, thus exposing the nature of their heart?
Most likely, just a formality, but perhaps more there that we do not know.
Jesus of Nazareth, is their answer.
His response bears our noteworthy attention.
How does Jesus answer?
“I AM HE.”
In the Greek, the HE does not exist.
Without the “He,” what is Jesus answer?
This leaves, I AM
Once again, as he has done on several other occasions, he is claiming that divine name for God.
His answer is I AM.
AND THE POWER OF IT is such that it drives them all to the ground.
He had stated THIS name before. Why did it not have similar affect then?
Because, it served a purpose here. Just the stating of HIS REAL and ETERNAL name had such power as to render them helpless. THUS, THEY DID NOT CLAIM HIM…HE WENT WILLINGLY.
This was not an arrest. This was a voluntary surrender.
Their weapons, which they had brought with them, were rendered useless against His power.
And they had come prepared…swords and shields.
They even brought lanterns, which would not have been needed for their trek from the city to the garden which would have been well lit. They expected him to flee, to run into the dark countryside. They expected to have to pursue him.
Application: Church, we have a God whose name is so powerful, none can stand against Him.
That truth ought to be a supreme comfort and motivation for us. He cannot be defeated. Nor will he ever be defeated. He IS the victor of the ages.
Having fallen back, they have to get up and when they do, Jesus asks again…WHO DO YOU SEEK?
Again they answer
and again he says, I AM.
AND THEN he commands them to let the disciples go
A command backed up and enforced by the display of power he just exhibited.
A command that makes clear they are actually under his authority
A command that makes clear they are only authorized to arrest him and not his disciples.
John records that the point of this command was to fulfill his word that not one of the ones given to Jesus by God the Father would be lost.
John 6:37-40.
John 6:37–40 ESV
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Jesus promised his protection to them AND HE IS KEEPING THAT WORD.
Certainly there is more here than just their physical protection, as we know that they will later suffer greatly (and willingly) for their faith, for their Savior…
Right now, there faith is fragile and weak. It is small and immature. IT IS REAL but it is immature.
An arrest, imprisonment, etc could have been enough to shatter that faith, to make them question it, and renounce it.
THUS, Jesus protected them from that fate and thus protected their eternal fate by guarding their faith.
Application: God is faithful in guarding the faith and spiritual welfare of the ones entrusted to Him…our faith and spiritual welfare.
Consider James 4:7.
James 4:7 ESV
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
As we submit and surrender, the enemy has no power, no recourse. He must flee.
1 Peter 5:6-11.
1 Peter 5:6–11 ESV
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
LISTEN…Our God stands between us and our foe. He protects, keeps, restores, and guards.
Hebrews 2:14-18.
Hebrews 2:14–18 ESV
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
John 10:28-30.
John 10:28–30 ESV
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
God is faithful to protect that which is His, to fulfill His word.
Church, DO YOU believe this to be true?
This morning, do you believe it to be true?
Or do you struggle to believe that God is actively guarding your faith and spiritual welfare?
God stands between you and your adversary, our enemy. He stands in the gap. He only allows such attacks as he deems necessary for our spiritual testing and strengthening. He does NOT guard us from all test, all suffering, all pain, but he allows ONLY THAT which will profit us and not harm us.
Oh that we could have confidence and peace with this truth.
I know I struggle with it sometimes…too often to admit probably.
It is a balm to my weary soul to be reminded of this.
Here, Jesus is protecting his disciples, their physical welfare, yes, but MORE their spiritual welfare.
Christ was faithful…
in protection those entrusted to Him - John 18:8.

Christ was faithful in enduring the pain of God’s good plan - John 18:11.

John 18:10–11 ESV
10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Simon Peter, seeing His Savior threatened, did what he thought was right…he defended him. Or attempted to.
Most likely, Peter was also influenced by the display of power that the name of Jesus invoked.
It set a fire in his blood.
He wielded the sword, not very well, and struck the high priests servant, Malchcus.
We learn from the parallel accounts that Jesus picked up the severed ear and reattached.
What was Jesus’ response?
Then Jesus says this…
Put your sword away Peter.
This was not the battle Peter should be fighting.
The battle Peter should have been fighting was one for his faith. And in truth, Peter thought he was doing right, or else he would not have done it.
But Peter is fighting the wrong battle.
Jesus did not need protecting or defending. In fact the opposite was true. He was trying to protect them and this act would threaten that.
Jesus kingdom was not earthly. This was not about a human kingship.
Peter still does not understand that, nor do the rest of the disciples.
Jesus response was…”Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
What is significant about Jesus’ response?
Jesus was faithful to the father’s plan NO MATTER HOW PAINFUL AND DIFFICULT that plan was.
The path of obedience is sometimes, oftentimes path of challenge, difficulty, and pain.
Jesus embraced that pain. He was commited to seeing it through, pain and all.
Application: Only when we are committed to the will and plan of God will we be able and willing to embrace pain and suffering as a good and necessary thing.
The cup that God had laid out for Jesus was that of bearing the judgement and wrath for the sins of the world SO THAT salvation could be offered to all who repent and believe.
This was necessary. It had to happen.
Just because they did not understand it, did not make it any less so.
How often do we ask for relief from the suffering when perhaps we should be asking for strength and grace to endure?
How often do we ask for the cessation of hardship when God desires us seek willingness and faithfulness to endure it for His glory?
E.G. - Mom’s prayer on the front porch for faithfulness in the struggle, not cessation, though that is what she wanted.
Christ was faithful to endure God’s plan, regardless of how much pain it would bring.
Will we do the same?
Christ was faithful…
in protection those entrusted to Him - John 18:8.
in enduring the pain of God’s good plan - John 18:11.

Christ was faithful in being above reproach in all word and deed - John 18:19-21.

John 18:12–14 ESV
12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.
So they bind him and take him to the religious leaders. Anna was first. He was the father in law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the high priest that year.
Annas had previously served as high priest.
He had been removed from this position by Valerius Gratus, pilates predecessor.
At this point in history, these positions, which were supposed to be life positions under the law, were used by the Romans and other ruling nations as positions of control. They would put and depose people as they saw fit in order to serve their purposes and maintain order and control.
Annas, though he was no longer in power, was still considered to be the most powerful figure in the hierarchy. Many still considered him the source of power.
He likely still controlled a great deal and exercised a great deal of power despite not having the official position.
Thus, they started with him.
Annas was a proud, ambitious, and greedy man.
He took a portion of the proceeds from the sale of sacrificial animals.
He also took profit from the exchange of money fees that were charged to those who came.
So greedy was he and so notorious was this greed, that the outer court where these transactions took place became known as the Bazaar of Annas.
THUS, Annas would take a special dislike to Jesus. Why?
Because Jesus would TWICE disrupt his trade and his income by pushing the peddlers of wares out of the temple.
Caiaphas, it is noted, is the same one who advised the Jews that it was more expedient for one man to die for the nation than many to die.
The incident refers back to John 11:48-52.
John 11:49–52 ESV
49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
This was Caiaphas willing to sacrifice one man to keep Rome happy, to keep his position of power, to keep the status quo, than to upset the balance.
His meaning of better for one man to die than for an entire nation to perish may well have been a prophesy of what Christ came to do, but for entirely different reasons.
Caiaphas, who was also appointed as high priest by the same one who deposed Annas, was one of the longest running high priests of this time.
This goes to show his prowess and ruthlessness to maintain the position. So long as he kept the Romans happy, he was left alone. The fact that he remained as long as he did shows that he was a good puppet for them and was concerned about truth and what God wanted.
These are the ones to whom they take Jesus after his arrest. Quite the motley pair.
SKIP to verse 19 for a moment. We will come back to Peter’s denial in a minute.
John 18:19-24.
John 18:19–24 ESV
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
We are not given the exact nature of their questioning or their exact questions.
Regardless of what they asked, the issue is not what they asked but the fact that they asked.
Jewish law protected the accused from testifying against themselves, much like our 5th amendment. The fact that they asked at all was illegal and shows the maliciousness of their intent.
Jesus response not only calls them out on it, but it also testifies to a more significant fact.
I have spoken openly…I have said nothing in secret…
GO and ask those who have heard me…get their testimony as to what I have said.
Jesus lived with integrity.
His purpose was NOT to divide. Not in the sense that he purposefully desired to sow discord and dissension among people. God does not enjoy discord and disunity, warring, and fighting.
No. Jesus did not come with some sadistic desire to cause problems between man.
HOWEVER, he Himself stated that he came to divide mother and father, father and son, mother and daughter, brother and sister, etc.
He came…to give truth. To draw men to repent. To return. To be restored to relationship with Himself.
BUT VIRTUE of his message, by virtue of the invitation combined with the hardness of men’s hearts and their refusal to repent and come, DIVISION RESULTED.
In that way, he came to divide. He came to separate the repentant from the rebellious.
But division for division sake…was never on the heart of God.
Jesus came, not with treason or treachery in mind, but with peace, with restoration, with a desire for oneness as a whole.
His words here to Annas, bear that out.
I spoke openly. I spoke honestly. I hid nothing. I was not sowing discord behind your backs. I was not plotting revolution and revolt.
All that I spoke, I did so publically and openly.
GO ASK THEM. Verify for yourselves, FROM OTHERS, what I said.
Jesus was faithful to live with integrity, in such a way that ALL of his actions and words could be verified by another.
He lived transparently. As transparently as the Son of God could.
Application: Do we live in such way as to exemplify the same integrity as that of Christ? Would our words and testimony vindicate or condemn us?
Could we point to the testimony of others as a means to validate our words?
Jesus is Jesus, I know. He was perfect, I know. But is he not the model, the example for us to follow, even if imperfectly?
So, not only was Jesus calling out their hypocrisy and their sin, he was able to with all validity, call upon the witness of others to validate His innocence.
However, they did not like his response. Angry and embarrassed by his exposure, they strike him…also an illegal act.
Jesus response is once again perfect. If I was wrong, the legal response is to CORRECT me not strike me. But if I am was right, which I am, then there was no legal right to strike me, and therefore you are further more in the wrong.
Getting no where with this, Annas sends him to Caiaphas, for Caiaphas alone as the ruling high priest had the legal right to issue sentence.
Christ was faithful…
in protection those entrusted to Him - John 18:8.
in enduring the pain of God’s good plan - John 18:11.
in being above reproach in all word and deed - John 18:19-21.

Christ was faithful to restore and reconcile - John 18:25-27.

Coming back to Peter…we once more are reminded of Peter’s thrice denial.
John 18:15–18 ESV
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
John 18:25–27 ESV
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
Having the backdrop of Anna and Caiaphas, you may well understand then, what happens next.
Peter, who follows with John (the other disciple) will be confronted by the servant girl keep watching over the door that grants entrance to the courtyard of the high priest. She recognizes him and fingers him as one of Jesus’ disciples.
Peter, however, DENIES it. His first of three times.
Framed with the corruption, greed, and villany of Annas and Caiaphas, we understand (but do not justify or condone) the denial. They would not, were not open to truth, but only looking out for their own best interests. Peter knows it. In this moment, his allows his fear for self to be stronger than his love for Jesus and he denies association with him as a means to protect himself.
Skipping down to verse 25, we see the rest of his denial…
John 18:25-27.
John 18:25–27 ESV
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
He has been standing here for a while, warming himself by the fire. In between, which we will come back to, Jesus has been being interrogated by Annas.
But again here, someone by the fire recognizes him again and fingers him as Jesus’ disciple. Again he denies it.
And yet again, someone recognizes him, this time as the one who had cut of Malchus’ ear in the garden.
Peter, still fighting back fear….Denies it again
And then the rooster crows. And Jesus’ words come true.
Be wary of your own self righteousness here.
What danger would our own self righteousness pose here?
His actions were wrong, yes. He may have needed to be admonished for them, yes. Course, I am sure the guilt and shame that descended the moment he heard the rooster was enough. But, the truth is, we all are guilty of the very same things in our own lives…things of which we too need to be called out…but in a spirit of restoration not condemnation.
Peter’s faith was present, but it was immature. It was weak. This moment though, was likely a watershed moment for him. We will see in John 21, the restoration of Jesus for Peter. We will see what Jesus does to bring this moment to redemption.
I won’t skip ahead to look at it now, but I will say this….
Peter’s failure here was not the end. Peter’s failure would be redeemed. It would be reconciled. Peter would be restored mercifully.
God is faithful in that he works to reconcile and restore us to himself. And when we respond humbly and repentantly, he does just that.
Here is an arsenal verse to hang on to…
2 Timothy 2:8-13.
2 Timothy 2:8–13 ESV
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
If we deny - utter rejection. Lack of faith
If we are faithless - We have embraced him but our faith is weak…it is immature…when we FAIL, as Peter did here, on the basis of our maturing and growing faith, God remains faithful.
This is different than complete outright and utter rejection, denial.
This is a comfort to us then when we fail in the journey of our maturing faith, God remains faithful.
This is NOT a justification for continuing to sin and excusing our weak faith….
It IS a testament to GOD’s goodness and faithfulness AND it is a challenge for us to live worthy of it.
But understand this, when we get to chapter 21 and we see the rest of this story, we will be reminded of this truth…
God is in the business of growing our faith to be resolute and stalwart, a faith that will stand up to the toughest foes. And when we fail, we can trust HIS grace to help us get back up, brush ourselves off, and keep growing.
God does not deny Himself. He can’t and he won’t.
Christ was faithful…
in protection those entrusted to Him - John 18:8.
in enduring the pain of God’s good plan - John 18:11.
in being above reproach in all word and deed - John 18:19-21.
to restore and reconcile - John 18:25-27.
Next week, we will consider the text that follows when Jesus is led before Caiaphas and before Pilate. In this encounter, we will see the kingdom that God is really all about…a reality these men have not even begun to grasp at.
For today, I leave you with this…


Big Idea: Christ’s example of faithfulness serves as an example for us to follow.
Christ was faithful…
in protection those entrusted to Him - John 18:8-9.
in enduring the pain of God’s good plan - John 18:11.
in being above reproach in all word and deed - John 18:19-21.
to restore and reconcile - John 18:25-27.
And in His faithfulness, leave us an example to follow in our devotion to Him.
Will we protect those entrusted to Christ?
Will we endure the pain God prescribes in our path of obedience to Him?
Will we strive to walk worthy, to walk in righteousness, to be above reproach in all we do, public or private?
Will we strive for the restoration and reconciliation of all who fall and fail in their obedience to Him?
Will we be faithful till death?
Church, may you and I imitate the faithfulness of God as we commit to growing together to become more like Jesus for the glory of God.


What comfort are you given that God is faithful to protect those entrusted to Him?
Why do we sometimes struggle to believe that God stands between us and our enemy?
The pain and suffering seem to be endless and we grow weary, worn, and tired of it.
Grief and sorrow cloud our perception and judgement.
Lack of discipleship and training in understanding God and His will
Confusion over pain and harm. Not all pain is harmful. Not all pain is meant for harm.
When we struggle to believe it, what must we do to overcome our doubt?
Read the Word
Get counsel to help us see
Repent of any sin or wrong thinking that has led to wrong conclusions.
Humbles ourselves to be teachable and instructable
What must we do to get to the point of being willing to endure God’s good plan for us even if it involves suffering?
Love God above all, including our comfort and ease.
Cherish HIM above all else.
Strengthen our TRUST in Him
Lean on others, the body of Christ to help us.
Let go of our wrong expectations and accept His.
Let go of our will and embrace His.
Keep our eyes fixed on the eternality of heaven and the reward and rest waiting for us there.
Where are you personally resisting God’s plan for your life?
In what area(s) of your life would you not be vindicated by the witness of others? In what area(s) do you need to repent and make changes to be living above reproach?
What is the most important reason why our lives should be “above reproach?”
For the glory of God and the majesty of His name.
What does living a life that is “above reproach” look like while still dealing with sinful flesh?
Not perfect. We are not that. But it does mean that we live with integrity, honesty, honor, and humility.
It means when we do sin and mess up, we accept it, reconcile it, make restitution for it, and accept the consequence for it without complaint.
We live in community and keep ourselves open to accountability, rebuke, admonishment, and correction because we desire growth and holiness.
What danger does self righteousness pose to our lives?
It convinces we are better than others.
It convinces us we have no wrong.
We become blind to our own sin and become judgmental and condemning of others.
We become distances from God
Relationships with others are destroyed.
What hope do you have from the reality that God restores and reconciles those who repent?
God remains faithful and true even when we fail. He keeps us and works to restore us. He does not give up. There is great hope in this.
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