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A Lenten Devotion “Jesus … went forward” A Lenten Devotion “Jesus … went forward”

By the time candidates for public office have thrown their names into the ring, they have already thought things through long and hard. They know from previous election cycles just what to expect on the campaign trail, especially when running for the presidency. Knowing what is ahead, they have to decide if they want to go forward in spite of all. 

It wasn’t a mere political election Jesus was facing, for His passion was about to begin. Knowing that, these words—recorded only by the evangelist John—fill us with amazement: “Jesus … went forward” (John 18:4).

Didn’t He know WHAT
was coming?!

Yes, He did know! The records of the other evangelists report that only moments earlier Jesus had prayed in agony, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me…” (Mark 14:36).

He knew exactly what was coming; He Himself had announced it plainly to His disciples on their final trek to Jerusalem: “The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him…”(Mark 10:33-34).

Jesus knew that the approaching suffering and death was something He needed to endure. “Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:11)

Well then, if Jesus knew WHAT was coming, is it possible that there in the Garden of Gethsemane He didn’t know WHO was coming?!

Yes, He knew that too! True, the man who was coming out to the Garden of Gethsemane with the “detachment of troops” (John 18:3) had feigned ignorance earlier that night. He had hidden His plans so well that the eleven disciples were completely in the dark as to why Jesus had sent Judas Iscariot out at that moment before the Passover meal. “Some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus said to him, ‘Buy those things we need for the feast,’ or that he should give something to the poor” (John 13:29).

But Judas didn’t fool Jesus. Earlier (in John 6) Jesus said to His disciples, “‘Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him…” (vv. 70-71).

So what then? If Jesus knew WHAT was coming and WHO was coming, could it have been that
He didn’t know WHY these things were coming?

Yes, He did know! And it
was for that very reason that
“Jesus … went forward”!

The Savior knew why the soldiers and officers were there to take Him—as Matthew records in his Gospel, “All this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled” (26:56).

Knowing the WHAT and the WHO and the WHY, Jesus went forward, as the entire verse puts it: “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that
would come upon Him, went forward…”

He went forward so that salvation could be gained for the world of sinners. He went forward “for this purpose” that as the Son of God
“He might destroy the works of the devil”
(1 John 3:8).

He went forward, taking our place, bearing “our sins in His own
body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Therefore I will forever

Give thanks continually,

O Jesus, loving Savior,

For what You did for me.

I’ll spend my breath in praises

For Your sad cry, Your suff’rings,

Your wounds, Your guiltless death.

(CW #109:4)