Read: John 18:1-11
Have you ever called a company and asked to talk to the CEO? If they’re expecting your call it won’t be a problem. But if you’re just some random stranger calling just to chat, or maybe give him/her a piece of your mind, they probably won’t put you through. There are countless reasons why people would want to talk to the head of a company, but whether or not we get to depends on our intentions. Who we are and what we want are key determining factors when trying to approach someone powerful.
In today’s passage, we see three people with different intentions and approaches to searching for Jesus. First, there’s Judas in verse 2. He knows intimately well the place where Jesus had gone to pray because he was part of the disciples. He was part of the trusted few, the close-knit group of 12 friends that followed Jesus everywhere. He had been in a close relationship with Jesus, yet there he was using that knowledge to betray Jesus. Basically, Judas sought Jesus to betray Him and get paid for it (John 13:27).
Next we see the band of soldiers Judas brought with him to arrest Jesus. These guys were just acting on orders. They were told to find Jesus of Nazareth, although they didn’t know who that was, so they had to ask even though He was right in front of them. They just knew Him as the target and that they were supposed to bring Him in. He was a faceless enemy, the criminal who provoked them into hunting Him down with swords and torches.
Last we read about Peter, a man who followed Jesus and claimed to love Him. Peter was passionate, but impulsive—quick to attack and defend. He was another intimate friend of Jesus, but one with good intentions. He wanted to follow and learn from the one he believes to be the Messiah, promised by God—but he acted outside his master’s teaching. His thoughts weren’t on the same level as Jesus’. Nevertheless, because of his relationship with Jesus and his good intentions, there was hope for him. Jesus patiently taught him the right way, and mended Peter’s wrong actions in the moment.
Today, everyone is in search of meaning, purpose, freedom, and love. When they are told they can find these things in Jesus, they may be motivated to seek Him. To everyone that looks for Him, Jesus asks, “Whom do you seek?” Jesus does not turn away those who seek Him—He will reveal Himself. Jesus is not afraid to show Himself to those who want to find Him—but we have to choose how we are going to approach Him.
We all seek Jesus for some reason, but like the people in this passage, we can have differing intentions. Maybe we seek to have a relationship with Jesus, but we never really intend to follow Him wholeheartedly—always keeping a backdoor open for when hard times come. Maybe we approach Jesus like the soldiers, not at all intending to have a relationship with Him, but seeking Him ‘under orders’ out of a sense of obligation. Maybe we’re like Peter, ready at a moment’s notice to drop our Christ-like veneer in order to defend Jesus, albeit with the best intentions. Or maybe there’s another way. What if we chose pure intentions and passionate zeal by obeying Jesus in word and deed out of love for Him?
We all make mistakes. We all need Jesus’ guidance, wisdom, and re-focusing questions to point us back to Himself. Take a moment to quiet yourself and examine your heart and your intentions. Who are you really seeking? What are your intentions? Ask God to help you hear His voice and guide your journey in seeking to follow Him.