Day 295—John 18 – 19 by Glogger Sandra Weiler from Christ Church, Duanesburg
October 22, 2021, 8:33 AM

Day 295—John 18 – 19 by Glogger Sandra Weiler from Christ Church, Duanesburg

When I saw the reading assigned for the blog on the Gospel of John, I said out loud “are you kidding me?” Seriously, this is crux of our religious beliefs – talk about pressure.   Entire books have been written about these chapters, so what can I impart that hasn’t been said?   Talk about intimidating fear.  

That frame of mind got me thinking about the fear that so many in our reading experienced.  Fear led to actions, or inactions which changed the course of history and certainly the history of our faith.

What fear were the apostles experiencing as they scattered when Jesus was being taken by the guards?  One can only imagine that they thought they would be seized as well.  Would their fate be the same as Jesus? Would there have been more crucifixions?  

Did Jesus fear being taken?

What about the people in the crowd who were chanting, “Crucify him?”  Did they do this out of fear of the high priests? Perhaps they feared Pilate or the Emperor, those who were in true political power over the land.

Could the people have feared Jesus himself after word spread about the miracles being performed?  I wonder if in that time, and even now, would we be cynical about a human man who openly professed to be the incarnation of God himself?   

Would we fear or mock him today?

With this crowd, there was a mob mentality at work, and let’s not forget that Caiaphas manipulated the crowd to do his bidding.   We have seen examples of mob mentality recently so just imagine all that malicious energy being directed towards one man.   

Was Jesus afraid of his own followers who thought he was a different type of savior?

Caiaphas stood to lose power as well if Jesus was allowed to continue to upset Jewish law or at least the priest’s interpretation of that law.  The fear of losing political power and influence can be quite the motivator.  Caiaphas broke Jewish custom when he held a trial for Jesus.  What did the laws mean then? 

Multiple times Pilate found no fault with Jesus and yet he was intimidated by the high priests into following through on the judgment and execution of Jesus.  We know from history that Pilate had the ability to stir up the Jewish leaders and was found to be on shaky ground with Rome as well for his use of violence. 

Pilate was not concerned for Jesus’s welfare; I get the sense that Jesus didn’t fear Pilate either.  Maybe Pilate met the polar opposite of himself when he interrogated Jesus or when Pilate’s wife had a prophetic dream about Jesus and asked her husband to remove himself from this task.    

Was it the fear of losing power (in Rome or with his wife) that Pilate tried to abdicate responsibility for killing Jesus?  I wonder if Pilate had any idea how this would place him in history as we say his name every week.

Peter had already denied following Jesus so he feared admission of being a Disciple. Yet he didn’t seem to have fear when he cut the ear off of the high priest’s servant.  Think about what his immediate fate would have been if Jesus had not told him to stand down and then (yet again) performed a miracle by restoring the servant’s ear. Peter was identified by someone in that mob who knew he was with Jesus.  Did Peter fear the same fate as Jesus when he denied being with him?  

What about the trio of Marys - Jesus’ mother, her sister Mary of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene?   These women stayed by Jesus until his death on the cross.  They had to experience fear - for their safety, their future, their leader.  

Mary did gain a son of John in one of Jesus’ last acts of his natural human life to show how we need to take care of each other.  While there were sociological reasons that Mary needed a male heir to care for her, this request goes beyond that relationship. Jesus knew he would not stay on earth and yet again helped his family both biological and chosen. 

Jesus whole support network was at risk and was in fear for their lives.  Joseph and Nicodemus took a risk to ask for and take Jesus’ body for burial.  What was their fear like?

Jesus saved us by being the sacrificial lamb that he knew he was destined to be by virtue of multiple prophesies that were written before his birth.    He was an unlimited God poured into a human being with a limited life span. 

It is completely natural for a human to fear death but when you are the Divine incarnate, would fear be an emotion you experience?   In other readings we learn that Jesus did experience the fear of being the suffering servant by asking that the cup be passed from him, but he knew it wouldn’t be.   Did Jesus fear acknowledging the great responsibility of absolving our sins with the greatest sacrifice?

Followers of Jesus, then and now, understand the weight of his act to save his chosen people.  Those that feel fear may not have heard or accepted the  message of grace, the good news, that we are all saved. 


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