The Man No One Arrests
Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” — John 7:44-49
There is something special John is reflecting on here. And it's not just the natural events. It's God's divine providence.
But to see this, you must understand the two forces at play. First, the force of political-religious influence at this time. Second, the force behind the role in the religious court.
First, during this time, three religious-political groups influenced all of Jewish culture. Think of them as religious denominations and political parties rolled into one. There were three primary groups — the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes. Only a tiny minority belonged to these groups, but they each significantly influenced Jewish life. The Pharisees were the largest, consisting of a few thousand members by this time.
Second, you must understand the influence and role of the high priest. Originally a high priest was a male, selected by God from the line of Aaron. He served in this role for life. However, by this time, Roman powers influenced this role. King Herod, one of the client kings of Rome, selected high priests to do his bidding. The first was Annas. But by the time of this text, Caiaphas, Annas' son-in-law, was the current high priest and served alongside Annas. This means we have two high priests, not selected by God, not from the line of Aaron, who did not serve for life. Essentially biblical order was ignored, and man did what he wanted. And these high priests were doing the bidding of Roman power to maintain their position with the elite.
So if you read the text with this context in mind, you see something different happening. You see a counterfeit system and its leaders conspiring to arrest Jesus. They send court officials out to arrest him. But on approach, they encounter Jesus — the true high priest. The high priest of the highest order stood in his Temple teaching his people (Genesis 14:18, Hebrews 7:1-2). His teaching is so powerful that even his enemies are arrested by it, so much so that they return empty-handed.
And this is what John see's. Divine authority arresting the hearts of men.
Jesus is still doing this. And we should invite Jesus to continue to do the same.
Do that today. Pray for the heart of some you know who is resistant and combative to Jesus. Pray they will be arrested by the one who no one arrests.
ASK THIS: Who do you need to pray for?
DO THIS: Pray that the truth of Jesus will arrest them.
PRAY THIS: God, arrest him.
PLAY THIS: Death Was Arrested.
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