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What Do You Want 19: Who?


Issue 416

Geoff Shattock is doing the Jacksonville River Run 10th March 2012. Click here to sponsor him and enable him to raise funds for WORKTALK’s US ministry.

It should never cease to amaze you that people with whom you work see the world differently to you. You and your co-workers may work at the same place or for the same organization, but you live in different worlds. The view from your world is yours, the view from her world is hers and his world is his.

Put people under pressure and their world views come tumbling out. One believes in drink, another in working harder, another turns to exercise, still another to yoga. Press harder and you will see these true colors of the world in which your co-workers live – and yours as well.

For a full 20 minutes, a group in an olive grove were watching a detachment of soldiers with officials, make their torchlit way out of the city to their location. Military and administrative personnel just doing their jobs. They arrive to a question. It is the 18th episode in our exploration of the fourth gospel through the lens of Jesus’ first question ‘what do you want?’

Now it has a twist. Twice in this chapter Jesus says ‘who is it you want?’

Now there are many players in this drama and you will be amazed how differently they see the world. Judas, in answer to the question ‘who is it you want?’ clearly wants a zealot (in the fanatical, violent sense of the word). Judas wants to provoke a revolution and wants Jesus to be its agent.

The officials’ answer was ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. They wanted what they saw – just a man from an ordinary town – nothing more.

Peter revealed his anger by pulling out his sword. Peter wanted Jesus to be a fighter, letting his anger explode.

Now to Annas, the father in law, proprietor of the money lending business that Jesus had overturned just a week ago. Annas wanted Jesus to conform, to cooperate with his financial scams and become just a religious conservative – albeit with a hypocritical twist.

Peter, again, in facing questions around a fire, wanted Jesus to be unknown, a stranger, someone he did not know.
Back to trial two. Caiaphas wanted Jesus to be what his father in law wanted him to be.

Finally, to Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate wanted Jesus to be a Jewish possession and none of his business. He wanted Jesus to be somebody else’s problem.

Eventually, the crowd wants Jesus to take the place of a freedom fighter and die a criminal’s death but they were bribed, so what they really wanted was money.

All see the same person, all actors in the same play, just like you and your team, at the same place, at the same time.

Look again. ‘Who is it you want?’ They all wanted Jesus to be what they wanted him to be. Look again. Who did some of them, if not all of them, want him to be? They wanted him to be just like them. Zealot, ordinary Jew, fighter, stranger, conformer, hypocrite, somebody else’s problem. They wanted Jesus to be who they were – Judas the zealot, an ordinary Jewish official, Peter the fighter, the anonymous one, Annas the conformer, Pilate (who by the way was Roman’s problem, wanted Jesus to be Jerusalem’s problem).

Everyone you work with will employ tactics under pressure. They will reveal their hearts and their world views. You will do well to know them.

People want that which they cannot understand to be what they want. More often than not people want a Jesus to be like themselves. And you and I want him to be like us because then we can control him.

Here is the naked truth. Jesus asks us all ‘who is it you want?’ If you try to answer this question by saying ‘Jesus I want you to be who I want you to be’ you are in for a shock. If you try saying ‘I want you to be like me’ you are in for an explosion.

He will not be what you want him to be and he will not be like you. He will not be a zealot for your cause – political, social, ethical or moral. Shockingly, he will not conform to your religion, your political persuasion or your business aspirations. He will not cooperate with you corrupt scams (as with Annas) or your religious power games (as with Caiaphas). He will not be a Jewish issue alone, nor a crowd’s play thing. He simply will not.

Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Son of living God, the one and only Son, God the Son himself will never be what you nor I want. He came so that we can become what he wants. He came so that we could become like him.

The only answer which will make sense of this question ‘who is it you want?’ comes from the lips of a former doubter turned believer. He finally saw it and said ‘my Lord and my God’ – then you will hear him say ‘I am’. Then you can do what you must, which is not to bend him to your shape, but to bow down and worship. ‘Who is it you want?’


John 18

1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” 5“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” 9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people. 15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” 18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. 19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” 22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. 23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”

31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die. 33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

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Series: What Do You Want
Module: 7
Daily Guide: No

Tags: control, demand, expectation, heart, identity, perspective, worldview, worship

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Geoff Shattock

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