RHYTHM: About that Ear – John 18

Lectionary for youth ministry, John 18Good Friday: John 18:1-19:42

Reading: John 18:1-19:42

About that Ear

Where did that sword come from?

I took a youth group to a minor league baseball game once. There were several rain delays and, as there was no lightning, at some point we decided that we’d just sit at a picnic bench and play cards no matter how hard it rained and no matter how wet the cards got. That was a good time. What is it about getting drenched on purpose that rules so much?

So between one of the downpours a guy comes by our table and says, “Any of you got a light?” We were an odd group to target for the request, as I was the only one over 18 at the table. But before I could finish saying, “Sorry buddy, this probably isn’t the right crowd to ask,” one of my kids pulled out a Zippo—engraved with the Jack Daniel’s logo—and lit the guy’s cigarette. So I guess you never know.

I imagine a similar double-take by Jesus here. The scene is basically over. There’s been a confrontation. Jesus has negotiated the freedom of his disciples. The temple police break out the handcuffs, when suddenly sschlop; Peter slices off Malchus’ ear.

Easy, Johnny. Ponyboy has things under control.

This moment takes the place of the “let this cup pass from me” moment from the other gospels. In those, Jesus is alone and indicating that if at all possible, it would be great to skip this. Here, Jesus is resolute. Surrounded by his disciples who are willing to fight, Jesus embraces the cup of his suffering.

For reflection:

What do you make of the difference between this account of the garden and the ones in Mark, Matthew, and Luke?

How do you think you might have reacted as a disciple of Jesus, without the benefit of knowing how things were going to turn out?


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