"Na he hoari ta Haimona Pita, unuhia ana e ia a haua iho te pononga a te tohunga nui, tapahia ana tona taringa matau. Ko te ingoa o taua pononga ko Maraku."
"Then 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.)"
"O Simona Peteru foi, ua i ai le pelu, ua se‘i e ia, ma taia a‘i le auauna a le ositaulaga sili, ua tipiesea lona taliga taumatau; o Maliko le igoa o le auauna."
What on earth is going on? The scene is messy. Soldiers’ swords and blood. John 18:10-11 is a snapshot of a violent confrontation.
Driven by human sin and selfishness, Roman power and Jewish authority confront Jesus. Woven throughout both camps are people intent on crucifying Jesus.
Both human sin and satanic evil ensnare those confronting Jesus. His opponents think they are powerful, but in reality, they are being played by the powers of sin, death and evil.
Ridiculously, Peter responds with force. But Jesus rebukes him forcefully for three reasons:
1. He doesn’t understand the situation. As if the sword can deal with satanic evil and our sin.
2. He doesn’t understand the situation behind the situation. The people and powers on the warpath confronting Jesus are only taste of the cup of God’s wrath coming upon Jesus.
3. He doesn’t understand that God’s solution isn’t the sword but a sacrifice: his Son. This sacrifice will face the wrath of God, and in doing so, wreck the powers of sin, death and evil.
As Leslie Newbigin states, "In the strange mercy of God the cup of his righteous wrath is given into the hands, not of his enemies, but of his beloved Son. And he will drink it down to the dregs, until the moment comes when 'I thirst,' gives way to 'it is finished.'"
Don Carson notes: “Everything in John 18:1-11 points us back to the first rebellion of man against God. And what is God's response, both in Genesis 3:15 and now in John 18:1-11?
"'I Am' does not squash the rebellion by force, but by sacrifice. He does not crush the rebel son but crushes the Faithful One.
"Jesus does not bring the sword; he falls on it. Jesus does not pour out God's wrath on the betrayer; he is betrayed and drinks the cup of God's wrath himself. In the first garden, sin entered. In the second garden, sin is dealt with.”
In John 18:10-11, the scene is messy. It has layers. Even Peter doesn't understand what on earth is happening. But if we look past the violence, and dig through the power grabs and bloodshed, we see a simple, profound reversal take place.
The Father gives Jesus the cup of his wrath and Jesus gives us the cup of the new covenant.
God gives Jesus the cup of judgement and we receive the cup of his salvation.
I am constantly astounded at the difference between what I rightly deserve from God and what I instead received from God: Jesus and his salvation.
By Mark Grace, CCCNZ Ambassador
The Gospel proclaimed at HM Rage
I loved hearing about HM RAGE over King's Birthday Weekend.
650 youth from 22 youth groups gathered at Tōtara Springs Christian Centre just outside Matamata. The majority of youth groups were from CCCNZ-OBH churches. What a joy it is to know youth spent the weekend hearing about God’s grace to us through Jesus’s death and resurrection. So good! A huge thank you for the incredible work done by so many volunteer youth leaders, parents, operations and logistics people to make the weekend possible. We are so grateful!
I was encouraged to see the input by so many outstanding younger leaders. Marina Shannon from Orewa, Ariana Guptill from Mt Wellington Community Church, Aaron Hodgson from Raleigh Street Christian Centre, and many more. We are all grateful for the contributions you’ve made.
Ephesians 6 Expressed through Dance
I did enjoy receiving this update from Richard Fountain, our Auckland Enabler.
"On Sunday 28th of May, the youth group at Au uso Kerisiano Otara (Otara Brethren Christian Fellowship), led by Damaris Amerika, performed a breathtaking kapa haka at church. They sought to present the message of Ephesians 6 (standing strong in the full armour of God) with various Tongan, Samoan, and Māori expressions in the dance."
Intermediate Youth Group
I am grateful for Susannah Hodge (12) wanting to start a youth group at Springs Community Church in Lincoln and for the work of the church family at Onekawa Bible Church in Hawke's Bay as it seeks to reach into its community.
Both stories are from Julie McKinnon's excellent children and families newsletter.
If you are interested in children and family ministry amongst CCCNZ-OBH churches, you’d be welcome to subscribe below.
"I was so encouraged this week to hear from Liz Hodge, Springs Community Church, about her daughter, Susannah (12) who started a youth group for intermediate-aged girls.
"Susannah was keen to have a youth group to invite her friends to. With the support and blessing of her mum, Liz, they planned what it might look like. She designed an invitation and gave it out to her friends at school.
"After school on Tuesday, Susannah and seven of her friends arrived at her house for youth group. Some of them attend churches around Christchurch and some have never been to church.
"They ate together, played games, and Susannah’s mum, Liz Hodge, led a bible study from Mark. She says, “It was great! All the girls wanted to read and asked a lot of good questions.”
"Liz is grateful for Matt Meek from Riccarton Community Church (Canterbury Regional Youth Enabler) who provided great advice and encouragement when she contacted him for guidance in starting the group.
"How awesome it is to see a young person enthusiastic about sharing her faith with her friends."
Community Connections and Discipleship
Julie also writes: "Benji Carey and others from Onekawa Bible Church have worked hard for many years establishing wonderful connections with local schools.
"Benji has been involved with Launchpad, providing music lessons in various schools. Others have helped with Launchpad too, as well as reading and taking morning tea to teachers.
"Over time, they have built relationships with around six schools in the area, with particularly strong connections with two or three.
"Children from these schools attend a weekly afterschool programme run by Onekawa Bible Church, which enables Benji and the team to continue to build relationships with children and families in their community.
"Benji noticed that when some of the young people aged out of the afterschool programme, at around age 11-13 yrs, they didn’t want to leave. Many have stayed on at the programme as junior helpers. Benji recognised a real spiritual hunger in some of these young people and a desire to grow deeper in their understanding of the Bible.
"Last year, after chatting with their parents, he invited nine of these young junior helpers to stay after the afterschool programme, to eat a meal together and do a bible study. He thought there might be a few who were interested but all nine were keen and all their parents or caregivers were happy.
"They did an eight-week course through the Gospel of Mark. Other young leaders heard about it and now also want to do it, so he is looking to run another one later in the year.
"These young people are also involved as junior helpers in the school holiday programme run by the church. Benji continues to invest in them by doing devotions with them during the morning tea break.
"In the near future, Onekawa is hoping to start a junior youth group that will join their own 12-15-year-olds with these ones from the community. It is great to see the ongoing investment and faithful journeying with these young people as they have moved through the various outreach initiatives run by Onekawa Bible church."