Thursday, September 1, 2011

He Goes Willingly

Matthew 26:47-56 (ESV)
While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. [48] Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man; seize him." [49] And he came up to Jesus at once and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" And he kissed him. [50] Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you came to do." Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. [51] And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. [52] Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. [53] Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? [54] But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?" [55] At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. [56] But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him and fled.

There is so much happening here. Peter draws a sword. I always get a kick out of that. Here he is following Jesus around for three years, packing heat. I mean that is the equivalent. Didn’t he listen to Jesus when he said turn the other cheek? That’s the silly thing. People try to make Jesus out to be a pacifist. He really wasn’t. Jesus knew there was a time to turn a cheek, especially when violence is turned against oneself for being a Christian or taking a stand on God’s word. There is also a time to use a sword, in defense of others, which might also be in defense of yourself. Of course, this was a time Jesus thought it quite silly to use the sword, and wrong. He was being arrested. If he didn’t want to be arrested he could call angels in to save him. He tells Peter to put the sword away, it’s not a battle you could win any way.
Jesus knows that he could not be seized by day in the temple. He was to popular. He had to be seized at night in the cover of darkness, when he was alone. He says this in such a way as to drive the point home to his captors, to let them know both what they are doing and what he is doing. Jesus is going willingly, but it doesn’t let them off the hook. They are doing exactly what Jesus planned for them to do. He knew they would, he knew their conniving ways. Jesus drives home the point. Your sin here stands. But I go.
Of course the disciples then flee. Perhaps it sounds odd. They all promised to stand by his side. But in doing so, they wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. Men are like that. You can convince them to stand and fight to the last man. You can’t convince them to stand and go meekly to the cross to be charged with crimes they are innocent of, to be tried in a kangaroo court. They don’t go willingly to such things. Standing and fighting at least gives one a good name, lets a good name linger. Its celebrated in song, Just think Iron Maiden “You fire your musket, but I run you through, take my life but I’ll take yours too, and when your ready for the next attack, you better stand there’s no turning back. If your gonna die, die, die with your boots on….’ Yeah I remember those lyrics, right now I’m trying to remember a Mighty Fortress, and the words escape me… at least those of the fourth verse which have something to do with Satan taking good’s, fame, and wife. And that is the rub, were willing to stand and fight, but how many really can stand to see everything he owns being taken from him idly standing by calmly in the name of Christ. See? But Jesus does, Jesus went willingly to die for you that Satan would not have you no matter what he took from you.

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