Wednesday March 9- Not by Force
Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.
Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.
Everyone knows when you are going through awful times in life, you don’t want to be alone. But, what if awful times keep getting worse?
Everything changes. The mood shifts. We see the makings of a tragedy. Not just for Jesus. For Peter.
Jesus prays for rescue three times. Jesus puts himself in God’s hands.
OK, Abba, thy will be done.
Three times Peter, Jesus’ right-hand man, will deny that he even knows him.
Jesus hears, No, to his prayers. Shouldn’t surprise us if we sometimes hear that, too. But, Jesus goes on. He appears back in charge again.
Let’s go guys. It’s time for some betraying.
The high priest and the chief priests get someone else to do their dirty work. They aren’t in the garden with Judas, but, they send the brute squad. A mob. Swords and clubs.
Nice going, guys. It’s always great when you mix violence with faith. Works out really well doesn’t it? Whenever faith leaders get guys with swords and clubs, or guns and backpack bombs, for that matter, to do their dirty work, they have already lost. Not much of a God if that’s what it takes to get someone to trust in him. Sorry, we humans are not built that way.
Human beings are no longer human when they have no freedom. To trust in God is about the head and the heart. To be forced to say you trust through threat of violence is not trust at all. It is avoiding punishment.
Every one of us needs to figure this out. Avoiding punishment is not faith. The thing we do best to avoid punishment is tell lies. The opposite of trust.
OK Judas, time for the kiss.
The next time you get perturbed about something, ask yourself, “Where is my feeling about this situation really about me?”