“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Saturday, March 6, 2021.
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. (Mark 14:43)
What a frightening moment! Jesus disrupts the disciples sleep as an armed mob approaches, led by Judas “the betrayer.” Jesus knows why they are there. The disciples will soon find out. They have come to arrest Jesus. It’s time to bring his ministry to an end.
They come in hot. They must have expected Jesus and the disciples to put up a fight. They are prepared with both numbers and weapons to apprehend the Messiah. Jesus had spoken about this moment. He said that ever since John the Baptist showed up, “the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).
Why do you think some feel the need to bring physical force into a spiritual conflict? Probably for the same reason Jesus does. He became flesh and blood to stand up against the devil’s schemes. The Word became flesh to dwell among us, be one of us and and take on death for us. We are created as both physical and spiritual beings, so our struggle in one realm will always be connected with the other.
Sometimes the devil physically attacks, like he did when he made Job’s life miserable. Other times, he preys on our fears, doubts, beliefs and desires. He’s crafty, more crafty than any other created being. Some who were possessed by demons tried to physically harm themselves. Satan tried to use Jesus’ hunger against him. Others find themselves paying allegiance to the gods of success, aspiration and popularity.
How about you? What poses the biggest threat to your faith? Is it tangible things like health and wealth, or spiritual longings for things like peace, security and approval? I’ll bet it’s some of both.
Rarely does anyone come after our Savior with swords and clubs. More often, they come after him by discrediting scripture, promoting other faiths and approving ungodly behavior. A biblical faith that fixes our eyes on Christ alone will always be under attack. When Jesus prepared his disciples to go out ahead of him, he taught them what to do when attacked, not if.
Swords and clubs did not stop Jesus’ mission that night. They were a part of it. His death would end in victory. And there is nothing that can separate us from his love!
Heavenly Father, don’t let me ever be intimidated by the swords and clubs and attacks on my faith. Remind me of your plan and my savior. Amen.