“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. (Mark 14:47)
Judas has led the mob, armed with swords and clubs, to Gethsemane, where Jesus has been praying. He kisses Jesus and they seize him. Suddenly, things get rough. Someone starts swinging a sword, a voice cries out in pain, blood spurts, an ear goes flying, and we have the first casualty of the passion.
Mark’s description is brief and to the point, as it usually is. Other gospels fill in the details. But I’ve still got a lot of questions. First of all, some of the disciples were “carrying?” When Jesus had sent out his disciples to do ministry, he told them not to take food, luggage, money, not even extra clothing. But he never mentioned weapons, so I guess they though that was OK.
Next, hadn’t they seen Jesus handle agitated crowds in the synagogue? Hadn’t he calmed the life-threatening storm on the lake? Didn’t he reign in a violent demon-possessed man who lived in a graveyard? Did they really think Jesus needed their help? Did they think the situation was out of his control?
A long time ago, King David had his mighty men, warriors he could count on. Perhaps they imagined themselves in that role alongside the son of David, who would soon assume the throne. Just a few moments ago, they had all said, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you” (v31). You can count on us, Jesus!
Just like all of us who belt “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” carry concealed weapons to church, and promise to be faithful to our church and our confession of faith even to death. You can count on us, Jesus!
Interesting. Jesus said that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). The apostle Paul reminds us, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37). He also said, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Do you really think Jesus needs your help? Does it sound like the situation is out of control?
Sometimes it feels that way. When the church or your own personal faith are challenged or attacked, you want to fight back. Just make sure you use the right weapon. “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). Never underestimate the mountain-moving power of a mustard seed sized faith!
In other words, you can trust him.
Heavenly Father, when I feel threatened, remind me that you’re on my side and in control. Amen.