Posted in 2022 Lent Devotions

Locked and loaded

“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotion for March 12, 2022. Photo by Some Tale on Unsplash

“They said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” (Luke 22:38)

My friend Floyd was a retired insurance investigator who frequented our men’s bible study breakfast and helped out with ushering as much as he could at church. I remember him sitting in the back of the sanctuary one Sunday morning before worship, talking politics and handguns with a few other gentlemen. As I walked by, I heard him say, “Like this one…” as he pulled up the leg of his trousers so they could see his ankle holster and pistol. That’s the first time I realized members of the congregation were packing when they came to church.

After Jesus has the Passover meal with his disciples but before they get to the garden where he prays, he mentions that they’re going to need weapons. If you don’t have one, sell your cloak and buy a sword. They didn’t need to take anything when he sent them out to preach and heal. But that was all about to change. They are going to see the scriptures fulfilled before their eyes as Jesus is considered to be a criminal. It’s going to get rough. You might want to have some protection.

The disciples say, “Don’t worry, we’re ready. We’ve got a couple of swords.” They had swords? They had swords strapped to their legs as they reclined at the table with Jesus at the Passover meal? And when they started arguing about who was the greatest? What if one of them had a few too many glasses of wine and pulled that out in the upper room? That painting of the last supper might have ended up rated R for graphic violence!

I could not tell you exactly how many men and women kneel at the altar for holy communion carrying a concealed weapon. I know more than a handful are ready to shoot. They are ready to – how do you say it – “take them out.”

I have mixed feelings about all of this. On the one hand, I’m glad I’ve got some folks watching my back. On the other hand, I’m afraid of the majority who have had little training in using a deadly weapon.

So you’re ready to fight other people. But are you ready to fight the real enemy? Remember, our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). How well do you wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17)? It’s going to be rough. You might want to have some of that protection!

If you are going to carry, you better get out on the range and do some shooting. It’s not as easy as you think. Same goes for the Word. Practice. Stay sharp. And pray (Eph 6:18).

Thanks for the Word, Lord. Don’t let me underestimate it’s power. Amen.

Posted in Lent devotions

Swords and clubs

“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).

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