Tuesday 21 January 2014

Mark 14:27-52 - Jesus arrested

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Jesus tells the disciples very clearly that they will all fall away. And despite Peter's determined insistence that he will not, Jesus knows better and tells him so. Why would Jesus insist on making his point? They will find out that he's right soon enough! What else is going on here?

And then Jesus went to pray, and the disciples slept. They have already failed to support him, despite their claims not to fall away, even if they must die with him. Of course, Jesus knows that they cannot die with him. They are the carriers of the good news of the kingdom. Jesus needs them to live so that they can continue and extend his work. He will build his church through these men and through all the other men and women who were following him. To do so, they must survive.

And then, assisted by Judas Iscariot, they come to arrest him. But notice the subtlety of what happens. Jesus tells the disciples that the moment has come before Judas appears. This is a prophet unlike any other and far exceeding them all. He knows the hearts of all people, he knows the real meaning of the Biblical writings, and when he speaks there is always action. One word from Jesus and water becomes wine, the blind see, lepers are cleansed, demons are forced to leave and people follow him. This is authority. In fact, Jesus is Authority, even as he is being arrested.

Why did the guards need someone to show them which of these people is Jesus? I have always thought that he would stand out clearly because of his stature, demeanour, dress, or in some other way. Surely anyone could pick Jesus out from a crowd?

But no, the truly extraordinary thing is that Jesus did not stand out in a crowd. Have you ever thought about that? [Tweet it!] He needs to be pointed out by someone who knows him (Judas) because he looks just like his companions. There is nothing about his appearance or dress that marks him out as special or a leader or a teacher.

Sometimes in church life, we think that our leaders should stand out. Perhaps they dress differently (think archbishop or vicar) or they are identifiable in some other way. This should not be, my friends. Jesus is different, not from his followers, but from the ways of the world. And we should be like him in this.

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