Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Daily Devotion for Lent 2015, Day 37

Daily Devotion for Lent

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, Day 37

When we read this account, I always imagine a kind of Temple guard arresting Jesus - a group with some kind of authority to take him into custody.

We get this idea from John's Gospel which speaks of soldiers and police.  This would give it some official or lawful status within the local government.  But it has occurred to me that if there were Roman soldiers assigned to the Temple, how likely would it have been to arrest someone to take them first for questioning by the religious authorities?  

"Conscience, Judas" by Nikolai Ge, 1831
If soldiers were involved, would they have been mercenaries hired after hours?  Would the Temple have been allowed to maintain their own armed force outside the Roman command?   

It could be that they were simply cooperating together.  But if all we had was Mark's Gospel, it looks more like a lynch mob sent in the middle of the night to deal with someone popular with the crowds.  Jesus asks them about this saying, "Why didn't you arrest me when I was right there among you?"

Fear may keep us from the light of day.  If they were truly in the right, they would have simply arrested him during the waking hours.  

When I think of my own spirituality, I like to think that I'm always willing to meet God on God's terms but I realize that this is more of an ideal.  There are many times when I rationalize what I do as for some greater good.  I'm sure the Temple authorities were thinking, "By coming at night, we won't have a riot on our hands and this will spare people unnecessary injury."

What are those things that we do that we would hide from watching eyes?  How is this a betrayal of our faith in its own right?

Prayer from John Baillie:

God, let me put right before interest,
Let me put others before self,
Let me put the things of the spirit
before the things of the body,
Let me put the attainment of noble ends
above the enjoyment of present pleasures.
Let me put put principle above reputation.
Let me put you before all else.  Amen.

Prayer by John Baillie, Scotland, 20th Century

Picture by Nikolai Ge via Wikimedia Commons.

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