Sunday, April 9, 2017

Daily Devotion for Lent 2017 - Sixth Sunday in Lent: Palm/Passion Sunday

Today's Reading: John 18:1-18 (NRSV)

If you are looking for Jesus hoping for a way out of his path of suffering and crucifixion, you won't find it in John's Gospel.  Rather than praying for release from drinking the cup of suffering, Jesus berates Peter for attempting to keep him from it.

While the synoptic gospels portray a reluctance that is backed by faith (thy will be done), John sees Jesus as in charge here.  Those coming to arrest Jesus even fall over when he tells them that he is Jesus of Nazareth.  These men are not in charge here but allowed to take Jesus under guard.

Peter is able to find comfort by warming
his hands by the fire in contrast to Jesus who
is cold and isolated.
We don't see the disciples fleeing in fear but rather we have an unnamed disciple that seems to follow the proceedings.  He even brings Peter closer and we begin to have his denial of Jesus.

The denial seems to make more sense if they were trying to hide their identities. Wouldn't the guards recognize Peter since he just cut off the ear of the high priest's slave?

For us, it is much easier to follow Jesus when there is no danger involved.  Our biggest concern may be whether to skip worship in favor of the latest event going on.  But if Jesus moves us into situations where our safety might be at risk, we may not be so sure about claiming him.  If we find ourselves fearful of people from other countries invading our space, will we be quick to quote Jesus saying, "you welcomed the stranger and so you welcomed me"?

There are many ways in which we deny our Lord too.  The beauty of John's Gospel is that he reminds us that within the greater story, Jesus Christ is in charge.  This is always a good thing for us to remember!

Prayer for the day:

O Lord my God, I thank you that you have brought this day to its close. I thank you that you give rest to body and soul. Your hand has been over me, guarding me and preserving me. Forgive my feeble faith and all the wrong I have done this day, and help me to forgive all who have wronged me. Grant that I may sleep in peace beneath your care, and defend me from the temptations of darkness. Into your hands I commend my loved ones, I commend this household. I commend my body and soul.  O God, may your name be praised.  Amen.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 20th Century

Photo by webhamster via  Used under the Creative Commons license.

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