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what he should have done (1)

Jesus said (AD 30) “Rise, let us be going; look and see, my betrayer is at hand.” While he was still speaking, look and see, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, you are here for this.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And look and see, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. Matthew 26: 46-56
Sometimes one can’t help overhearing what other people are talking about. When that happens, quite often one person is being very definite with another about what a third person should have done – but didn’t do – and has ended in a mess. 

The message is really, “If only he or she had done what I’m saying all would have been well instead of bad.” Today I’m going to ask you what you think Jesus should have done -or said - in AD 30. And what the outcome was. It’s for you to decide. Come with me then, with your thinking in first gear, into the Garden of Gethsemane, outside Jerusalem. 

It’s Passover AD 30. It’s the middle of the night. Jesus has been in agony in prayer, praying to his Father that this “cup” might pass from him but always adding, ‘Nevertheless your will be done.’ Now he says to his disciples, ‘Rise up all of you, we can go. Take notice, Jesus says, take notice, the one who is to give me over is near.’ What should he have done? 

‘We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain.’ (W R Alger, writer, 1822-1905)
Matthew, Jesus’s eye witness biographer, then asks his readers to take notice. ‘Take notice,’ he writes, ‘that while Jesus was still saying these words, Judas, one of the twelve, comes into view – and with him a great crowd with swords and truncheons.’ What should he now do – or say?

The crowd is from the chief priests and the notable citizens of Jerusalem. Jesus was a good man, a compassionate healer whose teaching was to do good - even to enemies. He often spoke about his Father above and about the joy of being restored to him. Now it’s not only Judas against him. It’s all the religious, political and judicial authorities as well. All are seizing him. What should he now do – or say? 

Judas had arranged with the authorities that they should seize the one whom he would identify by, literally, an act of brotherly love. Judas immediately says, ‘Greetings, Rabbi’ and hugs him. What should Jesus do now? Or say?

Matthew reports that Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, you are here – for this.’
‘Friend, you are here – for this’? At this the crowd laid hands on him and seized him. Many hands – Judas, the crowd, the authorities. Jesus can no longer move. What should he say?

Matthew writes that his readers are to take notice that one hand - only one among the whole crowd there - is lifted up on Jesus’ behalf. This disciple of Jesus pulls out a sword, and striking the slave of the Jerusalem high priest, takes away the ear of that slave. What should Jesus now say?

‘Almighty must be that power whose sufficient strength is weakness.’ (Anon.)
He says this, ‘Turn away your sword into the place where it belongs. All who use the sword will - by the sword - be destroyed. Do you imagine,’ Jesus continued, ‘that I don’t have the authority to call on my Father and he would immediately bring to me more than twelve legions of angels?’ Twelve legions would be 73,200 on foot and 9,912 on horse. What should Jesus now do?

Matthew writes that Jesus explained why he did absolutely nothing. He said, ‘You see, if I called on my Father to do that for me, how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, that this must take place?’

What Scriptures were being fulfilled? What was the this which must take place? We’re you correct in what you thought Jesus should do? Or say? 

Sinner Syvret

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