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what he should have done (3)

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
There’s something rather concerning about the way in which most of us now receive information. A good example is the BBC internet news app. It enables me to choose what news is of interest to me – and therefore to exclude all other information. Another example is the algorithms on the internet which bombard me only with stuff which they know I’ve been browsing. Should I be concerned? 

Come with me then this morning to AD 30 Jerusalem and to a garden just outside the city walls. There, Jesus has been praying to his Father above that “this cup” will pass from him. But he’s always added, “Nevertheless, your will be done”. 

His disciples have been asleep and Judas has arrived and given him away by kissing him. A heavily armed crowd is now there. It’s all been planned and organized by Jerusalem’s authorities - religious, political, judicial and business. Having arrested Jesus and made him completely captive, all Jesus can now do is speak. He now speaks to the whole crowd.

‘God is so powerful that he can direct any evil to a good end.’ (Thomas Aquinas, theologian, 1225-1274) 
What’s he going to say to them? Maybe the authorities would have encouraged them not to listen to Jesus – to tick the box on the news app so as not to receive anything from Jesus?  

Matthew, an eye-witness on that fateful night, wrote down what Jesus said to them. He said: “You have come out against me like you would a violent robber. You have swords and knives, truncheons and cudgels with which to capture me. But, every day in the temple, when I’ve been sitting down teaching, and you didn’t overpower me then. All of this has come into being,” Jesus said “so that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

The Scriptures were the National Archives of Israel. In AD 30 they were held in the Jerusalem Temple and in synagogues across the land. In them, various prophets wrote of a coming Messiah who would suffer for the wrongs of others. 

However, there’s something else about those same words which you may not ever have thought about before. He clearly says to the crowd that their presence in that garden, their forceful taking of him by violent means, all that came into being to fulfil ancient prophetic Scriptures.

Why did the crowd need to know that – the whole crowd? What did it mean to them when he said to them that they were fulfilling ancient Scriptures – Scriptures from in their own National Archive? Did not everyone in that crowd make personal decisions to be there, to decide which sword or truncheon to bring, to do what they did do? 

‘Man drives, but it is God who holds the reins.’ (Anon.)
“All of this has come into being,” Jesus said “so that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” The whole crowd didn’t thwart the plans of God. They fulfilled them. Matthew wrote this: At that very moment, he wrote, all the disciples, leaving him, ran away. Yes, Jesus had nil followers at that moment. That too was in the plan.

When I choose what information I don’t want to receive, am I really changing the facts? Are even my anti-Jesus choices known to Jesus’ Father above before I make them? What a fate full night it was. And is…

Sinner Syvret

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