Easter isn’t just a date on the calendar or a series of tasks to perform. Hoever, the way we celebrate it (which I love) can rob us of the blessing of the event to impact our souls. By now, we are clearing up the remnants of the Easter holiday and looking forward to the gifts of Spring. Let us not put away the power of God’s greatest act of love too. We can and should allow it to change us for the better and perform the redemptive work for which we celebrate.
Do you sometimes feel like that in our society right now? Do you see people acting destructively with far-reaching consequences and just wanting to yell, stop? I do, but I feel that way every time I read the account of Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. What causes people to throw off a healthy fear of God, walk into a regretful place, and even deny logic? Throughout history, humans have proven to be easily manipulated by anger, greed, lust, or pride. Those who arrested Jesus in the Garden overlooked the miracles Jesus performed before their eyes. These people were literally hell-bent on sending Jesus to the cross, and nothing, not even logic, was going to change that. Why weren’t the disciples encouraged by these miracles? It’s too easy to follow fear.
4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.”[a] … 6 When Jesus[b] said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.”John 18:4-8
Forgetting His Power
Everything that surrounded the arrest, persecution, torture, and murder of Jesus was carried out by a crowd whose anger was stirred up. When Jesus said, “I am He,” they fell back to the ground. The power in His words overwhelmed their human bodies so much that they collapsed on the ground. Their next act was to repeat the mistake, because they were deceived. We can live with Jesus and also allow ourselves to be deceived too. Judas was one of rthe 12! He traveled with Jesus but worshiped the idol of money. John 12:4-6 shows us his idol. He who was angry over sacrificial acts of worship, betrayed an innocent man for money. The religious leaders were jealous and lust for power, and Jesus was a threat. They ignored the prophesies fulfilled and miracles performed in their midst.
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, the one who was going to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for [a]three hundred denarii and [the money] given to the poor?” 6 Now he said this, not because he cared about the poor [for he had never cared about them], but because he was a thief; and since he had the money box [serving as treasurer for the twelve disciples], he used to pilfer what was put into it.John 12:4-6
Our trauma, damage, judgment, expectations, or ambition can render us blind to something painfully obvious. I’ve been there myself more times than I want to consider. The night that Judas betrayed Jesus, Peter cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. Jesus picked up the ear of the arresting soldier and put it back on (literally performed a miracle for one of them); He gave them another chance and asked the same question. Did they ignore the miracle that happened, or were they blinded or asleep to God’s works? In this deception, they took part in a violent betrayal of the One who demonstrated the greatest act of love. Jesus wasn’t just a man, but God in human form, whom they sent to the cross, as the disciples were intimidated and fearful.
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. …. 54 Then they seized Him, and led Him away and brought Him to the [elegant] house of the [Jewish] [b]high priest.Luke 22:50-60
Lord, thank you for willingly enduring my punishment and torture for my sins that I may live eternally. Thank you for your warnings and also Your Wisdom and insight. In the coming days and weeks, I humbly ask that You wake me up to areas within me that are open to manipulation, intimidation, and fear. God heal those hurts, damages, and sin that make me vunerable and change me. To continue to honor your sacrifice, I pray the prayer of King David. Renew a right spirit within me, and lead me in the way of Your understanding.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,Psalm 51:10
and renew a right[a] spirit within me.