Jesus is Arrested

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.

Matthew 26:50

They came for Jesus with swords and clubs. You can imagine how it was when the chief priests and elders organized them. Some might have been paid. Others were told that Jesus was a bad man who needed to be stopped. The names of those involved have been lost to history, but the dynamics of mob violence remain the same. The individuals participated for complex personal reasons, ranging from rage that seeks any release, to ideological zealotry. Some were just there to see the show.

Jesus wasn’t anyone special to them. As far as they knew, he was just another criminal that needed to be dealt with. Criminals are nothing special. The world is lousy with them. You catch them; you deal with them; you go home for dinner. And that is just how close God is to us. God was there when a mob came for a criminal.

God incarnate, the most personal manifestation of the Divine. Jesus, whom history waited patiently for and then parted gently around. For those of us dedicated to his memory, teaching, and salvation, his very name brings tears to our eyes. God so close that evil can lay hands on him. God so close you stumble over him in the night and drop your club. They encountered God when they least expected God. God was at their side in a moment they never counted as special. It seems likely those involved died, never knowing God had been with them that night.

This is why we go into the desert with Jesus each year during Lent. We dare not think that God is only present in the joy of our worship, the high moments of our service, and the times when our lives reflect God’s light. God is also in our hunger and our sorrow. God is with us when we are at our worst.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you been most surprised to discover that God was with you? What will be the most ordinary thing you will do during Lent this year? How might God meet you in that moment?

PRAYER: God, you are with me. Even now. Forgive me when I pass right by or worse—raise my club in your direction. Thank you for being close enough for me to touch, right in the moments where I am at my worst. Amen.