Thursday in the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 26:50-56; Mark 14:46-52; Luke 22:49-53; John 18:9-11

Because the Scriptures Must Be Fulfilled

He had sat in the temple day after day teaching a hungry people about the Kingdom of God.  He had walked among the crowds in broad daylight right in front of the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and anyone else who wanted to see him.  No one ever laid a hand on him.  But now, at night, with no one else around but his disciples, now, they make their move.  What’s more, they come out with clubs, swords, and torches.  When did they ever see Jesus “packin’ heat?”  “But,” said Jesus, “this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

When Judas left Jesus and the rest of the disciples in the upper room to betray his Master, the Scripture tells us, “And it was night” (John 13:30).  Night, darkness – you can feel it.  The disciples are ready to fight, but Jesus won’t let them.  Why won’t Jesus let them?  Because he doesn’t want to shed the blood of these men?  Well, he did heal the servant of the high priest whose ear Peter severed.  Is it because he is too respectful of authority to resist arrest?  Is he worried about what might happen to his disciples?  Jesus mentions none of these as the reason he allows himself to be taken.  Indeed, he tells his disciples, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”  Jesus needed no help from men; he never did.  Jesus tells us plainly why he did not resist: “How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”  And, “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Everything had been prophesied centuries before, and each gospel relates which prophecies were fulfilled in their accounts.  God spoke by the mouths of these men long ago to give the people hope for the day when this wonderful Messiah and King would appear.  But Isaiah 53 also made it clear that before glory comes the passion.  And why the passion?  Because that was God’s plan, going all the way back to the Garden when he told the serpent, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). It really goes back before that, for “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4).  And the only way the Father chooses is through the blood His Son, Jesus Christ.  We cannot say why God chose to do things this way.  But what we can say is that this way shows the incredible love of God.  Jesus must go to the cross and will go to the cross–for us, angels notwithstanding.  And so darkness comes, that day may soon follow.  That’s God’s way.

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