by Stuart Gray
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‘Am I leading a rebellion,’ said Jesus, ‘that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?’ (Mark 14:48)
Read Mark 14:43–52
I have been fortunate this year to have had time travelling in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where you are never far from evidence of battles between Protestants and Catholics, whether it be the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the mid-1500s or the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690 where deposed King James II, a Catholic, fought King William III, a Protestant.
There have been many times throughout history where Christians have taken up swords and clubs to impose their will on others or to defend themselves.
According to Mark, this was the method that the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders used to capture Jesus, but Jesus’ response was the opposite of what they expected.
‘Am I leading a rebellion?’ Jesus asked. The answer was ‘no’, but, in fact, he was leading something greater and more significant than a rebellion. He was leading a transformation. This transformation occurred the next day when he was nailed to a cross in what looked like a total defeat. But through his death and subsequent resurrection, he transformed the way in which we could and do relate to God.
And the tool of this transformation is summed up in one word – love. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish be have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.’
With and through love, we need to transform ourselves each day so that we are a witness to the great love God has for us all.
Heavenly Father, we pray that through the Holy Spirit, we can be transformed to be love in our families, communities, countries and the world. Amen.
Stuart, with his wife Pamela Dalgliesh, lives in Mansfield, Victoria. Stuart has a background in agricultural science, rural journalism and corporate affairs. He loves living on a small farm in the beautiful High Country of Victoria, being involved in the Mansfield community and travelling, having in the last three years done extensive travels in Western Australia, Queensland, the United Kingdom and Ireland.