Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Matthew 26 -- Rebellion?

Here we reach the passion account of Matthew's Gospel. Many of the details are echoed in the other Biblical accounts. I am always interested in the exchange of Jesus with the mob/crowd that comes to take him away. After one of the followers slices the ear of the temple guard, Jesus asks a penetrating question, " Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs to capture me?" This question captures me because I have thought of Jesus as leading a rebellion.

The reality is Jesus came to quell a rebellion. Humanities rebellion against God is the reason Jesus came, so that we might establish a the relationship with God, that God had intended for us. Still it seems that many of the things Jesus did were directly in conflict with the leadership of the day, and therefore could be considered rebellion. Perhaps a better word would be revolution. Jesus did not hide from anyone, nor did he keep secret the plan. As Jesus himself says he was there in the temple courts regularly, why not get him then. Revolution is when the whole order of things is changed, all the value sets are turned upside down. Rebellion may have similar results, but the method is different. Rebellion is based in violence and often physical altercation. Revolution, might include those things, but is build on a different footing.

In the American Revolution there was a great deal of violence, but only after there was great effort made to completely change the relationship between the colonies and England through diplomacy. So to speak, the plan was known, the teaching was offered, and an invitation to change was made. Rebellion would have engaged the battle first and then looked at the conversation.

Jesus was not interested in a violent battle, but he was interested in revolutionizing the relationship between God and humanity. This resulted in violence, that was of human origin, or should I say that was following our rebellion. Jesus came to offer us life, and wholeness, not rebellion. He offered new life. Do we continue to rebel?

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