Holy Tuesday, April 16
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
“While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him .Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’”
How have you experienced “the power of darkness” in your life? In this story of Christ’s betrayal and arrest, we hear and see a vivid contrast between the threat of violence used against Christ and Christ’s own mission of healing and forgiveness. Even as they seemingly denied and denigrated the light of God in Christ, Christ responded with calmness and the power to speak truth with no trace of fear or vengeance. In other words, Christ let the light of God shine even more fully in the face of the darkness that was attacking him.
In our own lives, do we resent and fear, resist and fight against the powers of darkness? When we feel attacked, do we defend or attack in return? Do we just think about what we need and how we have been wronged, or do we pray and seek the light of God and serve the highest good that is needed for all concerned?
Ever since I returned in 2005 to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (where I was born to Disciples missionary parents), I have worked with an artist friend Etienne Ngandu in Kinshasa to help poor artists, widows, orphans, and others in need, mostly because Etienne has been continuously eager to serve God by helping the poor. Recently, Etienne shared with me some inspirational stories of how he has helped others.
One story Etienne shared was that a thief once stole something from Etienne in the marketplace. Etienne chased after thief, caught him, and asked him if he would like to be trained to be an artist. The thief replied, “Yes,” so Etienne trained him to be an artist so he could support himself instead of being a thief. Etienne brought the light of Christ in the midst of darkness for the sake of the thief, not just for himself.
Prayer: Holy Christ, may we be so filled with your light that even in our darkest hours, we will respond with your grace, your forgiveness, and like you, become a healing presence even in the midst of those who would attack us or others we love. Thank you for your light that has the power to overcome the darkness in our lives. Amen.