Just two verses occupied us for more than two hours in yesterday’s breakfast bible study. The verses in mind were Mark 14:48,49
48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”
The question in v48 was asked by Jesus of the mob who came to arrest him in the garden of Gethsemane, and the answer of course is clear. Yes he was! He was clearly looking to start a rebellion, but not one that was executed by the wielding of sword or club. But one brought about by the changing of hearts and minds, which in this case is largely the result of the teaching of Jesus and the transformative power of the Scriptures.
We thought of the rebellions currently under way in places like Tunisia, in Egypt and Libya, Bahrain and Morocco. We wondered whether we would have had the courage to stand in Tahrir Square and oppose the forces of the State by peaceful resistance. More challengingly we wondered whether we would be among those protesting in Benghazi where live bullets are being used to quell the protests.
The rebellion Jesus was leading could not be enforced, rather it was embraced. This is not something that swords and clubs could do.
We got to thinking about change in general and how it is achieved and resisted, even in church communities.
I imagine a preacher standing in a pulpit of a divided church with only this verse. How would it be handled? What would the preacher say to the warring congregation, each faction seeking its own way?
“Are we fighting a war for domination that you make your case through lies and innuendo, gossip and half-truths? Week after week I stand in this pulpit and open the Word, but it can never been made captive to your way. Have you ever heard your way endorsed by this Word? Instead the Scriptures will be fulfilled. Violence may have its way for a season, but ultimately, the Way of love will be vindicated.”