Here is an extract from a book I have written towards over teh past 10 years, called ‘light for our path’
Yesterday I prayed with a man who had killed someone. He was a teenager when he had done it and subsequently he had spent most of his life in prison. As we sat together drinking tea he recalled the story of how he had been arrested soon after he had shot the man because of drug dealing disagreements. He spoke about his trial and how when the judge sentenced him to 15 years it seemed like he was going to be locked up for a life time. Yet, his admission was that he had done the crime and therefore was ‘given the time.’
The case of Jesus isn’t just. He was wrongfully arrested for a crime he hadn’t committed to then be sentenced not for 15 years but to death. I must admit I often skim read the undeserved painful story of the arrest and trial of Jesus as I know that the end of the story is all good news. Jesus is alive and well and the detail running up to his glorious resurrection almost seems to be insignificant. Imagine for a moment that you didn’t know the outcome. Picture the dark desperate scene that the first friends of Jesus would have been part of: the wrongful arrest of your master, your friend in pain, your teacher being tried illegally, the man you had followed for the past 3 years who had given you such hope being sentenced to an execution. Imagine feeling lost like the disciples would have felt. Imagine the fear that you too may also be arrested and punished. For the followers of Jesus, his arrest is complete disaster. So, my plea to you for this week as we spend time together with the bible, imagine that you just don’t know the conclusion of the story. Through doing so I pray that you may capture something of the loneliness and desperation that Jesus encountered all because he loves you.
This weeks reading
Luke 22. 39- 53 Taken from The Message
Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.” He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face. He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?” One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him. Jesus spoke to those who had come—high priests, Temple police, religion leaders: “What is this, jumping me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I’ve been with you in the Temple and you’ve not so much as lifted a hand against me. But do it your way—it’s a dark night, a dark hour.”
For Group Discussion and Personal Thought: