When Fear Wins the Day

As painful as it is to hear the details of Jesus’ trial and witness the injustice of the entire process, Jesus seems to want us to understand how fear operates in real life and real systems. When we are guided by fear in our choices and decisions, truth can become blurry and we can be easily deceived. Perhaps our question for today is, do I know when I am being guided by fear or guided by love? How do I know the difference?

John 19:7-16 (ESV)
The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

For Prayer and Reflection:

Was there a word, a phrase, or an image that stood out as you listened? Linger there awhile with Jesus.

Place yourself in the story. Where are you standing? What do you see? What do you smell? What else do you sense? Notice any feelings that surface and follow it deeper if you feel led.

Consider encountering Jesus within the question, “Where are you from?”

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Who Authorizes You?

As a community. we were willing to gather in the dark this past Wednesday night to break bread together around the Word and candlelight. The electric power came on just as we were preparing to listen to the conversation in the Temple between the Jewish elite of priests, scholars, and leaders with Jesus and his friends. We were about to witness another form of power struggle: the struggle for power which comes from authority.

Rather than answering the question designed to trick and ensnare him, Jesus demonstrates the living credentials within him. Could he be modeling a way for us to count on his credentials, his authority, living alive within us - where we have all that we need in the moment rather than depending on what we know and control?

Mark 11:27-33 (MSG)

27-28 Then when they were back in Jerusalem once again, as they were walking through the Temple, the high priests, religion scholars, and leaders came up and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?”

29-30 Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. Answer my question and then I’ll present my credentials. About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans? Tell me.”

31-33 They were on the spot, and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe John; if we say ‘humans,’ we’ll be up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they said.

Jesus replied, “Then I won’t answer your question either.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What word or phrase stood out to you as you listened to the text?
Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

How has Jesus shown you his credentials?

If you view your life as your story, how are you and Jesus authoring it together? How is he bringing about an inner authority within you? What helps you live in tandem with Jesus, with his credentials living within you?

Consider how your own areas of "I do not know" may be a gift. What does it evoke from within you? Bring them into dialogue with Jesus.

Travel Light with Him

Fresh off a hefty dose of rejection and unbelief in His hometown, Jesus moves on to teach in other villages. He calls the twelve together and then seems to send them out in pairs on what, by today’s standards, might be considered an extreme camping trip—take no food, no bag, no money, no change of clothes. Say what? That’s right, they are to take only a staff, the clothes they are wearing, and the authority He gives them to teach, to heal, and to cast out evil spirits.  Authority, now there’s an interesting travel item.
Have you ever thought about what you absolutely can’t go without? And why? Or, have you considered the authority, as Jesus’ traveling companion, that goes with you? Enjoy an invitation to travel light with Him.

Mark 6:6-13 (NLT)

And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits.  He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
“Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town.  But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.  And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

For Reflection and Prayer:

Was there a word, a phrase, an image, or something else that seemed to stay with you as you listened to the passage?

What are the things you feel you “must” take with you? Why? Dialogue or journal with Jesus about this.

What does the word “authority” bring up in you with regard to Jesus, yourself, and/or others?  What do you notice?