Ears to Hear: Reflections on Holy Week, Wednesday
We don’t know a lot about what Jesus did on Wednesday. Perhaps he rested in Bethany after several very busy, emotional days of teaching and interacting with the crowds. What we do know is that plans were beginning to be set in motion for his crucifixion. The motive for the religious leaders’ plot to kill Jesus is revealed in Luke 22:2: “for they feared the people.” But, what did the leaders fear? Certainly, they were afraid to lose their power and control. If Jesus was allowed to continue to stir the people’s hearts and passion for God, the people would be free and therefore not controllable.
What stands out significantly is that Jesus knew that this was going on and He continued, undeterred. He didn’t defend Himself. He didn’t initiate a preemptive strike. He lived in the freedom of His relationship with the Father and the Spirit. Whereas the religious leaders lived in fear (the fear of losing their power, their significance, their positions), Jesus did not. While He might have had some fear or trepidation related the cross (consider Luke 22:42), it was the freedom of the divine relationship in which He moved.
Jesus is always leading us to freedom … the freedom of relationship with the Triune God where we are most truly us. We live in a world that wants to keep us in the chains of being dominated by values that are not truly us … being defined by what others think (our image), what we do (our jobs), and what we have (our possessions). Theologian Walter Brueggemann discusses this conflict as he comments: “Passion as the capacity and readiness to care, to suffer, to die, and to feel is the enemy of imperial reality. Imperial economics is designed to keep people satiated so that they do not notice. Its politics is intended to block out the cries of the denied ones. Its religion is to be an opiate so that no one discerns the passion alive in the heart of God.”
And so, we see the battle that is before us every day. Do you see it? Are you aware? If not, perhaps the “imperial reality” (this world system) has satiated you. Are you able to discern the heart of God? If not, perhaps the values of this world are alive and well in your heart.
It all begins with beginning to see. And then, freedom emerges as we rely deeply upon the provision of God accomplished through the cross. What the religious meant to do through killing Jesus (stamping out any notion of possible freedom) actually initiated the ultimate provision for freedom. This is just what God does … He takes the foolishness of mankind and redeems it. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his murderous brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Where you today? Are you swimming with the current of this world … letting fear rule you as you strive to attain to values that don’t really define you? Or, are you swimming free in the water of relationship with God … allowing Him to define you by His protection, His love, and His riches?
Take a few moments and ask God to search your heart. Talk to Him about the way of freedom.