Daily Devotion for April 14, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
O Master and holy God, who is beyond my understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave me rest through sleep, and let me awake to the light of your glory out of the darkness of night.
Now, in your own tender love, accept me and all who adore you and give thanks to you with all of their heart. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those who pray with me; all my brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all of us who pray to you this morning, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever.
For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Burdens others had to bear;
Seldom stayed to count the cost
Lest the chance to help be lost.
If of me this can be said,
Sweet my sleep when I am dead.
John 18:1-11 (NASB)
Judas Betrays Jesus
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.
Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, "Whom do you seek?"
They answered Him, "Jesus the Nazarene." He said to them, "I am He." And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.
Therefore He again asked them, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus the Nazarene." Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way," to fulfill the word which He spoke, "Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one."
Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?"
Notes on the Scripture
The scene described here, and Jesus' forthcoming trial, demonstrate the odd relationship of a Roman client state with Rome itself. It is not the Romans who seek to arrest Jesus; it is the "chief priests and the Pharisees". But they use Roman soldiers. These religious leaders are not even the Jewish governor of Judea, Herod, but leaders of the temple. And with obvious hypocrisy, they send others to do their dirty work, for they are forbidden to shed blood. Moreoever, the Romans are happy to supply the armed police force, which obviates the need for an armed Hebrew guard under Jewish control inside the gates of Jerusalem.
The account in John differs from the account in the Synoptic Gospels. Mark 14, for example, gives us the famous account that Judas identifed Jesus to the soldiers with a kiss, whereas John tells us that Jesus gave himself up. The accounts are easy to reconcile, but it is interesting to see how different eyewitnesses remember different details. (In fact, as any lawyer will tell you, truthful eyewitnesses will always differ somewhat in the accounts they give; in fact, such differences are a hallmark of truthfulness, since it indicates that they have not collaborated in their stories.)
Peter attempts to fight them. He attacks one of the company with a sword and succeeds in cutting off his ear.
Peter's action illustrates a recurring tension between Christ's teachings and the actions of those who try to follow them. The Jews who expected a Messiah for centuries before, and the Christians who have followed for centuries since, have found it nearly impossible to absorb Christ's message of peace. Even Peter, Jesus' closest and most trusted disciple, pulls his sword to protect Christ. It is a harbinger of centuries of holy wars fought in the name of the King of Peace. We should not be surprised — saddened, but not surprised — that the Christians to follow would fall prey to the temptation of violence, if one as holy as St. Peter himself could not resist.