Friday 15 November 2019

Bible Book:

“Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.”

Matthew 20:17-19 Friday 15 November 2019

Psalm: Psalm 104:24-35


We need to be very careful with the Gospel texts around Jesus’s trial and crucifixion – so many Christians seem to focus on what the chief priests and others did, without focusing on the actions of the Roman forces. In my retelling, I offer these as Jesus’ words:

“We’re going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be handed over to the police, chief priests and the theologians. They will agree that they want him dead, no surprise there, and hand him over to the Romans for execution. The Romans will mock him and spit on him, whip him and kill him.” (Jumbled up in Jerusalem)

The key point is that the Jewish authorities couldn’t do anything, the ending (or near ending) of the story is utterly dependent on Roman brutality, as if they were there at just the right time. This is where divine generosity ends up in a brutal world, God himself comes last. God goes through everything that humans go through, even the worst experience possible. As Jesus says earlier in this week’s readings – “everything is possible with God” – but only because God goes to unimaginable lengths, is prepared to give up everything. This is why salvation is present whenever God is present, it is not waiting, not dependent on fulfilment, God saves purely through being God who is deeply involved in human life. This is so challenging that Jesus’ followers come up with a massive jarring misdirection in tomorrow’s passage.


To Ponder:

  • Where do you see divine generosity in a brutal, or distracted, world?
  • What’s your take on God giving up everything?
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