The cross… and new life

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Mark 14:53 They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54 Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’ ” 59 But even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 Jesus said,

“I am; and
‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power,’
and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”

63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. 65 Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.

V.55 tells us that the religious authorities were looking for testimony against Jesus but it wasn’t going well. They couldn’t find two people who told the same story so they were stuck. And what did Jesus do? He helped them out in v.62 by saying “I am” – which is essentially saying “I am the Son of God”.

If it were me I’d prefer to argue for my release than give them more ammo to use against me. But Jesus isn’t interested in being released, he’s interested in getting on with what he knows must happen. He knew by this time he would endure the cross, but that the Father would raise him up.

There is a pattern in the New Testament of dying and rising, of losing one’s life to gain one’s life. The last few months have offered a lot of loss. We’ve lost connecting with our friends and family as we’re used to. We’ve lost some freedom of movement. Some have lost jobs and even lost loved ones to Covid-19. The church has lost its ability to meet in person though some of that is starting to come back. It’s still not the same with masks and distance and other safety protocols.

So as I experience grief and loss like everyone else I’m also anticipating new life. God is in the process of making a new me. A new us. A new church. A new world. But first is the cross. Lord give us grace to embrace what we must so that we too might be raised up to new life. Amen.

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