Sunday 14 August 2022

John 7:45-52 (NLT)

45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” 46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded. 47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!” 50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

As I reflect on this passage, I imagined myself as one of the Temple guards. 

I am trained in the Jewish religious law from birth, as well as being equipped for law enforcement. 

I am feared a little, but also greatly respected by the people. 

I walk boldly but humbly, because I know that I am accountable to God, and also to the Sanhedrin, who led the religious affairs of this great city, Jerusalem.  

Today, I have been sent by the Sanhedrin on an important mission, to arrest a person who is leading my people astray and claiming to be God.  

I start my day with ritual washing, then prayer, then I recite Torah. I know by heart big sections of Moses and the Prophets. My religious zeal, leadership skill and strong physique means that I am a candidate for being the head of the temple guard.  

I meet up with my team and we review our assignment. Then we set off to find this Jesus and bring him in. It’s early in the morning and our intelligence suggests he was up until late teaching his followers, so we should have limited interference from the crowds.  

Jesus is easy to find, but as we encounter him, we realise that he isn’t the usual type of revolutionary. He is gentle, but when he speaks, his words are powerful and move our hearts. We are simply unable to arrest him, because his words are true. He impacts us deeply, so we turn around and head back to the temple empty handed, wondering what we will tell the Sanhedrin…  

 Lord, I pray that my heart would be as soft as these Temple guards when I encounter You. May Your impact flow through me into the lives of others.  

Written by Ps Justin Ware 

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