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Sep 21 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Eighty-seven – Matthew 26:47-56

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me.” Matthew 26:5

How did Jesus get himself in trouble with the authorities? What was his crime? He did not preach heresy, dishonor the temple, or disparage the Scriptures. In fact, his teaching threw greater light on the Scriptures and he restored the dignity and sacredness of the temple, while removing and denouncing its corruption.

Jesus got himself in trouble by pointing out the compromise and failure of the current system and announcing to the crowds that there was another, better way to walk with God. That is why the gatekeepers of the old system–the institution–wanted him dead. That is why they treated him as a robber. In their eyes, he was a robber. If the common people followed him, the current leaders would eventually lose their positions of religious authority and political power (Jn. 11:48).

Jesus was not an “outlaw” (Good News Bible), rather he fulfilled the law. But because certain leaders wanted to hang on to their wealth and control of religion, and many people wanted hang on to their egos, Jesus was labeled an outlaw. That is why the mob entered the Garden of Gethsemane with swords and clubs, because He was righteous and they were not.

O Jesus, You are truly our Champion. You did not reject Your Father’s house, but took a stand against the true robbers who had made it their den. You walked apart from conventional religion, not because it was rotten at the core, but because it had lost its core. You were not an outlaw, but an outsider, who “suffered outside the gate.” Give us the grace and courage to join You there, regardless of the consequences.

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