After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, His enemies plotted to kill Him and Lazarus. Following the raising of Lazarus in chapter 13, Jesus predicted Judas’ betrayal. The dark clouds gathered. An extensive section of discourses of Jesus are found in chapters 14-17. It is in chapter 13 that we are told of Judas’ betrayal. Satan had entered into Judas who left the supper at night, another indication of the darkness that he represented.
In the Garden of Gethsemane men from the chief priests arrested Jesus and took him to Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest, and then to Caiaphas, the high priest. After a brief interrogation, Caiaphas sent Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor who reluctantly condemned Him. Jesus had arrayed against Him the leaders of the Jewish nation. Pilate acceded to their demand that he be crucified.
Not only the leaders of His own people with the assent of the Roman administration but also the powers of darkness themselves were enemies of Jesus. Christians should also expect opposition and the contempt of others. We should also be aware of the evil powers set against God and us. In Mark 13 Jesus warns the disciples of persecution. Christians are a minority in a secular society, a formula for strong opposition to our defense and witness. We must be brave as we face the challenges. But, most of all, we must pray for a deep faith, an abiding hope in God’s future, and a love for God and neighbor, even love for the enemy. To love an enemy is a miraculous occurrence in the soul of a human being. It runs against the grain of human nature, but God can empower us to such love.
Always keep in mind the challenges of discipleship. Do not be surprised by the opposition of the world. Satan wishes to destroy Christian faith and the Church. The Lord will prove victorious.
Michael G. Tavella
June 8, 2020