The first four barriers that Jesus removed, allowing us a relationship with God and showing us the path to the Kingdom of God were mostly about the external. Culture, institutional religion, and the rituals and ordinances that can distract from what is truly important. However, as with many things with Christ, he was interested In the exterior and interior, knowing that one without the other is worthless.
During Holy Week in Jerusalem Jesus was not the only active one. Others were actively plotting his betrayal, including his own disciples. Judas plotted to betray Jesus to the officials for 30 pieces of silver. However, a person plotting betrayal for money is not something that should really surprise us. We are a fallen race. What is amazing is how Jesus reacts to it. Just a few verses later Jesus is sharing a meal, a sacred meal, a high festival. Jesus institutes a new covenant in the same space as someone who offered the ultimate betrayal. Jesus in the midst of teaching the disciples service and setting up a new world order had time for another object lesson…don’t let hate and anger win. Be willing to sit at a table and share a meal even with your enemies. Don’t let the internal being any more of a barrier to the kingdom of God then the external. Just as Jesus recently told the pharisees, make sure the inside is just as clean as the outside.
Have you ever allowed other’s actions to control your emotional state?
Have you ever felt betrayed by a fellow Christian and allowed it to sour your relationship with God?
Is there someone even today who you need to forgive, not for their sake, but for yours?
God of mercy, Prince of Peace, please forgive us. Forgive us when we try to find excuses for everything going on inside of us by placing blame on everything going on outside of us. Forgive us when we cause hate and anger in others through our actions and our betrayals. Help all of us, as we contemplate our own roles and own sin that helped place Christ on the cross to forgive others and not allow our own hate and anger to be a barriet to reaching you. Amen.