“It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”” (Luke 22:37)
Jesus made this strange comment to his disciples at the Last Supper (Thursday night of Holy Week). What a crazy turn of events for the Lord. He entered Jerusalem only four days before (Palm Sunday) to fanfare – people shouting and cheering, waving palm branches. Now, with one betrayal and false allegation, Jesus would be arrested and considered a criminal – “numbered with the transgressors.”
But the persecution of Jesus wouldn’t be the end; it would be the beginning. Jesus said he was numbered “with” the lawbreakers…he meant the disciples – anyone associated with his name. These eleven men spent the last three years of their lives with Jesus doing good for and serving others. They prayed for the sick, fed the hungry, encouraged the downtrodden, and preached God’s word. How is this criminal activity? Were these not upstanding citizens? And yet, these disciples were now on the wrong side of the law.
I remember not too long ago when churches were full on Sundays. I remember when the Christian worldview was the dominant voice in our country. I remember when certain facts weren’t up for debate. I guess those were our “Palm Sunday” days.
I’m afraid those days are gone. It’s Thursday night. Our beloved country is full-blown post-Christian. Christianity may not be illegal yet, but associating yourself with Jesus is certainly unpopular. Standing for biblical principles can get you cancelled and publicly shamed…or embroiled in a lawsuit. It is getting much more difficult to be Jesus’ disciple outside of the safety of our homes.
So, what is a disciple to do? What advice did Jesus give his disciples that evening? Join us Sunday and that will be our topic of discussion in my sermon “Buy a Sword.”