For me it has been a powerful and moving day at church. During Sunday School we meditated on John 18-19 envisioning ourselves as witnesses to the events leading up to the crucifixion. We were then asked if we saw something new. I did not respond but I liked the response of those who did:
1.”How the soldiers were so taken aback when Jesus stood before them in the garden and stated that he was the one they were looking for.” Even in those moments Jesus was in command of his circumstances.
2. “How Pilate desperately pleads with Jesus to get him out of his role in these events.” He doesn’t realize, at first, the magnitude of this trial. As it progresses, it only gets more grave. And he wants no part in it. We all play a role in God’s plan but we do have a choice in how it plays out, in how we respond to the circumstances of life.
We closed with a very good story about Clarence and Robert Jordan which led us to answer the question: Are you a disciple of Christ or just an admirer? (Will you follow Jesus up to the Cross or will you be crucified with him?)
Clarence Jordan was the founder of the Koinonia Farm near Americus, Georgia. It was set up to be an interracial community before anyone knew what civil rights were all about. Jordan himself was a pacifist as well as in integrationist and thus was not a popular figure in Georgia, even though he came from a prominent family. The Koinonia Farm, by its very nature, was controversial and, of course, it was in trouble. In the early fifties Clarence approached his brother Robert Jordan (later a state senator and justice of the Georgia Supreme Court) to ask him to represent legally the Koinonia Farm. They were having trouble getting LP gas delivered for heating during the winter even though it was against the law not to deliver gas. Clarence thought Robert could do much through a phone call. However, Robert responded to Clarence’s request:
“Clarence, I can’t do that. You know my political aspirations. Why, if I represented you, I might lose my job, my house, everything I’ve got.”
“We might lose everything too, Bob.”
“It’s different for you.”
“Why is it different? I remember, it seems to me, that you and I joined the church on the same Sunday, as boys. I expect when we came forward the preacher asked me about the same question he did you. He asked me, ‘Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ What did you say?”
“I follow Jesus, Clarence, up to a point.”
“Could that point by any chance be—the cross?”
“That’s right. I follow him to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not getting myself crucified.”
“Then I don’t believe you’re a disciple. You’re an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple of his. I think you ought to go back to the church you belong to, and tell them you’re an admirer, not a disciple.”
“Well now, if everyone who felt like I do did that, we wouldn’t have a church, would we?”
“The question,” Clarence said, “is, ‘Do you have a church?”
Hymn of the week: In Christ Alone