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Mark 14:1-2
Saturday, August 11 2012

Timed Persecution...

The chief priests and scribes were waiting for the perfect moment to arrest Jesus:

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days' time. So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death. They said, "Not during the festival, for fear that there may be a riot among the people." -Mark 14:1-2, NAB

We are about to enter the Passion narrative.  The chief priests and scribes have begun plotting against Jesus, but they are waiting for the right time to make it happen.  Not wanting to stir the crowd or start a riot, they carefully plan their moves.

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It would have been easy for the chief priests and scribes to easily arrest Jesus for His "crimes," but they knew better.  Less than a week earlier, in Mark 11, Jesus had received a King's welcome as He entered the city.  Now, if they wanted to bring charges against Him, they would have to be careful about what steps they took.

The calculated moves of the chief priests and scribes reminds me of the current issues we face today.  Our religious freedom is being attacked from all directions, but our adversaries have been very careful in their plans, always picking the right time and moments to make it happen.

Instead of attacking our religious liberties in one, large move, they have slowly been taken away from us, bit by bit, law by law.  They have never come out and spoken directly against our liberties as a whole; instead, they simply legislate them away with each law that is passed.  By the time we react to each new piece of legislation, another one is already in the works.

Over the past few years, many laws have been passed in the United States, at both the federal and state levels, and around the world that have slowly begun to infringe on our our religious freedoms.  We have made attempts to stand up for our beliefs, but our opponents have found ways to turn the tables right back around us - labeling us as out-of-touch, religious zealots trying to force our religion on others.

We know the fate of Jesus.  In a few short days, He would be publicly persecuted for His beliefs.  That fate may await us, as well.  If we cannot stop the tide rushing against us, our freedoms will be gone, and we will face public persecution for our faith.

Are you ready to face persecution?  Are you willing to take a stand for your faith?  The time is now.  We must take a stand for our religious liberties, through peaceful protests and the use of our vote.  We must let the world know that we will not go away quietly by making our voices heard in the public arena.

May God protect all of us in these difficult and treacherous times.


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