Recently, a politician, during a Townhall meeting told the nation that he would remove the tax exempt status from churches that refuse to perform homosexual marriages. Many Christians are getting up in arms about it. Some are getting downright militant, but is this the right way to handle it? How should Christians respond when their rights are trampled on? I think we've let the world get too cozy in the Western Church. What I mean is this: Christians, we're beginning to get militant about "our rights, our freedoms, ours ours ours." But let's look at the people of God in the New Testament (And a few in the old). Daniel was thrown into the den of a lion for refusing to bow to the Government, Many of the prophets were tortured and killed because they did not preach what the people wanted to hear, Jesus was crucified for our sins, or course, but also because He refused to back the religious norms and leaders of the day, and every one of the apostles, and countless other disciples were tortured and/or died without raising a sword in defense. Why? Shouldn't we defend our rights? The simple answer is no. If you have the ability to vote your conscience, continue to do so, but when the rights are removed, it's not our "right" as Christians to militantly defend the faith. When Peter defended Christ at Gasthemene, slicing off Malcus, the High Priest's servant's ear off, Jesus told him to put away his sword, and healed the man Peter attacked. "If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword." I think the lesson is still true for us. Christian power is not in might of arms, but by love and unity in Christ Jesus. Loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us. Peter and Paul, men who were arrested and eventually executed for being Christians, taught us to submit to governing authorities. We can do that without compromising our values. We can stand firm on the word while not being in the world. Many Christians since Stephen have given their lives for the cause of Christ, lives given without taking others. It's time we start loving our enemies, and praying for those who persecute us, and should we die, we die. The Bible says it will get worse before it gets better. But Jesus remains the same forever. Stand on Him, all else is quicksand. Matthew 26
The Plot to Kill Jesus
3Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,a 7a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Judas to Betray Jesus
14Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
The Passover with the Disciples
17Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
20When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.b 21And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Institution of the Lord’s Supper
26Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of thec covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial
30And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watchd with me.” 39And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on.e See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
47While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”f Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servantg of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council
57Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. 59Now the chief priests and the whole councilh were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” 62And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”i 63But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”
Peter Denies Jesus
69Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Footnotes: a 6 Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13 b 20 Some manuscripts add disciples c 28 Some manuscripts insert new d 38 Or keep awake; also verses 40, 41 e 45 Or Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? f 50 Or Friend, why are you here? g 51 Or bondservant h 59 Greek Sanhedrin i 62 Or Have you no answer to what these men testify against you?