Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent
We see today the deliberations of the Sanhedrin that will lead to their decision to have Jesus killed. Their decision comes out of a concern that if enough people believe in Jesus “the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” This seems odd to the modern ear, but in the Old Covenant, the land was the very sign of God’s covenant with Israel, and a space where Israel could be free to worship God properly. Jesus Himself promises in the Beatitudes that “the meek […] shall inherit the earth.” Losing the land is more than a property concern–a covenant is at stake.
What Jesus is promising, though, is a new covenant. There will still be a kingdom, but it will be “not of this world” (Jn. 18:36). The Israelites are right to fear loss of the nation–the Romans could come and take it at any time. What Jesus is now offering us is a kingdom that can never be taken. A new, unconquerable kingdom as a sign of a new, unconquerable covenant. God has turned our worlds topsy-turvy this week. Now, we are asked to reconsider even what sort of covenant we will have with God. Will we accept this new covenant God is offering to us–with its kingdom that is unconquerable, yet unseeable? Can we follow God through death, leaving behind everything, to enter this kingdom?