The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. “Let us break their chains,” they say, “and throw off their fetters.”
It’s horrible when people gang up against you. In a previous workplace, a female friend of mine was given promotion ahead of some older colleagues. Many felt that she had been promoted simply because she was young and female, and would be an attractive front to the organisation. Having worked closely with her, however, I knew this not to be the case – she was extremely good at her job, had held a senior post in another organisation, and thoroughly deserved her promotion. This didn’t stop quite a number of members of staff being quite vicious in their condemnation of her appointment. Some even went so far as telling the management that they were wrong to have promoted my friend.
In our current Mark Marathon passage, Jesus once again finds that he has got on the wrong side of the Pharisees when he heals someone with a withered hand on the Sabbath, which they believe to be against the law. The Pharisees then went to speak to the Herodians, the supporters of Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, and they plotted together against Jesus, trying to figure out how best to destroy him.
In today’s passage, we can see an Old Testament mirror of these developments in Mark’s gospel; the rulers of the earth plotting against God’s anointed one, which, in the case of Mark’s gospel is the Christ, the Messiah, Jesus. Yet we are warned here that if earthly rulers rebel against the anointed one, Jesus, then they rebel against God himself, a sure sign of sin, which is punishable by eternal death. There is a clear warning here – it is a very bad idea to rebel against Jesus.
We must take every opportunity open to us to stand up for Jesus. We must not tolerate rebellion against him. We must ensure that rulers around the world allow Christians to practice their faith free from persecution. Why not pray today for all those Christians who are persecuted by their governments for their faith, and also that people might be liberated from such governments?