Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
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This is the fourth devotion in a series on the Passion of Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew.
Please read Matthew Chapter 27:11--26 in your Bibles.
What's your first inclination when you get caught in a tight spot--accused of some wrong? Do you get angry blaming your accuser? Do you get indignant and try to brush it off? Do you beg and plead trying to weasel your way out? Do you play the doormat and try to avoid confrontation all together? The police officer says, “You were speeding.” I say, “My speedometer was broken.” My wife says, “You know I had to leave. Why didn’t you get home on time?” I say, “I was really busy at work.” There’s always an excuse. There’s always a good reason to speak up and give some defense.
Jesus stands before Pilate and his accusers, and he says nothing. He gives no defense. He doesn't seem to have any reaction at all. We are told that Pilate is greatly amazed. Pilate was used to dealing with people more like us who want to save ourselves. Pilate was used to people giving excuses, whining, and begging for mercy. He wasn’t some TV judge like Judge Judy making meaningless rulings. Pilate was used to people groveling in desperation before him because he held the power of death over life. He could make that final judgment. Most people like you and me would want to keep Pilate on their side in an argument. Jesus says nothing and Pilate is greatly amazed.
Was Pilate perplexed? Did Pilate admire Jesus’ courage? Or did Pilate just think him a fool? Jesus was silent because Jesus knew that the matter had already been settled between God and himself. Jesus, God’s Son, prayed in the garden that this death would not come to him, but still he would do God’s will. God was the one with the power not Pilate. God had the final word not the religious authorities. Jesus, God with us, kept silent because God was proclaiming through Jesus Christ that nothing would ever separate us from God. God in Christ was going to stay with us no matter what the consequences.
So Jesus keeps silent and lets our murderous nature come through. Yet he stays. Since Jesus Christ stayed trusting that God and not death held the power, we can now be assured that God will not ever leave us. We don't need our lame excuses to prop us up. We don't need to get angry and defensive because we are afraid. We don't need to become indignant because we believe our worth as a person has been called into question. We do not need to be the doormat believing that everything is, of course, our fault. God is with us.
We are never separated from God in Christ. Christ holds us up. Christ comforts our fears. Christ claims as worthy. Christ grants us the courage to face needed conflict. Christ stays with us despite the consequences whether we are in the right or in the wrong. We can face all the consequences of our often messy lives with courage and vulnerability because God's love, forgiveness, and grace have the last word.
Pray that God will gently remind you of God's loving last word whenever you find yourself in a tight spot and you are struck with the urge to react in old destructive ways.