When I was a kid, my mother always told me that if I had nothing nice to say then I shouldn’t say anything at all. This was generally her rebuke in regard to teasing my siblings, but she also employed it when we would talk back to her or a teacher. As far as she was concerned, if we were being disrespectful in any way, it wasn’t a nice thing to say and we shouldn’t say it. Reading through the gospels, I often times wonder if Jesus was ever told the same thing by Mary. If He had, He definitely fails to abide by such a rule time and time again.
Looking at this passage, we find ourselves in the last week of Jesus’ life. He is creating endless amounts of havoc for the religious leaders as they attempt to prepare for the coming Passover. Jesus has wept for the city, cleansed the temple, and been questioned over the authority with which He speaks. The Pharisees are beginning to realize just how much of a threat He is to their way of life and to their traditional understanding of the scriptures. Knowing their hearts, Jesus offers them the parable of all parables.
Over and over again, Jesus has been a pain in the neck for the Pharisees, but not until now has He become a man they would seek to kill. Rather than keep his mouth shut and be a good little boy, Jesus angers those capable of ending His life. The old “WWJD” bracelets were intended to drive us forward in loving all who we meet. I doubt the makers ever considered how insolent and obstinate Jesus was on a regular basis. I do however believe that the sentiment remains. Jesus sought to live out the work of the Father. He sought out a way to flip the world on its head in order that the world would recognize the true truth. Because of that, we killed Him for it. Jesus reminds us all of the effort to which God has gone to save us from ourselves. God’s effort included the death of His own Son. To those who don’t believe, this remains nonsense, but for us, it is the cornerstone of our faith. I, for one, am glad that Jesus chose not to say anything when He had nothing nice to say.
Lenten Reader 2018
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