In the reading for today we find Jesus on trial. Jewish leaders strategically plot to have Him killed, finding witnesses who can be manipulated into twisting Jesus’ teachings. By warping the truth they prove Jesus’ betrayal of the authority and teachings that ruled the day, an intentional dishonest attack on the character of Jesus. If I found myself in the same boat would I be able to stand calmly and say very little as Jesus did?
No, the answer is no. I could not, would not, stand there and be calm. Blow by blow, lie by bold lie I would be incensed, driven to an ungodly anger. Like Peter lashing out and cutting the accusers ear. Yet, I believe others in the same situation would try to keep the peace and do whatever it takes to stay a sentence of death. If it meant life or death, I think some would be willing to “kiss the ring”, make peace, give in to any demands in order to save their own skin.
However, Jesus does neither of these things. Confronted with lies, he just stands there and says nothing. He calmly, stoically “turns the other cheek”. Finally, when confronted with the truth, “Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God?” He neither cowers to make peace or allow the fires of anger to overcome Him. Instead, He calmly lets the truth be His only weapon, “Yes, it is as you say.”
My wife, the principal of a small Christian School, has shared with me this fall one very important realization she has come to through many tough conversations she has had to have on various topics. Early in her tenure as principal her method was to give the soft answers in the face of conflict or disagreement so as to not offend or drive people away. Often taking the easier route to a peaceful solution rather than graciously handing out a rebuke that may have been needed. Too often we let the ways of our world guide our actions, rather than calmly, and confidently letting the truth of Jesus Christ rule our heart. “Sometime we buffer the truth to keep the peace, instead of letting the truth stand for itself” she realized. She understands now that sometimes she will have to speak the hard truth in order for growth to happen. Jesus came to speak the truth, He did so with grace and compassion, but He still stood by the truth. This Lenten season let the truth of Jesus Christ guide all you do and say.