Day 207: July 26, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 27:2, 11-14
2 After tying Him up, they led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate , the governor… 11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him. Jesus answered, “You have said it.” 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You?” 14 But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Mark 15:1b-5
After tying Jesus up, they led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate. 2 So Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You have said it.” 3 And the chief priests began to accuse Him of many things. 4 Then Pilate questioned Him again, “Are You not answering anything? Look how many things they are accusing You of!” 5 But Jesus still did not answer anything, so Pilate was amazed.

Luke 23:1-5
1 Then their whole assembly rose up and brought Him before Pilate. 2 They began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is the Messiah , a King.” 3 So Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You have said it.” 4 Pilate then told the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no grounds for charging this man.” 5 But they kept insisting, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where He started even to here.”

John 18:28-38
28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover. 29 Then Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man weren’t a criminal, we wouldn’t have handed Him over to you.” 31 So Pilate told them, “Take Him yourselves and judge Him according to your law.” “It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared. 32 They said this so that Jesus’ words might be fulfilled signifying what kind of death He was going to die. 33 Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?” 35 “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?” 36 “My kingdom is not of this world ,” said Jesus. “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” 38 “What is truth?” said Pilate.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Are You not answering anything? Look how many things they are accusing You of!” But Jesus still did not answer anything, so Pilate was amazed.
—Mark 15:4-5

Speak Loudly
by Lauren O'Neill, Senior Adult and Congregational Care Assistant, Brentwood Campus

There are few things on this earth that are as frustrating as injustice.

The unfortunate thing is that injustice is something we can’t seem to get away from on this earth. It seems to have taken over the globe. It’s all around us. Every single day, people are treated unfairly.

Innocent babies are terminated in the wombs of their mothers. Honest, hard-working men lose their jobs due to economic downturns. Young girls become victims of human trafficking.

And smaller injustices (though often no less painful) happen daily within our own homes and places of work.

Our co-workers might get the raise we expected or deserved. Our spouses may misunderstand something we said, and react harshly based on their misconceptions. Best friends release a piece of news we told them in confidence, causing trust to be broken.

At times, life can seem so unfair.

When injustice is done, it can provoke a maddening feeling inside us. When life seems unfair, there’s something in us that cries out for the score to be re-calculated. If the injustice is being done to us personally, we experience an urge to justify ourselves by listing off our defenses.

It’s in our nature to protest injustice, because this is how God created us and what He often compels us to do (Micah 6:8). So it’s very difficult for me to read the Scripture verses in today’s text.

Jesus stood before the governor Pilate, after being captured and brought to court for claiming to be the King of the Jews (Luke 23:2). I can imagine Pilate walking into his courtroom and studying the Man before him. Pilate knew what the Jews were saying against Jesus, and he knew their accusations were enough to condemn Jesus to death under Jewish law.

He approached Jesus and asked for the straight story: “Are you the king of the Jews?” To which Jesus answered, “Yes.”

Pilate continued asking questions regarding the accusations the Jews brought. And at a certain point in the conversation, Jesus said no more.

This is the part where everything inside me cringes. Why did Jesus remain silent? He was innocent! He hadn’t done anything wrong!

Pilate didn’t understand this either. He asked, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” Jesus still remained silent—and Pilate was amazed.

Something in me finds it hard to reconcile this moment. It’s not that this is so out of character for Jesus. He consistently did things the opposite way from what others would have done, so I can’t say that I’m surprised by this reaction. It’s just that it feels so wrong.

I wanted Jesus to speak up and defend himself, to make Pilate and all the other government officials understand who He was. If I’m perfectly honest, I wanted Jesus to put them in their places and show them up as the fools they were. I wanted Him to get riled up. I want Him to do justice.

But Jesus remained silent.

He was the Son of God, and He was confident in His authority. In that moment, He knew He could call on legions of angels, that an entire universe full of resources rested within His command. The ultimate eternal injustice was done to the one and only Son of God—and He let it happen.

In my own life, I often can’t find the strength to do this, to just let it happen. When I’ve been misunderstood, or when there’s an injustice being done to me, it sometimes seems impossible to stay quiet, let the chips fall, and not defend the person I know I am.

One of the hardest things in this world is to remember who you are in the face of opposition and not defend yourself—not with fists, not with words, and sometimes, not even with what you know is the truth.

Jesus knew the ultimate injustice, and He bore it quietly. He stood there, allowing people to blaspheme, curse, threaten, lie, make their plans, and think up their tortures, yet He didn’t say a word. He knew what was at stake, that it was so much more valuable than His escape from that moment or His reputation inside of it.

He knew Who He was needed no defense.

There’s definitely a time and place for words, and for justice to be acted upon, but a story like this makes me wonder: how many times have I scrambled to come up with something to say, some defense to prove who I am, when I actually should’ve just remained quiet?

Jesus’ silence spoke loudly to Pilate in that courtroom, and His silence speaks loudly to me today. As I consider my own life, and the injustices I see occur within it and the world around me, I pray I’d sometimes have the courage to keep my defenses silent, that I’d have the courage to let my silence speak loudly.

Reflection Questions

  1. What are some injustices you see happening around you in our culture, in our government, in your home, or at your job?
  2. How do you react when you see those injustices playing themselves out? Do they make you feel angry or helpless?
  3. Read Mark 15:4-5 again. This week, think about your life and the circumstances that are unique to you. How can you act like Christ did and choose to let your silence speak loudly?

About the Author

Lauren O'Neill
» Blog/Website

Lauren O’Neill serves at Brentwood Baptist as an Administrative Assistant to the Senior Adult and Congregational Care ministers. Working behind the scenes is often her preferred place of ministry, but she’s also had plenty of time in the spotlight as a Christian singer/songwriter and worship leader—all before getting married and moving to Franklin with her husband Tim in 2011. In her free moments, she’s inevitably found reading a book, writing, or playing piano—with a glass of iced coffee close beside her. Her passions include teaching and studying the written Word, music, and traveling. She dreams of authoring a children’s book some day. You can read some of her writings at laurennoneill.blogspot.com.