Mark 15 (ESV)
Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
I can’t get over Jesus’ response to His immense suffering.
Jesus was severely mistreated; He was mocked, insulted, beaten. He suffered at the hands of the government, at the hands of the people He’d come to rescue, and even at the hands of God.
And yet, He didn’t resist. He didn’t respond. He didn’t react. He didn’t even open His mouth.
Jesus knew the reason why this was happening, so He submitted to God. And because He submitted to God, He also submitted to the people who were being used by God to bring about His sacrifice.
In my life I face far less opposition. I am rarely mistreated and I hardly face persecution. But when I do, I most definitely resist. I respond. I react. And I almost immediately open my mouth.
I tend to have a way with words. God has gifted me with an ability to communicate both orally and in writing. But my greatest asset is also my greatest liability: when I feel threatened, when I feel attacked, my first reaction is to fight back.
Unlike Jesus, I forget that there’s a reason behind this suffering. I forget that God is in control. I forget that God loves me. I forget that these people who resist me or hurt me are simply instruments in God’s hands, for God’s purposes.
But what would happen if I let God fight my battles, instead of taking matters into my own hands?
What would happen if I let God defend me and validate me, instead of trying to prove myself by myself?
What would happen if I submitted to God’s goodness, love, and control in my life, not just when it’s pleasant and things are going my way, but when it’s hard, when circumstances are painful, and when people provoke me?
That kind of faith is not easy. It requires humility. It requires silence. It requires surrender.
I may not know what’s on the other side, but I do know this: because God is good, because God loves me, and because He is in control, I can trust that He will use those moments in my life to make me more like Christ, to make me a testimony of His grace, and to glorify Himself through me. God will fight for me – all I have to do is get myself out of the way.
Father, thank you for your patience towards me. Help me to follow Jesus’ example of submission. Keep me from needing to justify myself before others. Help me trust Your plan and give me the grace to let You defend me. Let me glorify you with the words I say and the words I don’t say. In Jesus’ name, Amen.