Although thousands of years have passed, Jesus of Nazareth is still on trial today. Like relentless winds pummeling a tiny ship in mid-ocean, strong and hard questions from the world assail the church. They still want to know who Jesus is exactly. Why He is still around, and why His disciples keep falling from grace.
And the biggest questions of all:
“Why is there still suffering in this world, if Jesus suffered once for all?”
“Why is there injustice, if God is just?”
“Why is there no peace, if Jesus came to bring ‘peace on earth, goodwill to men?'”
In these questions, I want to rail against the world. I want to even the score. I want to scream into the dark rage with, well, with rage.
The rage of His defense. I realize how foolish this is. How futile. How full of the flesh and the world. I am mirroring what is before me and what is in me without His recreation.
When Jesus stood before Pilate and was asked, “Are you the Son of God.” The Son of God stood silent. When everyone turned against my Lord and accused Him falsely and profusely. He answered no man.
Jesus drank deeply from the power and grace that the Father offered Him in those difficult moments. The Redeemer of Israel and the nations stood with dignity and grace, and He did not defend Himself or His Father. The Messiah stripped Himself of rebuttal and chose to be clothed in the rags of human frailty and humility.
Jesus chose to allow the Father to justify Him in the right way and season.
Almost daily, I say too much — even to my family and my brothers and sister in Messiah. I want to defend where I am. I want to be understood. I want to please… I am longing for someone to see life as I do — to come alongside of my journey and “really see” and know the depths of it. And yes, I want to justify myself.
When I do this, I see that I put Jesus back on trial myself. Demanding certain actions from those around me, and the entering in of my portion. Demanding to be understood rather than allowing God to justify my life in front of others.
But the pathway is lonely. And all of these self justifications fall as earthly dregs, in the light of His love and what He gave… His example of silence. It was stellar. When Jesus could have said so very much.
He allowed His life up to this point to speak for itself. I am sure that when the Son of God stood trial, there were those whom Jesus had healed who came forward to friends and family or privately in their hearts and said, “But He changed me. And they are going to crucify Him?”
“Why What on earth is happening?”
When questions swirl and the world demands answers about God’s mysterious plan of the ages at work in my individual life… Jesus is my example. He, who formed the world with a breath — who knows the number of my days, having written them in His Book of Life, spoke not a word at His own trial.
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
~ Hebrew 12:1-3, The Message
This is defense enough for me.