Every so often some nation holds an “election” in which the country’s ruler gets 98.4% of the votes. We know those are not open, free elections—humans just don’t agree to that extent! We don’t know the details of how the high priest got this unanimous condemnation of Jesus. We can be pretty sure it did not arise from thoughtful, open discussion.
- “Blasphemy” could mean a mortal claiming to be God, the charge against Jesus. It could also mean insulting or lying about God. When God in human flesh met religious leaders who insulted and condemned him, who was really committing blasphemy? How can you live a life that speaks the truth about God to those who know you?
- “They all condemned him as worthy of death.” Imagine yourself as a member of that council, knowing the high priest and his inner circle have made up their minds. Would you be the one voice that said, “Hold on—I don’t agree”? Are you willing to speak out about an injustice or cruelty, even if everyone else is silent?
I am not so sure the question for the GPS today is all that helpful. “Where Were the Dissenters?” But I got me thinking about an old saying; “If being a Christian were against the law, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
I used that line in a sermon once, and if I remember this right a retired pastor in the congregation felt that it was a bit simplistic or maybe bit trite… I don’t remember exactly, its been a long time, and I don’t remember if I made a reply. Maybe it is… maybe it would be better expressed by quoting a song I sang when I was a kid… Will people “know we are Christians by our love?”
When someone burns with hate, because of injustice, circumstance, or bias do we in turn live as an example of forgiveness and love. When someone bears a burden far to great to carry alone…do we come along side and help lift? How will others know that you are a child of God, how will they know you are a Christian?
When we read of these events around Jesus death it is easy to point fingers at people who lived long time ago and lump their actions together as “all”. I think one of the things we need to focus on is less what was, but more of what’s next.
What lessons can we learn from this story. Where can we in the midst of tragedy, injustice and fear not fall prey to gloom and doom in the negative events of life, but live fully and abundantly in and through the Grace of God, to bring life, hope and love out of them as Jesus did.