Restraint

Seeing injustice such as bullying, trafficking of young girls, or innocent children being gunned down evokes visceral responses in us as we try and make sense of our fallen world today.

In Matthew 26 we read of the chief priests and Sanhedrin looking for false evidence against Jesus.  The scriptures say: “But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward”.  Finally, two testify that Jesus said he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, which he did say.  Then, instead of asking him to prove this point they ask if he is the Christ, the son of God.  To which he responds: “Yes, it is as you say” In this so called “trial” they don’t give Jesus any opportunity to further defend his statement, instead they say he is guilty of blasphemy, worthy of death, and then they spit on him and hit him.

This doesn’t sound like justice and the response is not one of any civil orderly courtroom.  The reaction of these high ranking religious leaders is to spit and hit the defendant!

Of course, we know this is so he could save the world.  But the injustice and treatment of Jesus is strikingly inhumane, unjust, and simply an ugly example of mankind.

Knowing that Jesus could, at any time, call down “twelve legions of angles” is a display of restraint and love and mercy for these “judges”, especially knowing that the whole approach was to find false witnesses against him.  And the ultimate display of restraint is as Jesus hangs on the cross he cries out for the Father to: “forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing

The restraint of Jesus to show mercy so many times to us his children who repeatedly “don’t know what we are doing” is such a towering example of the power of the love of God.  To harness some of this to display to others as a testimony is what I would love to regularly do.  To show and extend the gospel in a world of injustice and sin when I encounter it in my life.   Not easy, but what we are called to do.

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