“I bet you can’t!” “You don’t have what it takes!” “I thought you said you could do it.” From the time that I was a kid these challenges have sparked my competitive juices and I come out fighting. A man passionately craves respect and when challenged, my deep insecurities ignite anger and defensiveness. According to Matthew’s account, this is the spear that Satan hurled at Jesus in the court of Caiaphas right after everyone in the room heard Jesus state that He was the Son of Man who would one day rule the world.
“Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He blasphemed! Is there any need for us to seek further witnesses? Look! Now you have heard the blasphemy for yourself! What’s your verdict?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death.’ Then they spit in His face and punched Him. And they slapped Him, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, Messiah! Who is the one who struck you? - Matthew 26:65-68
Did Jesus know the names of each one who beat and mocked Him? If ever there was a man who could defend Himself, Jesus was the Man. He was the Messiah. He was God, but unlike me, He didn’t have something to prove. He knew it was His Father’s will for Him to be the guilt offering for our sins, and He took the challenge. I’m so thankful because if Jesus would have retaliated, it’s not only a few Sanhedrin members who would have been cooked. The entire universe could have disintegrated.
Matthew is going to show us again and again that, when challenged, Jesus doesn’t lash out with something to prove.
LORD, expose my insecurity and failure to rest in who you have made me and what you want me to do in a given day. Help me to quiet down and trust that you do have things under control even when I feel that I’m under attack. Thank you for not bringing justice against those who physically and verbally attacked you in your trial because I would be one of those condemned. Thank you eternally for going all the way to the cross!
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