If there’s a section in the Bible that I really struggle with, it’s the timeline that surrounds Jesus’ trial. In those hours Jesus meets with pretty much the movers and shakers of the Jewish and Roman worlds. We know that Jesus was a powerful speaker, we know that he performed miracles, we know that he had wisdom to surprise (and sometimes shame) his opponents.
Yet in the most important hours in world history, Jesus says nothing. He doesn’t put up a rousing defense of why he shouldn’t die while confronting obviously false charges. He doesn’t even forcefully argue to be God (although, he does most certainly claim to be God, you don’t tear your robes for nothing!)
I can’t help but wonder why Jesus didn’t put up more of a fight.
The only reason I can come up with is that he didn’t put up a fight because I would have put up a fight. And you would have put up a fight. In fact, everyone but God would have put up a fight. And God knows his Kingdom doesn’t advance through fights, arguments, and yelling. It advances through love, forgiveness, and grace.
Last week I wrote an article called the unfair treatment of Ben Roethlisberger. It’s been just about the most popular article I’ve ever written on R3blog.net. But I never meant for it to go on R3blog.net. I meant for it to go on a Steelers blog. And it did. For about 20 hours until they unceremoniously deleted it.
In that moment I was faced with a choice, do I say it’s unfair, or do I agree to allow it to be deleted. (I agreed.) Some have told me I should have fought it out. But I think that misses the point that Jesus was trying to teach before his death. Sometimes the way to change the world is to say little and let your actions speak for you.
How would arguing have convinced people that I wasn’t trying to “force my views” on people? How would arguing have benefited the kingdom? I think it would have already pigeonholed me more as a Jesus freak. It would have made an already (apparently) hostile audience dig into their mental bunkers.
It would have accomplished nothing that the article was supposed to accomplish (that is, talking about grace and forgiveness.)
While I think the site made a mistake, and possibly even singled me out unfairly, I’m okay with that. It’s their site, and they pay the bills. My job was to write the article and post it, if they disagreed, so be it.
In the end I take away three things from this experience.
- Being known gives you credibility to talk to God. To them I was some random person just popping up and throwing around the word “grace” and “forgiveness” and “God.” They didn’t know me because even though I’ve read that website nearly every day for 3 years, I never was part of their vocal community. The same is true in all our lives. If we want to talk about God, we need to be known to people or they won’t take us seriously. It’s the difference between “Bible thumping” and “Sharing the Gospel.”
- Sometimes it’s better not to fight. As I said above, fighting doesn’t always solve the Kingdom problems. Fighting is what the world does. Throwing a fit is what everyone does. I want to look different and let people see God through that difference.
- Even smart people make dumb comments about God. It was kind of shocking to see otherwise smart people, hold very inconsistent, if not irrational, views about God and Christianity. People spend very little time thinking about why they believe what they believe. Make sure, if you’re a believer, you don’t make that same mistake.
I don’t feel like this was exactly a “positive” experience. But I am glad I experienced it. Why? Because following where God is leading is always worth it. Even if it feels like you slap into a brick wall.