At our Wednesday evening Holy Week service a couple of weeks’ back we had a dramatisation of the passion narrative from Matthew’s Gospel. It wasn’t meant to be a professional performance. A narrator read the story of Jesus’s arrest, trial and crucifixion while various members of the congregation, dressed in shawls and sheets, read the parts of the various actors in the drama.
It was the story we’ve heard so many times, and there was nothing spectacular about the actors or the acting. I was worried that the “guards” might get a bit rough with the 86-year-old “Jesus” but all went well. Although it was the same old story, I was struck anew by the passiveness of Jesus.
One of my (many) weaknesses is that I find it most difficult to remain silent in the face of unfair or invalid criticism. I must respond; I must explain the circumstances. But Jesus does not retaliate; he does not react to the taunts or rise to the bait. Having yielded his power, he became powerless; having yielded his glory and position, he became unsightly and unwanted. (As Isaiah put it, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2b) Having yielded his authority, he was dominated. Having yielded his dignity he was stripped naked, taunted and whipped; having yielded his life, he was put to death.
One thing he did not yield. His love. He gave up life itself, but he retained his love. He took our sin on himself as if it were his own. He didn’t protest his innocence or demand our understanding. For Jesus, love (actively caring for others, and demonstrating grace) was far more important than being understood.
That, for me, is one of the most difficult aspects of Christian faith, and of my walk with Jesus. What about you?