Grace: To be with Christ as he faces those who indict Him unjustly. Their indictments say more about their character than Jesus’.
Reflection. GK Chesterton once wrote that man longs for simplicity, but tends toward complexity. So it was with the intentions of earthly powers in Jesus’ day, and so it is with us today. We pray with the Jesus who is feared, reviled, and made a pawn of others’ machinations and impurity of heart. It is easy and comforting to distance ourselves from their actions; but they reflect common responses to unwelcome truths of Jesus’ mission.
Caiphas and the Sanhedrin are the fearful ecclesiastical leaders, who are concerned not with the truth but with quashing the apparent Messiahship of Jesus which threatens their authority. Where do I find this pernicious abuse of power employed to quash unpleasant truths?
King Herod brings Jesus before him only to mock and scorn Him. Jesus’ mission is the source of derision and contempt. Where have I been mocked or scorned for living out my covenant with God?
Pontius Pilate is caught in an ethical bind – competing duties to justice, to his Roman superiors, to the angry crowd before him, and to this pitiable man he recognizes as unjustly accused. Where have I compromised my principles and failed to recognize Christ as King, preferring instead expediency or not ‘making waves’?
Questions for prayer. Considering the questions above, imagine praying with Jesus staring at me just as He looked at the thrice-denying Peter. In what areas is He calling me to greater purity of heart and single-mindedness of intention? Let the grace today be to simply feel Jesus’ pain as I stand beside Him: Christ as He is feared, reviled, ridiculed and abandoned before the complex intentions of earthly powers.