Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 25 February 2016

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even then their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Mark 14, verses 55-61.

I wonder if first century Judea was an ‘age of offended’ like ours.

It’s true, 21st century America isn’t an occupied nation, subjugated to the controls of outside tyrants (that is, unless you don’t count that ‘the other guy’s’ policies are wrong for the country, no matter who ‘the other guy’ is). Still, it seems pretty undeniable that we live in a time where social, political, and conventional media facilitate our whipping ourselves into offended frenzies over things that probably don’t matter much in the long run.   Just this morning, I read an online article by a writer offended that Phil Robertson called some women (on his TV show) “subdivision women.”   The context was a Duck Dynasty competition between city and country girls over who could gig the most frogs.   I watch the show and I think I understand what Phil was saying, yet the writer apparently didn’t and, for whatever reason, found offense with it.

Please.

Please indeed because it’s just another he-said-she-said moment; another instance of something dividing us for no particular reason.   It’s another instance of us being seemingly unable to agree.   Take this story in today’s verses. Jesus is (literally) dragged into this ecclesiastical kangaroo court, where the pre-determined verdict is supposed to be confirmed by real evidence.   Except that’s not how it plays out. When the eyewitnesses begin to recount their stories of hearing Jesus say and do things, they can’t seem to agree.   Then Jesus has the temerity to not say anything about it; oh the horror of an innocent man simply letting His accusers’ words speak for themselves!

It seems to me that the chief priests were ‘totes offended.’   They were looking for a reason to be angry, to find offense with what Jesus said…except they couldn’t. Strip that away and isn’t it pretty similar to what we do in our not so modern world today?   We pre-judge, make up our minds about something and then look around for ways to validate that belief instead of letting the world simply live out, play out as it does?   Strip that even further back and doesn’t that point to a matter of our sinful hearts?

Jesus seemed to think it did.   Perhaps that’s one reason why He didn’t say anything about it. Perhaps that’s one reason why Jesus did the heavy lifting for us of looking beyond our human faults and offering His perfect life and perfect blood in a criminal’s death so that we wouldn’t have to. Perhaps instead of being offended by that, we should humble ourselves in adoration of Him for it.

Perhaps that’s something Phil Robertson might understand differently from ‘the offended.’

Lord, crush my judgments, forgive me the destructive folly of my sins, help me to overcome my sense of being offended, and please always teach me Your better ways.

Read Mark 14, verses 53-65.

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