4 July 2012Luke 22:63-71
"Jesus replied, 'If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer.'" (vv. 67-68)
Within the Gospel of Luke's account of the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus it is often the violence of Jesus' guards at this point that trouble us most. Placed in a position of authority, they pour out their contempt for Jesus in the form of violence and abusive language (verses 63-65). Yet the conversation which follows (verses 66-71) no less disturbing, for here we see intolerance and abuse again but cloaked this time under a veil of academic knowledge and religious authority.
Of all that Jesus has been quoted as saying, the religious leaders are most disturbed by the claim that he is the "Son of God" (v. 70) - the long awaited, Messiah who, it is believed, will rescue his people bringing hope and peace. As religious leaders, this claim should intrigue and excite them. We would expect to see them question Jesus enthusiastically, and debate the impact his arrival will have on their faith and their worship. Instead we find a group of educated and allegedly spiritual people so set in their beliefs that they will not even entertain the possibility that Jesus may be exactly what they have been waiting for. Jesus' statement, "If I tell you, you will not believe" underlines their lack of faith and enrages them even further.
Jesus' interrogators bring all of their intellect and religious conviction to bear on the conversation, but they still miss the astonishing truth about the man who is before them. They are quick to assume he is a fraud and lack the humility to listen as he talks. As a result they miss what could have been the most spiritually enriching experience of their lives and choose instead to destroy what they do not understand.
- How can we be more open to God's presence in our lives?
- How best can we stand by our religious convictions whilst engaging with and considering other ideas?
- What can we do to stand against intolerance at an institutional level as well as the prejudice we encounter in day to day life?