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Discomforted by the Silent Christ

• Greg Boyd

Jesus’ silence before his accusers surprised everyone. Rather than defend himself, he suffered unjustly for the sake of the Kingdom of God. By doing this, he demonstrated faith in a higher court that would ultimately judge all.

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Greg made three primary points in response to Jesus’ behavior in Luke 23:1-12.

1. Jesus didn’t take political sides. Even though many of Jesus’ followers were convinced that Jesus was there to overthrow those who oppressed the Jews, Jesus did not encourage or own this point of view. In fact, he clearly communicated that he was going to suffer and die—not conquer and win by force. Just like today, people were energized around national and political interests and tried to drag God and Jesus on to their side in those debates. The Kingdom of God is not of this world and no political party can rightly claim that it is the party of Christianity. All politics are corrupt and Christianity suffers severely from association with any of it. Vote your conscience, but don’t claim Jesus is in your political camp.

2. Jesus came to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world. This means that if we are comfortable in this world, we may be in spiritual danger. We are called to honor, serve and love those that this world neglects. This is not glamorous or comfortable work, but it is our calling. Rest assured, if you suffer much in this world, God’s desire is for your restoration, healing and comfort. But if others suffer because of what you acquire and your life is soft and comfortable you need to know that Christian discipline means being on the lookout for how God wants you to use the blessings you have for the benefit of others.

3. Suffering for the sake of the kingdom. Just as Jesus died unjustly, so Peter and many other followers of Jesus died unjustly for the sake of the Kingdom of God. The witness that they were to the world is unimaginably powerful and contributed much to the growth of the early church. When people see that someone is willing to die for what they believe in, it is a clear testimony that what they envisioned was more important than any other consideration. It demonstrates that this martyr trusts more in God than in life itself. In America it is unlikely that Christians will face persecution that results in martyrdom, but we still have opportunities to choose to suffer for the sake of the gospel so that Christ will be glorified. Consider 1 Peter 2:19-25.

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Topics: Faith, Justice

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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 23:1-12

    Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king."

    So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

    “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

    Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man."

    But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here."

    On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

    When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

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3 thoughts on “Discomforted by the Silent Christ

  1. Teresa says:

    Its one thing to be silent when an outside person gossips or accuses us of something, but when we’re in relationship with others, its important to know the difference between the Spirit’s leading us to be silent (from time to time) and us leading us to ignore the other person by being silent. For example: the “silent treatment” is very DEstructive in relationships. Here’s a link about it: http://www.dovechristiancounseling.com/SilentTreatment.html

  2. Teresa says:

    oops, sorry, I couldn’t edit my comment. I meant to post this link instead of the other one. It’s only an abstract, but if you sign up, you can get the free full article here: http://gpi.sagepub.com/content/1/2/117.abstract

  3. Anonymous says:

    Teresa, I agree. There was a situation in the past year with a friend who refused to answer emails and calls from my husband and I regarding a confrontational letter he wrote to us. This resulted in both sides having assumptions about the other that were untrue due to the lack of communication. It was quite destructive.

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