“I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.” vs. 6
Those called by God as prophets in Israel weren’t welcomed with open arms. Even though they came teaching and proclaiming the word of the Lord, most of the time they were persecuted and sometimes killed. They didn’t come with weapons or armies and offered little resistance to those who opposed them–and Jesus knew their stories. As a result when his own prophetic ministry brought him into conflict with the religious authorities and occupying forces, he likely wasn’t surprised to be treated in the same fashion. That pattern of non-violent resistance became the model for every new prophet of God who has graced our planet. From Bonhoeffer to Gandhi to King such leaders have taught the truth of God with dignity and patience–they’ve listened before they’ve spoken, and they’ve suffered for their efforts. And through them the world has been changed for the good. While we might not feel the call to prophetic ministry on our journeys, we are all called to embrace non-violence whenever conflict threatens. There’s no room for cut-throat bullying among God’s people–we are the people of peace, mercy, and forgiveness. Nothing is ever gained by wielding a big stick in the presence of those who oppose us. It might sell in Hollywood but it’s certainly not the way of the Christ!
Thought for the Day: How do I respond to insults?