November 20

John 18:33-35

There are some differences in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and crucifixion, but they are in general agreement that the Romans were the ones responsible. John implies that Pilate had some sympathy for Jesus and wonders why charges had been brought. Since Pilate had a reputation for cruelty and had already killed hundreds of Jews, it’s a little hard to believe that he had much compassion for Jesus. But John does make it clear that the religious leaders in Jerusalem were the primary instigators of Jesus’ arrest and trial. Because Jesus had spoken out against temple corruption and had caused considerable controversy, the chief priests had arranged to hand him over to the Romans. Sometimes that’s what happens when people of faith stand up for truth and justice in the face of political and national corruption. Too often it’s implied that followers of Jesus should just bite their tongues and be nice when ugly things are happening in their communities. We’ve bought the lie that religion and politics are off limits for civil conversation. Jesus didn’t shy away from confrontation and ultimately that conviction to speak the truth meant his death. That doesn’t mean we should deliberately seek confrontation in our relationships with others–most often kindness and gentleness are our best weapons–but sometimes we just can’t remain silent!

Thought for the Day: When is silence no longer an option for me?

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