And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. Mark 15:18-20
This takes me back to Jesus’ teaching of the principle of non-retaliation to affronts against our own dignity. Jesus’ response to the hatred and brutality of the guards is not met so much with the love he espoused, but with a pure acceptance of God’s will and Jesus’ mission in this world. His seemingly passive non-response to them may feel unnatural to us, but it displays the incredible power of the Holy Spirit helping us to fulfill God’s call to us – even at the most excruciatingly testing times. Jesus is the perfect example of following God’s will AND not taking offense at those persecuting him. He was silent before them and neither in these verses or in later verses did he call for revenge from the Father on those who brutalized him. Some may look at this scene and see cowardice. Others, including me, see incredible strength and resolve – in doing something we’d almost give anything not to do. And this is only the beginning. The brutality, humiliation, inhuman treatment, disgrace and scorn will continue for hours to come. For what Christ endured for all that time, the “sacrifice(s)” we make during Lent can never measure up. But our Lenten practices can reflect our efforts/desires to understand and accept God’s will in our lives –without retaliation, second guessing, or placing our own personal desires above His. There couldn’t be a more humbling model and teacher than Jesus.
The Rev. Karen Kaminskas
Saint Mary’s, Ardmore