Our family watched the Passion of the Christ last night. It was the first time Ivy and Ellie had seen it. So graphic, so violent, so wicked – it’s very difficult to keep my eyes open and visually experience the torture Christ endured. With tears streaming down my face, I found myself murmuring over and over, “I’m so sorry, Lord. I’m so sorry.” My sin caused this, His pain. His agony was necessary to redeem my soul. It’s beyond my understanding. How did He restrain Himself? How did He keep from wiping out His accusers, those who bore false witness against Him, those who struck Him, spit upon Him, beat and whipped Him and eventually nailed Him to the cross?
Isaiah says that, “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” Just think, if He had opened His mouth. That same voice that spoke the worlds into being, that brought life from nothing, that same powerful mouth remained silent. When Jesus speaks, His words create. No idle word ever proceeds from His lips. His words do not return void. Surely He kept silent in that moment for you and for me. Any phrase or syllable He may have uttered would have sprung to life. And don’t you know, that tempted in every way just as we are, He must have been prodded by satan to retaliate. To set them straight. To put them in their place. To stop the brutality. But He remained silent.
In the garden, Jesus is arrested and all of the disciples scatter. They flee for their lives. They run from the One who is Life in a fearful, futile attempt to save their own necks, to protect a temporary body that will one day surely die.
Just hours before, during the Passover supper, Jesus said to these men, “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials” (Luke 22:28). Did He not know they would desert Him at His hour of greatest need? Yes, He knew. In that same passage in Luke, just three verses after Jesus makes that statement, He warns Peter of satan’s desire to sift him like wheat – a reference to Peter’s denials before the rooster crowed. Even in their failings He remained faithful. Jesus looked at His followers and saw them for who they would become because of His death. They were destined to be men of courage, world-changers, ambassadors for God’s glory, but Christ’s death had to come first.
Jesus death, His sacrifice, His payment, changed everything! Thank You, Jesus, for enduring the cross and despising its shame. Thank You for humbling Yourself and becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Thank You for remaining silent in that moment. Thank You for dying so we might live!