Monday, March 30, 2015

False Accusations...

In my lifetime, I've been accused. 

In some instances, rightly accused, for I am very flawed. 

In others, quite unjustly--and it was infuriating.

Have you ever been accused of something you did not do? If you're at all like me, it was painful, demoralizing, disheartening, confusing and possibly enraging.

This morning, after reading the 23rd chapter of Luke, I am imagining how Jesus must have felt when he was falsely accused before Pilate (the crowds said he opposed payment of taxes to Caesar which was completely untrue [Mark 12:17] among other things). 

The only words spoken by Jesus in response to the angry crowd's accusations were acknowledgment that his claim to be king of the Jews was true.

Pilate, finding no valid basis for the charges, had Jesus sent to Herod. We're told that Herod was greatly pleased and hoped to see Jesus perform some kind of miracle. Verse 9 tells us that he plied him with many questions, yet Jesus gave him no answer.

All morning I've imagined standing in His place hearing the angry barrage of noisy lies shouted by a caterwauling crowd, and try as I might, I'm incapable of fathoming the pain and sorrow this had to invoke.

Knowing His innocence, coupled with the fact that His purpose on earth was the salvation of this very crowd's eternal souls must have been torture the likes of which few humans ever experience.

We've read accounts of men (or women) falsely accused, imprisoned and worse for crimes they didn't commit, and we weep in sadness at the injustice.

But is this story of Jesus, told and retold throughout the ages, possibly so familiar that we fail to weep for His sorrow? 

I've been guilty of casually marking the events surrounding the days leading up to Easter with levity and forgetfulness. But today--this week--my prayer is fervent and my hope is great that I will remember with sober, conscious awareness the terrible price He paid for me.

As the crowds demanded the death of the only innocent man who has ever walked the face of earth, I think of the prisoner who was released in his place. That man, Barabbas, was a murderer, imprisoned for insurrection. 

Barabbas is me. Barabbas is you, too, maybe. Because Jesus did not defend himself when falsely accused, we can enjoy undeserved, unearned freedom and pardon. He did not call down the legion of angels who would and could have rescued Him in that moment, submitting himself to death on the cross in my place. In your place, too.

No words are adequate to express proper gratitude to the One who paid the price I owe. Grace. Mercy. Provision. Humility. Sacrifice. Love. Salvation. AMAZING. Thank you Jesus!

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