We could talk about Jesus here. We could talk about him in the past tense and how he was back then. And there’d be so much to say. Interesting things. We could start by talking about how he took a beating. And we could talk all day of it. On more than one occasion He took a really bad beating, quietly and uncombatively. Say things we could about how he took these beatings and how he never--not even once--deserved it. We know of a few of these occasions. There are surely many more. But what else? If we talked about him someone should probably say something about how they mocked and ridiculed him, not just on the cross, but definitely before that also. Of course there were his dozen or so followers and there were the masses that would come together to hear him speak. This would account for one side of the conversation of that day. But what about the stuff Jesus didn’t hear? If we’re going to talk about Jesus someone should probably say something about all the somethings said that no one wrote down, no one confronted, no one noticed, heard, defended or dealt with. No one remembers that stuff but come on, let’s consider: the bitter whispering from the corner of the room, heads off huddled in the distance, cornered glances across the dinner table, the poisonous rumors, words with four letters, with a single finger, behind his back or a closed door. The inaudible, or unrecorded. The unmentioned. The proverbial beatings.

Oh and if we have room, someone could talk about that one time--that moment in the garden. Peter cuts off the aggressor’s ear but Jesus stops him.

Apparently a creative attempt, but not quite what Jesus was looking for from you Peter. Nice try, but it's not the Way.

Jesus puts the guys ear back on.


And then we could talk about Jesus here, now--on the other side of the cross. The beatings over, the bodies buried, risen, and removed from us, Many of the details lost. Charlton Heston’s awards now won. Across the timeline things here are different. Here Jesus materialization is mysterious. Here the unseen counts for much. But yet much remains the same: Here He is still slandered and ridiculed; here the name of Jesus still conjures up just as much compassion as does it contempt. For someone who much of the world considers to be just an historical figure--His name is continually being unearthed, dragged through the dirt and spit on. Jesus is still taking a beating both from his detractors and because of His followers who keep co-opting His name in causes Jesus never endorsed--a different kind of damage.

But think of it. What do we gather from the fact that both then and now--from both sides of the cross--Jesus seems to do nothing in the cause of self-defense? What is He telling us with this? Think some more of it. Think of all the opportunities He was given on earth to stand up and correct the misconceptions about Him. Think of all the times he could have discredited the criticisms against Him. Oh and don’t forget, the Man was an absolutely brilliant philosopher, the most tactical debater in history, an eloquent speaker and a master of the Scriptures. Even in the little we understand contextually of his time we’re coming to learn more and more that his seemingly commonplace words were often completely loaded with wit and saturated in cultural nuance. It’s like with every word He spoke He was actually saying so much more. The Bible is subversive in this way.

Jesus, of course, was a genius.

So why not defend himself? He was capable. He was right to.

If we are to take the teaching of Jesus seriously and if we’re to consider all He did and said, then we must also be considering of those things which He did not do and did not say. If the Bible is half as dangerous a book as is said it is, then there must be a level of danger and risk involved. But what if we’ve confused that danger with some things completely unintended, enacting actions Jesus never dreamed we’d associate with His vision? What would Jesus say to our efforts at defending Him? Would he endorse our incessant protectionism? Is that the Way? What would Jesus think of our physical action taken in self-defense? Would he affirm our rationalizations? When you read the Scriptures do you see a Jesus who encourages His followers to take up arms, fight with fists, or prove we’re right? In all his life and words teach do we ever see even one example to uphold the acrimonious, vitriolic actions we enact in the name of God?

Jesus never asked us to defend him. It’s not the Way. Jesus just put the man’s ear back on.

And He invites us to do the same.

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