Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Insults

Invitation to Prayer
To have a carefully tested theology is good, but it’s not the same thing as knowing God. Too often theology ends shy of love, worship, service. Too often it gets stuck in smugness, dryness, rigidity. Too often it is as impersonal as calculus. Too often it is mere words. Jesus’ apostles were pretty much doctrinal flunkies, blunder-prone, befuddled, cotton-mouthed with folly. Meanwhile demons almost always showed themselves to be astute theologians (Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild, 29).

The Psalm (Psalm 20:1-5)
May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings. Selah

4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.

The Scripture Reading (Luke 22:63-65)
The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?" And they said many other insulting things to him.

For Reflection
The essence of an insult is the way it demeans and belittles. The true prophetic identity of Jesus became a childish blindfold game, violent and vulgar amusement for the guards. We’d never be involved in something like that – but Jesus can be demeaned in respectable ways as well in ways that openly mock and ridicule. Anything that makes Jesus less than he is may rightly be regarded as an insult. Calling him anything other than Lord could be a form of mocking.

How do people today mock Jesus?

Closing Prayer
Without malice or intention I often belittle you, Lord Jesus. I live hurried and self-obsessed, and in my frenetic living you become small: religious window dressing on my life. Forgive these insults, and help me to live on bended knees, worshiping you as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen.

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