Blessed… They Spat in His Face

The high priest said, “By the living God, I demand that you tell us whether you are the Christ, God’s Son.”

64 “You said it,” Jesus replied. “But I say to you that from now on you’ll see the Human One[g] sitting on the right side of the Almighty and coming on the heavenly clouds.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He’s insulting God! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, you’ve heard his insult against God. 66 What do you think?”

And they answered, “He deserves to die!” 67 Then they spit in his face and beat him. They hit him 68 and said, “Prophesy for us, Christ! Who hit you?” (Matthew 26:63b-68, Common English Bible).

When I started thinking about this post and I read the words “Then they spit in his face…” and my initial thought was, “I will use a picture of one of the Pharisees spitting in Jesus’ face.” I couldn’t find one. As you will understand when you read the next paragraph, I am glad I didn’t find one.

Then I thought, I will just use a picture of someone being literally spat upon. That I did find. I decided against that because, after finding several pictures online, they were all disgusting. I would imagine that is the point. I couldn’t bring myself to use such an awful picture.

How much must one human being hate another in order to literally spit on someone created in the image of God? I do understand that not everyone is a believer in Jesus or even in God. But, in the case of today’s lesson we are talking about people who at least liked to claim that they were faithful. These were the people who were at least trying to do it right. They were attempting to live by the letter of the law. They were trying hard to be faithful, And, they were failing miserably.

The Pharisees and members of the high council would have known that humans, all humans, are created in the image of God. They would also know of “The Great Shema of the Torah – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” They also knew that other law, you know the one that was like “The Great Shema of the Torah.” It is that one that implores us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This wasn’t a suggestion. The Pharisees of all people would have known this to be a commandment (not one of the ten) and therefore something they should strive live. As people who wanted to live by the letter of the law, they sure missed on this one.

I remember a few years ago when the Sadaam Husein regime fell a few years ago and locals were running wild, tearing down anything they could find that even suggested praise of the tyrannical dictator. I remember seeing people stopping at a statue of the late dictator and removing their shoes and used the shoe to give the dictator a beating.

What I learned from that is, beating someone with your shoe is the ultimate disrespect in Iraq. Receiving someone’s shoe is a high insult, just about the highest of insults. Spitting in someone’s face is probably a close comparison.

It just serves to remind me, when we show someone the ultimate disrespect, we certainly are not acting in a way of love. When we miss the mark on love of neighbor, John reminds us that we can’t love God and not love God’s creation. And, when we spit in the face of a neighbor or otherwise disprespect them, we are also disrespecting God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved



Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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