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 26:66b-68, Common English Bible)?
These guys are supposed to be the religious elite of their day in Hebrew society. They were the guys who strived to live by the letter of the law. They knew every aspect of the law, tried to follow it but even more than that, they expected everyone else to follow it, even in parts of the law where they themselves fall short.
Then there is this lesson. Well, this lesson and much of this chapter. In yesterday’s lesson, they were willing to accept lies as testimony that testimony meant being able to convict Jesus, get him executed and out of their hair.
When I read this lesson, particularly the part that says, “They hit him and said, “Prophesy for us, Christ! Who hit you,” my immediate thought was “How childish.”
As I continued to ponder the lesson my mind went back to Saturday mornings when I was little. At least on occasion, my sister and I would run into my parent’s bedroom early on Saturday morning, probably earlier than they would have liked, for a bit of fun and laughter and my dad would tickle us. As part of the fun, my dad would grab me by the wrist and lightly slap my thigh with my own hand. He would ask, “Why are you hitting yourself?” Of course, I wasn’t. He was using my hand to “hit” me. I remember playing the same game with my kids when they were small.
That is where the “High Council” has sunk, playing childlike games, childish games with a man they wanted to be executed and were not going to rest until it could be so.
I never considered my dad’s game bullying. I never felt as though I was bullying my boys (in fairness, they may have seen it differently). I didn’t consider that “game” bullying. Perhaps it was because I was never bullied as a kid. The first time I was challenged to think about that was while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory when Leonard is talking about his high school bully. He says, “Yes I know why I was hitting myself.”
My mind when back to that old episode of Big Bang Theory as I was thinking about this lesson. The Pharisees were not only being childish, they are being bullies. They hit a man who could not defend himself. I think that is the definition of a bully.
To me, this part of this chapter serves as a great reminder. When we have the upper hand, it is pretty easy for us to sink into childish behavior. Perhaps it is even easier to become a bully. Neither is what Jesus calls us to do.
We are supposed to be about love. We are called to live. Childishness and bullying just don’t fit the bill.
Have a great day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved