Blessed… Beaten and Bloody

Well, things have settled back to a point following Hurricane Harvey that I feel it is time to get back to the blog. We have only a chapter and half remaining in this series. I am going to do my best to finish Matthew without any further interruptions.

27 The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s house, and they gathered the whole company[b] of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a red military coat on him. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand. Then they bowed down in front of him and mocked him, saying, “Hey! King of the Jews!” 30 After they spit on him, they took the stick and struck his head again and again. 31 When they finished mocking him, they stripped him of the military coat and put his own clothes back on him. They led him away to crucify him (Matthew 27:27-31, Common English Bible).

I can honestly say, I have never really taken a beating in my life. When I was a kid I was in fights from time to time, most of which I got my tail beat and my nose bloodied but they really weren’t true beatings.

For me, as an adult, I don’t remember ever being in a fight. That isn’t to say I never came close, I have, more than once. As a result, I don’t know what it is like to truly be beaten, to have someone really beat on me.

I have also never really been a fan of fighting as a spectator sport. I will watch boxing and wrestling, along with some of the martial arts during the Olympics. I will watch movies about fighters. I have seen all the Rocky movies, however many there might be, I’ve lost track.

I have never really understood why people find entertainment value in watching two people beat each other to a pulp. I also have a great deal of trouble reconciling fighting (as a sport) with being a servant of the Prince of Peace. If you can, and I have a couple of friends who say they can, more power to you, it just doesn’t fit for me.

I guess it also goes hand in hand with our lesson today. I have a difficult time understanding how humans can treat one another the way the soldiers and the governor treated Jesus in today’s lesson. I know people have beat each other, with fists, with whips, with sticks and swords and knives and more probably for as long as people have inhabited the planet. Just because they have done it, does not mean I understand it.

When you add Jesus’ divinity to the story, it becomes even more difficult to understand. Then when I think, “Keith, that isn’t something just the Romans did. It isn’t something just the Jews did. It isn’t even something the Romans and the Jews did together. They played a part. Of that, there is no question. But what is equally true is, I had a hand it too. And, so did you.

But what is equally true, what I don’t want to believe is, I had a hand it too. And, so did you. Every human who has been walking the earth during the past 2000 years had a hand in beating Jesus, just like the Romans, just like the Jews, just like me, and just like you.

You and I beat down Jesus every time we beat down another person with our fists or with our words. We beat down Jesus whenever we see or know of a person who is being beaten down and we do nothing. We have already talked about these words of Jesus, “For as you have done it to one of the least of these, you have done it to me.”

The Good News is, as we shall slowly see over the next few days, Jesus stuck with the plan. He saw it through. Because he did, we have grace, we have forgiveness, we have life. Praise be to God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

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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