Perform for Me, Jesus – Just a Trick or Two

travel-252945_640Are you one of those people who can always figure out “who-done-it” before the end of the movie/book/TV show?

Are you easily bored, always looking for a challenge?
One of the things that keeps me coming back to know Jesus more is that I can’t figure Him out. He’s always  light years ahead of me.
If I’d lived in Roman times, I imagine I would have been attracted to His preaching and teaching. His miracles would definitely have caught my attention and I’d have become a follower.
 But after I while, I think Jesus would have driven me crazy with His decisions. He didn’t react to situations like a normal person would (normal, of course, being defined as like those of us who operate inside the matrix of a fallen nature).
If Jesus walked around with us now, it would seem to people as if He was getting instructions through some hidden earpiece like a secret service agent or a spy.  He reacted to situations in a completely unexpected way and it kept even the people closest to Him off kilter.
Have you ever seen the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark? Indiana is encountering challenges like giant spiders, booby traps, and dead bodies but reacting as though he’s on a leisurely stroll down Main Street. That’s like Jesus.
I’m more like the guy who came along to guide Indiana, the one who’s screaming, slapping at the giant spiders, crying through the booby traps, and freaking out at the dead bodies. Indiana Jones seems to be completely internally driven, operating from an entirely different dashboard than all of those around him.
Like Jesus.
In my car today, I was listening to Luke 23 on CD. It’s a scene I’ve read often – Jesus appearing before Pilate and Herod.
Listening to it today, I was struck by this passage:
“When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.  The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.  Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.  That day Herod and Pilate became friends —before this they had been enemies.” Luke 23:8-12
If any other normal human stood before a man in power who was practically salivating to be impressed, that normal human would present a defense or pull out a miracle or do something to portray themselves in the best light.
Jesus says nothing.
Hey, there, Holy Man! I’ve been hoping to get some time with you. I’ve heard about the things you do and I’m sooooo eager to see them firsthand. How about it? Show me a little of that magic that you do.  Perform for me now – just a trick or maybe two. What’s all the buzz about? I hold your life in my hands, don’t you know, so impress me on command. You don’t seem to understand your situation, my position, my power.
The Jewish leaders shout out false accusations against Him. Recite trumped up charges and manufactured offenses.
Herod, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, soldiers, gawkers, all standing around just waiting.
Jesus takes a beat.
He does nothing.
I wonder if He was thinking about His cousin, John.
Staring at the man who ordered John beheaded at the whim of his adulterous lover’s dancing daughter, just thinking, waiting, listening – perhaps – to His Father’s voice.
Jesus said nothing.
Like a well-timed rest just before the crescendo of a musical score.
He had the power to turn water into wine,  to heal, to cast out demons, to walk on water, to raise people from the dead. He was innocent of all charges. He could call out legions of angels to come to His aid.
Instead, He pushes the mute button and the heavenly host held their breath.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
Herod and Pilate had been enemies before Jesus came along. After this, they became friends.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Evil forces unite when they confront the power of light. Pilate wanted peace and quiet and an easy way out. Herod wanted a trick pony.
They got what they deserved.
He doesn’t do what we expect. He doesn’t perform at our command. He doesn’t aim to meet our expectations or prove Himself to anyone.
He does what His Father tells Him to do. He listens to the Father and He obeys. He does what needs to be done. He does what is right. He says what is true. He loves in a way that redefines the word – reclaims it for the One who Is Love.
And when He stands before a pompous power demanding proofs and signs . . .
He is silent.
His miracles are not for amusing spoiled tyrants.
Poor widows with no influence saw His best work and He spilled the secrets of His kingdom to carpenters and whores.
But before Herod He was silent.
Two thousand years later, I can still hear that silence and it speaks to me of power beyond what this world knows.
From that silence I draw strength.
From that silence I am instructed.
From that silence I know Jesus better and love Him more.
Can you hear it, too?

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    The Conversation

  1. Carol says:

    This made me breathless. I didn’t want to breathe and disturb the silence…

  2. Anonymous says:

    There’s a scene in Jesus Christ, Superstar where Jesus is challenged to show his power, “If you are the Christ, the great Jesus Christ, walk across my swimming pool. Prove to me that you’re no fool.” And the actor portraying Christ simply stands there. Silent. It’s a wonderful reminder that Christ’s silence speaks so much better than all our words and promises (that get broken). Great blog. MOMMA