Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April 26

Judges 6:1-40; Luke 22:54-23:12; Psalm 95:1-96:13; Proverbs 14:5-6

This is the third time we've read the account of Jesus' trial.  Really, though, we're looking at trials in the plural.  Matthew and Mark both tell us of the trial before the high priest and the trial before Pilate.  Luke, however, adds the trial before Herod.  I was struck as I read today by how much strain Jesus had to endure before he ever got to the cross.  Questioning by his own religious leaders, the examination and exoneration by Pilate, and now the intrusive curiosity and mockery of Herod.  (I see both the Pharisees and Herod in our readings from Proverbs today, by the way.)  Jesus "gave him no answer" (Lk. 23:9), though the high priest and associates spoke "vehemently" (vs. 10) against him.  So much strength.  So much suffering.

It's hard then for me to transition to the jubilation of our psalms. "Shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation" (Ps. 95:1); "declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples" (96:3).  I've just walked with Jesus through tremendous psychological distress; it's difficult to feel this kind of praise.  

But as I think about it more, I can reconcile these two extremes.  We're actually seeing the salvation, the marvelous deeds, mentioned in the psalms hundreds of years earlier.  This willing sacrifice on the part of Jesus is what allows us to "come before him with thanksgiving" (95:2), what proves that he "will judge the world in righteousness" (96:13).  Surely such great love, demonstrated by the events leading up to and including the cross, shows that we can trust him.  Surely such mercy calls forth our praise.

"Great King above all gods" (95:3), today as we read of your sacrifice, we praise you for your love.  We cannot help but thank you for the mercy you extend to us over and over.  "[You are] our God, and we are the people of [your] pasture, the flock under [your] care" (95:7).  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

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