Muzzling the truth

Mark 15:1 records an interesting event in the final hours of the life of Jesus. The Jewish leaders have been trying to falsely accuse Him for some time before their Sanhedrin, yet they have nothing legally with which to charge Him. So when they decide to turn Jesus and their trumped up charges against Him over to Pilate the governor, they tie Him up before they deliver Him over. Why tie up a man who until this point was innocent?

The Jewish leaders were desperate to silence the truth. Time and again through the gospel accounts Jesus was asked to show a sign to prove who He was, yet in most of the cases He had just completed an incredible miracle in the presence of those now challenging Him. You get the sense very quickly that enough would never be enough for the skeptics and doubters.

Our story could lend itself to a modern interpretation in at least a couple of ways. First, we all know that there are efforts out there to silence the faith that Christ Himself died to establish. Government has intervened to make what used to be common now almost criminal. Christians all over get bent out of shape because "In God We Trust" has been removed from government buildings in what has become a sometimes ugly clash of agendas. Maybe that's what this passage is demonstrating for us, an almost cryptic foreshadowing of future events.

But maybe it runs deer than that. You see, those in this passage in Mark who desperately wanted to silence Jesus weren't agnostics or self-proclaimed atheists with an axe to grind. Instead, they were religious people who wanted Him dead. Better still, they were the religious leaders of the flock of Israel that wanted His voice silenced forever. By tying Him up they thought they could forcefully negate the ministry of Jesus that was now sprinkled all throughout Palestine.

Isn't the church itself, the very institution that Jesus died to establish, the most guilty of trying to silence Him today? I don't mean that we intentionally try to suppress the gospel message but rather by our own inconsistencies we often make His truths unsharable. Consider the anger that boils over when ideas over worship and style clash together. What of the hurtful words that rein down over those who dare to dream of reaching out to those who don't know how to behave or dress in "God's house." How about the many new churches that have formed as a reaction against stuffy and intolerant ideology that permeates this precious bride of Christ.

Skeptics will always hurl missiles of doubt and mockery at the church and its theology. But how they must sit back with sheer joy as Christ's church does a far better job of muzzling His truth by their self-seeking and hateful attitudes toward each other and those not like them. Self-inflicted wounds are often the ones that damage the most.

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