July 14, 2005

Truth to Power

MAIN POINT The most striking element of this passage to me is that Jesus was humble and honest – that he spoke his truth even in the presence of authority who would abuse him, or as Friends would say, Jesus spoke “truth to power”.

NEW LIGHT I have read that if one spoke of evil, it should be spoken in secret. Therefore, it could be that Jesus is saying that nothing he has spoken or taught was evil in nature – he said nothing in secret.

Also, when the police struck Jesus, he displayed his true non-aggressive character with humility and sincerity. Jesus asks for a specific testimony to what might have been wrong, and to carefully evaluate this aggressive response to his testimony. This is a skillful model of a dignified response to an humiliating situation.

TRUTH Jesus does not hide his truth, and he declares his own sense of justice without incrimation. It is true for me that this approach is ideal, but unfortunately I am not skillful in executing it. I would likely fall silent and numb in such a situation.

IMPLICATIONS In this passage I don’t focus on the unfairness of the trial as much as I do on Jesus’ response to it. So much in this human life does seem unfair, the logical focus must be on the response. Jesus appeals to the higher consciousness of the authorities. How can we, by our response to injustice, behave in the most compelling and honest manner, elevating the consciousness of all who may witness?


At 5:17 a.m., Blogger david said...

Jesus response to authority really does seem very much like Gandhi and otehr non-violence practitioners here doesn't it.

I tend to associate that Jesus with the sermon on the mount but it is here too when I look for it (but i didn't until you said so).

At 1:26 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

Yes, Jesus gave the most perfect example of how to respond to the terrible assault on his dignity, supposedly expressing power.

Actually Jesus was the one who expressed power. He was troubled with no guilt, and his "perfect love cast out fear" (1st John 4:18).

His response to unprovoked evil was surely an inspiration to Gandhi and MLK, and many other Christians who reacted appropriately to similar circumstances, for example the primitive Christians who went happily to face the lions in the Roman circus.

At 5:29 a.m., Blogger david said...

Hello Larry:

Ran into a question thought you could answer. When the Hebrew bible says LORD God instead of just God its translating a different word and I acn't for the life of me recall the difference. Do you recall?

At 9:21 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

David, I'm certainly no authority on it, but I found this in wikipedia: * YHWH as "The Lord"
* Elohim as "God"
* Adonay YHWH and Adonay Elohim as "Lord God"
* kurios ho theos as "Lord God" (in the New Testament)

As you probably recall YHWH was the earlier designation, while Elohim came in presumably with the Northern Kingdom, some of whom wanted to distance themselves from the Judean God.

I'm sure there have been other intonations and inferences presented by other people at other times.

Gotta run.

At 1:24 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi Meredith :-).

I like your point about our response to situations - we can't always (ever?) control what happens to us but our response to it is within our control.


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