He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:7 NASB
When you think about a lamb being led to slaughter, what imagery comes to mind? Do you think of a strong king, or a powerless animal? When we read the passion story, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of suffering Jesus endured and mistakenly think he was powerless. But never mistake Jesus’ sacrifice as a sign of weakness; in fact, quite the contrary is true. It takes an incredible amount of strength to follow through with commitment when suffering is involved. In speaking about his life, Jesus made this statement:
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:18 NIV
Our world operates under a “survival of the fittest,” mentality. We deem successful those who have what it takes to climb the cooperate ladder. But Jesus demonstrated ultimate strength when he willingly allowed man to spit on him, beat him and publicly humiliate him. He did not allow the circumstances to derail his commitment to walk in obedience to the plan of the Father. He stayed the course despite the pain. That takes strength most of us could only dream of!
The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; and he entered into the Praetorium again and *said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above. John 19:7-11a NASB
Jesus understood the spiritual significance of the moment. He was confident and committed. Satan had no chance of tripping him up. He felt no need to defend himself. I can’t count the number of times I’ve blown it spiritually because of something someone said. Satan is very quick to trip us up! At any time during the crucifixion, Jesus could have wiped out his accusers, but he chose instead to remain silent. Oh to have the strength and confidence of Jesus!
Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” Matthew 26:53-54 NIV
Never fall into the trap of feeling sorry for Jesus. Recognize the incredible amount of suffering he subjected himself to, out of love for you and I, and be grateful. Give him the respect and admiration he deserves, and work hard to develop the same strength he demonstrated.
And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Luke 23:27-28 NASB
We are the weak ones. We are the ones who cave in to Satan’s attacks and lose focus at the first sign of suffering. If we are to pity anyone, we should pity ourselves. Jesus is the strongest man I know!