So they arrested Jesus, took him off, and brought him into the high priest’s house…The men who were holding Jesus began to make fun of him and knock him about. They blindfolded him. “Prophesy!,” they told him. “Who is it that’s hitting you?” And they said many other scandalous things to him.
When the day broke, the official assembly of the people, the chief priests and the scribes came together, and they took him off to their council. “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”
“If I tell you,” he said to them, “you won’t believe me. And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer me. But from now on the son of man will be seated at the right hand of God’s power.”
“So you’re the son of God, are you?,” they said.
“You say that I am,” he said to them.
“Why do we need any more witnesses?,” they said. “We’ve heard it ourselves, from his own mouth!”-Luke 22: 54, 63-71
The chief priests and the scribes knew about God’s truth and justice– so much so that they saw themselves as mediators of that truth and justice for the rest of the world.
But it’s dangerous hubris to set ourselves up to be God’s mouthpiece. We end up putting things into God’s mouth that God never actually said. We end up twisting truth and justice into pale, diabolical versions of themselves.
Maybe it’s this kind of thing that can cause even the best of people to mislead themselves into thinking that torture in the name of justice- be it “just war” or the pursuit of truth- is not only okay but commendable. Maybe this explains the fact that our nation of America, which still describes itself overwhelmingly as “Christian,” could condone the practice of water boarding in its interrogation methods. When we think God is on our side, we can get away with rationalizing a whole lot of things.
The good news in all of this is that Jesus thankfully doesn’t allow Himself to be coerced. God’s living, breathing, walking Justice- God’s “Truth”- is also very much in full ownership of Himself. He won’t let us actually define who He is, even as He won’t force Himself on us. He won’t let us torture Him into unconditional submission, even as He lets us breathe threats down His neck, taunt Him and eventually crucify Him.
Love Itself requires this of Jesus. Love and Love alone- not the handcuffs we place on Jesus- is what ultimately binds Him to the cross.