Thou hast suffered men to bruise Thee,
That from pain I might be free;
Falsely did Thy foes accuse Thee:
Thence I gain security;
Comfortless Thy soul did languish
Me to comfort in my anguish.
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus, unto Thee.
LSB 420 st. 5
“Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death.’ Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him.”
It’s difficult to stand by and watch injustice happen. There are painful sights that wrench our gut with compassion; sights that make our blood boil with anger. Yet while it’s difficult to watch others suffer, it’s just as hard for us to sit quietly when we ourselves are unjustly attacked. Our instinct is to strike back and exact our vengeance.
Matthew describes the perfect picture of an innocent man suffering at the hands of the unjust. Jesus endures the shameful sting of the slap, spit in his face, and the pain of merciless beating. Yet as provoking and undeserved as the attack is, Jesus endures it with patience and silence. The hymn writer voices why: Jesus suffers painful beatings so that we might be free from pain; Jesus suffers false accusations so that we might stand free from accusation. In this season of Lent, let us imitate Jesus as we patiently endure trials, trusting that all is in the hands of our heavenly Father.
Let us pray: Merciful Father, You sent Your Son as a lamb to the slaughter, and yet He remained silent. Grant us strength to be long-suffering in times of trial, so that we may learn to rely wholly on your will and word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Martin Hill, Sem II)