Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Silent Lamb

Matthew 27:11-12
(11)  Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You have said so."
(12)  But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer.

(11)  Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐστάθη ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ ἡγεμόνος· καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ ἡγεμὼν λέγων, Σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη, Σὺ λέγεις. 
(12)  καὶ ἐν τῷ κατηγορεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο.

We're getting to the rough patch of Matthew's gospel.  I never like reading the passion accounts.  Of course, it fills me with hope to know that Jesus went through all of this.  It had to happen to satisfy God's righteous wrath.  However, I still don't enjoy reading it.

I find it interesting in verse 11 that it reads, "ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη, Σὺ λέγεις".  Throughout the Gospel whenever Jesus responded to people we had a very common structure like, "ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς" in Mat 24:2.  The literal translation of that structure is something like, "he answered and said."  Here instead of εἶπεν we find ἔφη.  The latter word can also mean "to declare."  I've got to think that there was more than a stylistic reason to change this structure.  It could have just as easily been "Jesus answered and said."

You will notice that the ESV translates this as "Jesus said."  That is certainly valid.  However, I also wonder if maybe there is a bit more here.  Maybe it's more than simply "saying" and should in fact have more of a sense of "declaring."  Of course, given the situation I don't picture Jesus being particularly bombastic about this.  After all, He had just finished with the Jews' mockery of a trial.  He sat through that, so why would we suddenly get all dramatic now?  Or, to look at it another way, why not get all dramatic and make some bold statements?

Jesus always had the OT prophecies in mind.  In this case:

Isaiah 53:7
(7)  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

This would be very hard to take were we not to have Revelation to look at.  We see how it is all going to end up.  Jesus was certainly meek and mild in His humiliation and death.  Given that He was willing to go through that, what do you do with Him?  Do you ignore this and just use His ministry as a good example to follow?  Or do you realize the depth of your sin and the vital need for this sacrifice to atone for it?  My prayer is the latter.

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