Start With a Period Of Silence. Pray for the Spirit’s guidance in discovering your heart’s deepest desire.
Reading: John 18-19
Reflection: Today’s reading is rather long, but it invites us into an extended reflection on the suffering of Christ. We know the story so well, that it’s easy to miss the drama and power of Jesus’ sacrifice. The writer of John’s Gospel goes to great lengths to show the difference between Jesus’ behaviour and those of the priests, the soldiers, the political leaders and his disciples. All of the people around Jesus followed the course of expediency, self-protection, and accusation. Only Jesus acted with complete integrity, self-giving and forgiveness. The account of Jesus’ death reveals very clearly what happens when we allow our worst selves to drive us. When we give in to fear and power games we inevitably scapegoat others and project on to them all the darkness we don’t want to face within our own hearts. This is what was done to Jesus.
But, Jesus showed a different way to live. He did not allow fear to rule him, and he refused to play the power games of his opponents. Rather, he absorbed all the evil they threw at him and then responded in compassion, love and forgiveness. This is not an easy way to live, but it is the only way to find peace, justice and freedom for everyone. The challenge is for us to learn to live this way in our own lives. How does the sacrificial death of Jesus challenge you today?
Practice for Today: It is almost impossible to read the account of Jesus’ passion without recognising our own worst selves in those who rejected, denied or condemned him. It is also hard to witness Jesus’ response to his accusers without feeling challenged to live with the same grace and love. Today, take time to read through the passion narrative again and allow God’s Spirit to speak to you about how you can take up your own cross and follow the gracious way of Christ.
Prayer for Today: As I witness your suffering, Jesus, teach me to live with grace and love as you did.