Who spoke for Jesus?
30 March 2018
On this day above all others, words are inadequate.
And yet God gives us the power of speech. So often we speak too often. “When words are abundant sin is not absent” (Prov 10:19). Sometimes, however, we don’t speak when we should.
We know well that Peter and the other Apostles failed to speak, or lied when tested on this Good Friday. We can understand why – each was in clear and present danger. But what of those others who didn’t speak when they should have?
Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent and was aware of the reasons why Jesus had been brought before him. Pilate’s excuse was the more distant fear of Imperial disapproval.
Nicodemus knew. Apparently, at least he and Joseph of Arimathea of the Sanhedrin members protested but not enough. They were secret disciples “because of fear.”
The Centurion and who knows how many others of the guard knew. “Surely this man was the Son of God.” Did the Centurion only realise that after Jesus’ death? Just obeying orders.
As far as we know only one person clearly, unambiguously spoke – one of the thieves and he from a position of having nothing to lose. That being said the grace of God that animated the criminal’s speech guaranteed his salvation.
So, did anyone speak?
Yes, many, millions. A few years ago, some Egyptian Coptic Christians captured by ISIS in Libya did. Denying Jesus would guarantee release. Instead, each spoke from their places of execution. At the time of writing, a teenage girl, Leah Sharibu, in Nigeria has been offered freedom from a living death if she denies Him. She refuses to speak the words of renunciation. By their actions these men and women – silently in some cases – Speak.
In the Paradiso, part of Dante’s great mystical work the Divine Comedy, the poet ultimately finds himself in the holiest height of heaven and gazes upon the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Spirit are silent although all of Creation sings around them. In Dante’s imagination, the Godhead need not speak. Everything needed to be said was said at Calvary.
Jesus of course still speaks to us and for us before the Father, and some, at immense cost, speak up for and of Him. On this day of all days may He grant us the grace to speak for Him now that we sing before Him in Eternity.
Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.