“What the heck?! This is a really weird picture.”
I’m pretty sure that’s what every one of you thought when you scrolled by this. And you’d be totally right. I’m wearing a crown of thorns, for crying out loud. That’s weird. That’s really weird. It’s so weird I almost didn’t post it. But if you’re reading this, then it worked. It got you to stop scrolling for a minute, to click, and start reading.... Please KEEP reading until the END so I can explain this picture fully.
This picture illustrates something that came to mind this morning in prayer: Jesus’ crowning with thorns (Mt 27:2731, John 19:2-5, and Mark 15:16-20). God laid it on my heart that this is one of the most important Scriptures for us right now, during these times.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Bible says that after Jesus was whipped, a battalion of soldiers took Him into the praetorium. They put a purple cloak and crown of thorns on Jesus. They pressed the thorns into His skull. They spit on Him and punched Him. They put a reed in His Hand and mocked Him. They knelt, bowed, and yelled, “Hail, king of the Jews.”
And Jesus said nothing. Nothing. Not a single word.
This was to fulfill the prophecy about Him recorded in Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep, before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
But WHY??? I mean, as Christians we know the truth, that Jesus is God. And as God, He had the power at that moment to end it. With one word — one syllable of one word — He could have revealed His true identity to those mocking Him and put them in their place. It would have been a moment of power, victory, and glory.
But He didn’t. He remained quiet. Because of that, He is painted as a “victim” in this story, instead of a “victor.”
He was massively outnumbered and He was “on their turf” so to speak (the praetorium was the private residence of an official.) Not only that, there was an air of justice permeating the scene. The soldiers were excessively cruel because they felt it was their job to do so. They were soldiers—the law—who truly believed Jesus was a nut. So they felt justified in punishing Him.
On the surface, Jesus’ silence could look like weakness and defeat. I’m guessing that’s how the soldiers saw it. But it’s not. Rather, His silence reveals His strength and His wisdom. Strength of body because of what He endured at their hands. Strength of mind and spirit because He remained in total control of His emotions. He was not reactive; He was calculated. He willingly allowed them to continue, instead of exercising His deific power and calling down fire from Heaven.
He does this because of wisdom. He knew God the Father had a plan. He knew the plan was not to unfold privately in a praetorium but publicly on a cross. He knew rising from the dead was more glorious than putting down soldiers.
He also knew they were in no place to hear Him, even if He did speak. And this is important. Jesus understood that their hearts were closed, and there was no truth in them. He knew His words would fall on deaf ears.
So, like a perfect leader, He exercised great discernment, trust, confidence, and faith. He let them throw their little temper tantrum, knowing full well that God’s glorious plan would soon be realized.
Now, what does all this have to do with us??
Every single dang day, the followers of Jesus find themselves in the modern-day praetorium of social media... a not-so-private gathering space owned and run and monitored by an anti-Jesus “law of the land.” A place where battalions of unbelievers and cynics feel a sort of “power in numbers.” So, oftentimes, they prod and mock and attack the truth and core of our identity—our faith in Jesus.
The battalion feels justified in their cruelty. It’s their job, they think....their “duty” to set the world straight, and to silence the Christian “nuts.”
And what is our response?
Often, we retaliate. We do the exact opposite of Jesus. Instead of “opening NOT our mouths,” we start crafting a comeback. But friends, the battle is not won by participating in cruelty.
Cruelty has a very specific purpose, a one-track mind. It is looking for a fight, not the truth. In fact, it is completely closed to the truth. Cruelty cannot hear or see or understand. Therefore you will never, EVER, convince cruelty of anything with your words. Not even God’s word.
So hitting “comment” is useless. Retaliating is useless. Fighting fire with fire is useless.
Am I saying we are never to speak of Jesus? Of course not. You guys know me waaaay better than that. 😉 I’m wearing a dang crown of thorns for goodness sakes. I’ve lost family and lifelong friends who have unfriended me because of my posts. I’m NOT saying hide your faith. No sir.
I’m saying there’s a difference between “scattering seed on fertile ground” and “throwing pearls before swine.” I’m saying there’s a difference between TALKING about Jesus with those who are open and FIGHTING about Jesus with those who are closed. Jesus preached and He taught, He never once fought.
What I’m saying is that if we REALLY want to be His followers then we have to follow Him through the crowning too. We have to show wisdom in discerning the situations we find ourselves in—especially on social media. We have to exercise self-control and restraint. Like Jesus, we sometimes have to just let them throw their temper tantrums knowing the truth will be revealed in God’s time.
We can’t waste our strength in the praetorium of social media, because we have REAL work to do. We have a mission to carry out, a cross to carry, people to serve and love. THAT’S where the victory takes place, friends—not in some thread of clever and vindictive social media comments.
So today, if you come across a battalion of hurtful posts or mocking comments, remember Isaiah 53:7. Remember your pearls. Instead of crafting a comeback, pick up your crown and keep scrolling. Better yet, sign off and pick up your cross. Get to lovin your neighbor in real life.
That’s where I’m headed right now... and no, probably not with my crown. That would just be weird. 😉 Peace, friends.