04 Apr – Wednesday of Holy Week
The Lord has given me
a disciple’s tongue.
So that I may know how to reply to the wearied
he provides me with speech.
Each morning he wakes me to hear,
to listen like a disciple.
The Lord has opened my ear.
For my part, I made no resistance,
neither did I turn away.
I offered my back to those who struck me,
my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;
I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.
The Lord comes to my help,
so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint;
I know I shall not be shamed.
My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?
Then let us go to court together.
Who thinks he has a case against me?
Let him approach me.
The Lord is coming to my help,
who will dare to condemn me?
One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.
For my part, I made no resistance
Surrendering is never an easy thing – especially when it involves giving up what we think we know best. Many of us would be familiar with being called to surrender our attachments to things that are attractive such as money, fame, food and other earthly luxuries. But how many of us can actually surrender the things that are buried deep within us? Like our fears, insecurities, rejections, hurts or bitterness. In short, our hidden ugliness which we don’t want anyone else to see.
I guess it’s easier sometimes to give up the things that are external but increasingly challenging when we have to dig deep within ourselves and sift out the parts that are dark, deep and hurting. We’re just too afraid to expose that darkness into light. As much as we don’t like these hidden areas of ourselves, ironically, it is these areas of ourselves that we are most attached to because it is what we are familiar with. We have grown too comfortable. And we don’t want to give that up. So we stubbornly build our walls to protect ourselves from having to expose them. Maybe it’s because we just don’t want to revisit old wounds again (after all the time we’ve taken to bury it)? Or maybe it’s because we’re afraid of the consequences that may follow and how others will react when we eventually do?
But it is precisely these areas of our lives that God longs for us to surrender, in order for his love to penetrate through. Unfortunately, the more vulnerable we are, the more we are bound to resist.
In his book, “With Open Hands”, Henri Nouwen aptly likens that resistance to a person with tightly clenched fists. All of us have areas in our lives that we are tightly clenching. These areas are like small bronze coins that we hang onto. Unless we open up our fists and surrender our tiny coins, our palms are unable to receive the blessings that God can pour into our lives. We will never know what other treasures we can hold.
The road to healing and surrender is never easy. But it begins with a single step.
Speaking of which, did you know? Jesus could have resisted sacrificing his life on that cross. He didn’t have to die. After all, wasn’t he betrayed, scorned, mocked and rejected by people whom he had loved, healed and restored? People whom he had vested all his time, love, effort and emotions in? He could have jolly well said halfway through the crucifixion, “I’ve had it with the lost sheep of Israel! This is enough!” and miraculously walked out before he drew his very last breath. God would still have taken him back within a heartbeat (literally), no doubts about that.
Yet, Jesus chose to become vulnerable. He chose to make no resistance. Despite the mockery, the crown of thorns, the scourging at the pillar and the excruciatingly dehumanising crucifixion, he chose to stay on that cross until the very end and submitted his life even to the point of death. For what reason?
As we reflect upon the readings and events of Holy Week, God wants us to remember this: Jesus had made no resistance, simply because he wanted to become our restoration – to revive us, heal us and restore us onto a life that is worth living. A life that is full and filled with God’s favour, peace and blessings.
Are we willing to receive that life today?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
Prayer: Dear Lord, in this season of lent, help us to surrender ourselves to you like Jesus did. To take a step beyond the familiar and to trust in your faithfulness and goodness. Break through our defences and melt away our resistance so that we can experience your love and favour, through Jesus, your son.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for blessing us with a saviour – Jesus, your Son.