As far as the Religious leaders thought, Jesus’ blasphemy was the reason they were sending him to the cross. We read in chapter 15 what has been obvious throughout the whole Gospel – they hated Jesus, at least in part, because they were envious of his popularity.
Jesus’ responses (or lack of them) throughout their ridiculous accusations is a challenge to us. It expresses his attitude of love towards his enemies and his purposefulness in heading to the cross. This is captured in some of his early teaching and is perhaps one of the hardest things for us to emulate when we come under fire for what we believe as Christians.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
When was the last time you prayed for someone who oppresses you? When was the last time you read an article online that was anti-Christian and by the end of it said, “Lord, bless this person, do good to them so that they might come to know who you really are”? Instead, how often do we mutter ‘you fool’ under our breath, and in our hearts (or some kind of modern equivalent) when we hear an opinion expressed that we deem ‘ignorant’ or ‘blasphemy’? We pray for the Christians facing persecution in Syria and Lebanon, but what about the terrorists who carry it out?
Christians are now regularly accused of a form of social blasphemy when expressing basic tenets of our faith. To deeply love and pray for those who attack us is to be children of God and imitators of Christ. Is that not what we desire to be? If we are unwilling to head in that direction we are missing the point.