October 4, 2007
He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter. Isaiah 53:7a
Lars Vilks is a cartoonist in Sweden. On August 18th, Lars Vilks’ newspaper published one of his drawings: a caricature that showed the Prophet Muhammad with a dog’s body.
Most of us haven’t seen the cartoon. Most of us probably don’t need to see the cartoon to conclude it probably was in bad taste. After all, which of us would want the Apostles Paul, Peter, Andrew, or John to be held up for ridicule by a cartoonist? This is why I can understand why some of the people in the Islamic community are upset.
Of course, there’s upset and then there is out-of-proportion UPSET.
Out-of-proportion UPSET is an Al Qaeda leader in Iraq who says he’s willing to pay $100,000 to anyone who kills the cartoonist. The amount being awarded for Vilks murder will be upped to $150,000 if he is “slaughtered like a lamb.” The out-of-proportion UPSET continued with the promise of terrorist attacks upon the country if the “crusader state of Sweden” doesn’t apologize. Threats were also made against the big companies of Sweden like Ericsson, Scania, Volvo, Ikea, and Electrolux.
There was a line in those threats that stood out to me. Did you catch it? I’m referring to the part that said the price that will be paid for Vilks’ assassination would be increased if he were “slaughtered like a lamb.”
That statement touched me because I know Someone, Jesus the Savior, who was slaughtered in silence, like a lamb. Although people had made fun of Him, although He had been unfairly accused, although He had been beaten, spit upon, and whipped, He didn’t respond in kind. The Old Testament Prophet, Isaiah, said Jesus “was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
Jesus had every right in the world to be righteously UPSET for what happened to Him. That He preferred not to take revenge, but like a Lamb, silently, willingly gave His life for us on the cross for our salvation is unbelievable.
Christ’s sacrificial love stands in powerful and absolute contrast to what I would do, what you would do, and what other religions apparently believe is the right thing to do. Jesus’ silence shows to all who will see the greatness and uniqueness of our God of grace.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for Your silent sacrifice You have my adoration. When I am fighting against being out-of-proportion UPSET, keep me very mindful of how much You endured, so I might be saved. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries