... The Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while He was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day. ... Matthew 27:62b-64a
If there is anybody in New York City who understands the concept of "insult to injury," it has to be 31-year-old Justin Johnsen.
It was last November 5th that Johnsen was riding his bicycle. He was riding until he stopped riding. He stopped riding because he was knocked off his bike by a 2009 Ford Taurus. Johnsen had to be taken to the hospital where he required a number of stitches to close up the cuts the collision had created.
That's Johnsen's story ... except for this: the 2009 Ford Taurus that hit him was a police car.
That last fact is kind of important. It's important because the City of New York did not send Johnsen an apology for the accident. It did not send him get-well flowers or even a Hallmark card. The City of New York did send him a bill for $1,263.01. That was to pay for the damages he did to the police car, when it hit him.
Insult to injury.
The New Testament records an even worse case of insult to injury. The high priests and religious powers that be had orchestrated the betrayal and trial of Jesus. They had brought in men to tell lies about the Savior and then found the Lord guilty of "blasphemy." Of course, they knew blasphemy would not get Jesus crucified. That's why, when they went to Pilate, they said Jesus was an insurrectionist and that He had threatened to tear down the temple.
Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, but freeing Jesus was not a hill he wished to die on. Strong-willed enemies coupled with a weak-willed procurator sent Jesus to Calvary. There Jesus sustained the fatal injury, which offers us forgiveness and salvation.
And the insult?
The insult came after Jesus had breathed His last. That was when the high priests went back to Pilate and asked for a guard to be placed on the Savior's tomb. Why? The priests supply the explanation: Jesus had said He would rise from the dead.
Did you get that? All along they had understood Jesus was referring to Himself and not to the temple.
When it comes to our relationship with the Savior, I think they did something we ought to avoid.
And if you're wondering just how we might add insult to injury, I would encourage you to consider that even though we have been saved by the Christ, we are still sinners. That is the injury. The question is what do we do with those sins after they have been committed?
Do we try to ignore them? Do we add to them? Do we try to cover them? That would be insult to injury. Instead of deluding ourselves in this way, we should confess our sins in the knowledge that God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I confess my transgressions and regret that which I do wrong in thought, word and action. Grant me forgiveness, and give me the ability to live a life that glorifies the Savior. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries