Then those who had seized Jesus led Him to Caiaphas the high priest ... And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard His blasphemy. What is your judgment?" They answered, "He deserves death." Then they spit in His face and struck Him. And some slapped Him, saying, "Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck You?" (Matthew 26:57, 63b-68)
It was a sadistic little game they were playing, slapping and hitting Jesus, and asking, "Who struck You?" I didn't understand the point of the question until I saw Luke 22:64, which says they blindfolded Jesus. Apparently, they were "testing" His abilities as Messiah. After all, the Son of God should surely be able to tell who was hitting Him, blindfolded or not!
What they didn't realize was that Jesus already knew the answer to that question—and on a deeper level than the purely physical. Just hours before, Jesus had warned His disciples, "You will all fall away, for it is written, 'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered'" (Mark 14:27b). Who was doing the striking there? Not just human beings. It is God Himself.
Jesus was quoting Zechariah 13, where God Himself says, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the man who stands next to Me ... Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered" (Zechariah 13:7). This came true in Jesus' suffering and death. By God's own plan, He bore the harm, and His followers were scattered.
Yet it didn't end there. God took that evil and turned it into our salvation. As He goes on to say through the prophet Zechariah, "They will call upon My Name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are My people'; and they will say, 'The Lord is my God'" (Zechariah 13:9b).
So now we know the answers to these questions. Who are You? God. Who struck You? God. Who received the benefits—forgiveness, mercy, and everlasting life? God's people—everyone who puts their trust in the Lord Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for what You bore for me. Amen.
* Have you ever played guessing games? When?
* Have you ever borne suffering for the sake of someone else? When?
* Why do you think God made sure that the suffering for human evil fell upon Himself?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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