A Reflection for Passion Sunday
Updated: Apr 4
By Sara Fisher
Lectionary reading for 4/2/2023: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66; Matthew 27:11-54
Selected passage: Matthew 27:11-54
While many Protestant churches will be celebrating Palm Sunday today many Catholic Churches will be commemorating the Passion of the Christ on Sunday morning. Matthew 27:11-54 takes you through the passion from Jesus before Pilate to crucifixion and death. Please click the scripture link above to read the passage and meditate on the crucifixion of Christ.
I’m not naturally a fan of silence, at least not in large amounts of time. I’m the type of person who prefers to have most of my quiet moments in a coffee shop so I can be focused, but still surrounded by people and noise. Sometimes silence, real silence, can be so loud.
As I read our passage for today I can’t escape the silence of Jesus.
It begins with the accusations, and Jesus is silent. The chaos of the crowds— “crucify him!” — and Jesus is silent. The flogging, the thorns, the mocking— “Hail, King of the Jews!”— and still, silence.
“He saved others but he cannot save himself.”
“Let him come down from the cross and we will believe in him!”
The truth is, I’m uncomfortable with the silence of Jesus here. I find myself wanting Jesus to speak up, to defend himself. I want to see the Jesus I’ve come to know in the gospels— a man who speaks with confidence and authority; who has witty comments to challenge those who speak against him.
But Jesus is different here; I guess as you’d expect someone to be at the end of their life. He is focused, even calm, in the midst of extreme humiliation, suffering, and death.
His silence is odd and uncomfortable. It’s so loud.
But here’s the thing about silence: it forces you to be brutally present with yourself — to be honest, and vulnerable, to step out from whatever you use in life to keep you distracted and busy. There’s a groundedness in silence and we see it in Jesus here.
We shouldn’t mistake His silence for giving up or being on the losing end of Jewish authority, as so many in the crowd did. Christ’s silence is rooted in a kind of assurance in God’s will that I can’t quite grasp. Jesus, so in tune with the Father and the Spirit, doesn’t utter a word in defense because none are needed. Soon enough the earth itself will speak on His behalf as it quakes and breaks open at His death.
Jesus goes to the cross steady. Focused. Intent to see God’s great plan of restoration, forgiveness and healing lived out.
All Hail King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Silently taking upon Himself the punishment that brought us peace.
I’m reminded that the peace of Christ knows no end. The God who brings order and peace out of chaos can not be dragged into our worldly chaos, not even by the threat of death. The creator of the world walked assuredly into his death, silently focused on the same mission God has always had: to re-member God’s people into God’s family. To defeat sin, destruction and death and to give you and I boldness in approaching the throne of God as forgiven, beloved children of God.
It’s been the plan all along, so why am I surprised when Christ goes forward in silent confidence?
Maybe it’s because the invitation to sit with Jesus is His pain and suffering and silence is difficult— there’s nothing to fix, no next step to take, no words of encouragement, no tidy ending. How badly I want to jump ahead and declare Christ the King of Kings, the one who is victorious over sin and death! But I sense the nudging of the Spirit—don’t miss the silence. Don’t jump ahead. The silence leaves me brutally present with myself and with Christ. The silence leaves me longing. And maybe that’s right where God wants me.
Our invitation today is to be present with Jesus in His moments before and on the cross— to sit with Jesus in his suffering and His silence.
What does that silence bring up in you? What do you notice about Christ? What do you notice about yourself? Resist the temptation to jump ahead and allow yourself to be present and silent for some moments today.
Lord, we are quick to speak, quick to act, quick to jump ahead. Today, give me boldness to sit with you in your suffering and silence. Lord, we long for you— King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Thank you that for us you went confidently to the cross.
About the Author
Sara Fisher is a wife, mother and Youth Pastor from Northern California. She loves coffee, lazy days at home with the fam and being out in nature. She experiences deep joy seeing teenagers (and all people) live into their specific calling God has given them, and walking alongside them in the process.