After watching the Martha MacCallum interview with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his wife on Fox Monday night, I was impressed by several observations I want to share with you that I believe are worthy of taking a week away from “Theology for Dummies.” We will continue our search for our ideal job next week.
As I watched the interview, my thoughts immediately went to the model for Christians for facing personal attacks, character assassination and slanderous, false accusations—Jesus Christ Himself, specifically at His trial on the night He was crucified.
Several years ago, many Christians wore bracelets bearing the letters, “WWJD,” or “What would Jesus do?,” as a reminder for them to go and do likewise. However, that is an unconscious, misguided method of utilizing that model. By asking themselves that question, they are eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and continuing to feed their addiction to “living by the law,” i.e., “trying to obey God.” The model of Jesus’ life is not properly followed by imitating what you think He would do in a particular situation, because that would be impossible.
What we can do is remember what He actually did when He was faced with the same circumstance. The question then becomes, WDJD?—“What did Jesus do?” Then, since He is the same, yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), we can believe He will invariably act the same way again—WWJD, but this time, “What will Jesus do?” in us as believers, right now.
This is the very definition of “living by faith.” It is doing nothing but simply remembering what Jesus did and then believing He is continuing to do the same thing today, but now in His spiritual body, His people, rather than in His earthly, physical one.
So, what did He do? Peter summarizes it for us beautifully:
“He never sinned, and He never told a lie. When He was insulted, He did not retaliate. When He suffered, he did not threaten. It was His habit to commit the matter to the One who judges fairly.”
Matthew relates specifically Jesus did this at His trial before Pilate:
“Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you say.’ And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly” (Matthew 27:11-14).
Mark and Luke’s accounts are very similar. First, silence before slander and false accusations with no attempts to rebut the charges or engage in a useless defense from what everyone already knew were lies. Second, a brief, confident affirmation of what was true—He was the King of the Jews.
John’s account amplifies Jesus’ conversation with Pilate:
“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’” (John 18:37).
John tells us Jesus not only admitted to being the King of the Jews, but He also proclaimed with confidence and boldness the mission His office as King entailed and His confidence in His calling to that mission.
How does this apply to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings?
Kavanaugh is in the process of discovering His mission in life as well, as we all are. It is the same purpose given to man at his creation in Genesis 1:26 and demonstrated for us by Jesus, the Son of Man: to rule for Him over what God has given to us as His vice-regents by laying down our lives.
Now Kavanaugh is learning, in his calling, what that entails. For Him, it is public and open, as he has already been given much by God over which to rule, with more to follow. With most of us, our rule is private and hidden, but the rule is the same—over whatever responsibilities Daddy has given us in the family business of ruling over the earth for Him.
Jesus, as the first born Son, has paved the way for us. He did the heavy lifting involved in redeeming the earth and all it contains from a usurper who had stolen it by hostile takeover and enslaved God’s family for centuries.
However, Satan’s authority and power were completely broken at the cross. He is a totally defeated enemy, with no power whatsoever but deception and deceit but still prowling about seeking those whom he can fool and control by his lies. We are the conquerors mopping up his guerilla resistance!
In his interview with MacCallum, he did not look like a conqueror; he looked like a poor victim with a hangdog, defeated attitude. So he is attacked, lied about, slandered and smeared. So what? What do you expect from a desperate, defeated foe who is fighting to stave off the inevitable as long as possible?
On the contrary, Jesus was the one in charge at His trial. Even though He faced the same vitriol and hatred Kavanaugh faces, Jesus did not hate his accusers but saw them as they were—foolish, blind, immature children over whom He had wept a few nights earlier because they were as “sheep without a shepherd.”
Brett Kavanaugh will become a battle tested warrior through this process. He is learning to be, as Paul called us all, “More than conquerors” (Romans 8:27). May we all learn with him. May we see every day as an attack on the gates of Hell as we go about our daily tasks—from changing diapers to designing websites, from selling houses to plumbing houses, from digging ditches to diagnosing sickness, from teaching children to repairing cars—willingly and eagerly laying down our lives for others in the process.
The world cannot understand this. Mark tells us that “Pilate marveled” because of Jesus’ refusal to lash out or defend Himself at His trial. The love, joy and peace with which we do this, these daily tasks, will, without fail, bring down those gates.