READ: Matthew 26:57-75
THINK: Have you ever been accused of something that you did not do? How did you feel? Did you try to defend yourself? What was your attitude toward those who misunderstood or lied about you? Did you suffer any consequences? Consider how your feelings and reactions may have differed from Jesus' response in this passage, when the consequences He was about to face were more horrendous than any you've ever faced. Remember, Jesus endured all this for you. Rather than speaking up and silencing His accusers, He took their abuse and willingly prepared for the suffering He was about to face in your place.
RESPOND: Why do you think that people would be willing to give false testimony about Jesus (v. 60)? Why do you think Jesus remained silent and did not respond when falsely accused (vv. 62-63)? Why were Jesus accusers so furious when Jesus confirmed that He was God's Son? How do you think Jesus felt when they beat, mocked and ridiculed Him? How do you think He felt specifically toward His accusers who did these cruel things? Why did Peter deny Jesus so emphatically after he had once insisted that he would never do such a thing (cf. vv. 33-34)? How do you think Peter felt after his staunch denial?
PRAY: Ask Jesus to help you face misunderstanding, injustice and persecution with the same grace and courage He did. Pray for the boldness to acknowledge Jesus to anyone who associates you with Him.
ACT: Think of a time when you were misrepresented, lied about or put in a position you didn't deserve. It's okay to defend yourself to a degree and to seek justice in most situations. But if you retaliated or responded in away that was not Christlike, confess your failure to Jesus. Depend on Him for a gracious attitude as you revisit the situation, making apologies and trying to set things right with anyone else who was involved. This will demonstrate Jesus character and could even allow you to influence others for Him.
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