Jesus Indicted for DWI?
Come on, cool weather! Oh, I mean: “Hi and welcome back to the Chaplain’s Corner.” In our part of Texas it has cooled off about 10… maybe 15 degrees. That only means that 95 now feels like 105 did. I’m about ready for it to be in the upper 70s for highs again.
For the last several months I’ve kept coming across this article and rereading it, so maybe it’s time to dust it off and look at it again after all these years.
PC 49.04 is the Texas DWI statute, and it’s unfortunate that it has had to be applied to more than one professing Christian and even clergy persons. But can it even remotely be applied to Jesus Himself? Ah… No. Not even close. Then what in the world am I talking about? I’m getting your attention.
I am not thinking of using DWI in the sense we most commonly use it in our profession, but rather I found characteristics in, or of, His life that started with the letters D, W, and I. I’m not about to launch forth in full recounting of a sermon I once gave by the same title, but I want to focus in on just a few parts. In my sermon I shared a “Ten-Count DWI Indictment” of Jesus.
It is unfortunate that so many of our DWI encounters involve death and that death is all too often inflicted on an innocent party. Well, what I want to do is substitute the word “died” for “driving.” In my sermon, four of the “counts” dealt with the death of an innocent party – Jesus – and they were:
Died With Integrity Died With Intensity Died Without Iniquity Died With Intention
Space here prevents a detailed look at these “indictments,” but perhaps I can quickly convey the gist of what they mean.
Died With Integrity and Without Iniquity: The Apostle Peter writes that there was no sin or deceit found in Jesus. This can be said of no other person. Pilate, trying not to take responsibility, said: “I find no guilt in Him.” All through the “crucifixion process,” Jesus retained His dignity and integrity by not lashing out at those putting Him to death. He could have bounced off the scale of the use-of-force-continuum, but He submitted Himself to this brutality and, as He was dying, prayed, “Father, forgive them.”
Died With Intensity: If you’ve ever seen Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ or other movies about Christ’s Crucifixion, the portrayal brings out that His was not an easy death. The Gospels say that the Romans took Jesus and scourged Him. The writers don’t elaborate on scourging because no elaboration was needed at the time they were written. Then the Romans crucified Him. I’ve read some “autopsy” reports that various doctors have written after reading the Gospel accounts and doing historical research, and they are sobering, to say the least. The suffering was beyond what I can really comprehend.
Died With Intention: This is perhaps the most important “indictment” to get a hold of. Jesus, in His omniscience, knew what He was going to suffer. You can see that in the account of His time in Gethsemane just before He was betrayed, yet He intended to see it through (Luke 22:22, 39-46). In the Gospel of John, Chapter 10, Jesus said, “I lay down my life.” How does one really grasp an understanding of the love of God? Jesus loves you and me so much that He chose to take the path He did.
The Roman garrison were the “cops” of that day. What Jesus did was no “suicide by cop.” It was a willing sacrifice of His life. And this was God’s plan from the beginning… that He should suffer and die and rise again so that we can have peace with God.
Yes, Jesus was guilty of these kinds of “DWI,” as the movies and Scriptures record. There were no video cams mounted in patrol cars to record it in those days, so in his movie Mel Gibson did his best to recreate what happened. The message of the movie is basically… “It really happened, and here’s how it went down.”
I leave you with one more “DWI” (and this one fudges the first letters a little) to ponder. Defeated (death) With Immortality. The sacrifice Jesus made was traumatic, but His Resurrection was terrific. Jesus didn’t remain in the tomb. After proving to those who witnessed the Crucifixion that He had indeed risen from the dead, Jesus returned to Heaven and there He awaits the time for His return to this earth.
Hey, thanks for listening to “an Easter sermon” in October, but I hope it gave you something to ponder next time you hear those letters: “DWI” or “10-55.”
Blessings to you and yours.
Chaplain Bill firstname.lastname@example.org