2 Samuel 12: 1-7
1The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 4“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.” 5David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.” 7Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
Mark 14: 63-64
63The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64“You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death.
David had just committed adultery with Bathsheba and then sent her husband Uriah to the front lines of battle to be killed. God’s faithful servant had just crossed so many lines that he became entangled and destructive and unfaithful to God’s ways. What I want to point out today is Nathan’s response to the injustice he observed his King committing. Though tactful, Nathan did nothing less than directly confront David with the reality of his sin and its terrible consequences. Nathan’s actions fulfilled one of the vows we take in our covenant of faith and membership when we promise to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.”
Now let us look at a contrasting story. In his book 24 Hours That Changed The World: 40 Days Of Reflection, Adam Hamilton points out that both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were supporters of Jesus and were likely on the Sanhedrin, the group of 71 Jewish leaders, that was responsible for charging Jesus with blasphemy and sending him to Pilate with the request that he be crucified. Furthermore, he points out that there is no record of either of them saying anything to defend Jesus in his time of need. Luke does tell us that Joseph didn’t agree with the course of action, but there is no record of a strong effort to oppose the motion to condemn the innocent man Jesus to death.
How are we doing resisting “evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?” A friend of mine texted me a picture this week while marching with the Coalition of Immokalee workers to raise awareness for the improvement of farm labor working conditions and fair wages (http://www.ciw-online.org). Even if we don’t choose to join a march for some large public cause, how do we stand up for the abused spouse we know in our neighborhood? How do we work with the powerless and the needy? Will we be Nathan or Joseph of Arimathea when we see wrongdoing? May God give us the grace to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of the world so that all may see him and find salvation!