Thursday, 7 February 2008

The First Station, Jesus is Condemned by Pilate.

Like most prestigious jobs, it must have been difficult being the governor, particularly if you are dealing with matters which are quite alien to you. Within sight of Pilate's palace was the community of Essenes at Qumran who operated as a teaching centre and mission house for this new community who were awaiting a Messiah. Add to this the Jewish people who were expecting divine liberation and then Jesus starting His 'cult' of starry eyed followers who, for once, seemed to have more than hope in their eyes and you have a problem. Pilate's luck turned, however, in that the Jewish leaders did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, if they had, history would have been very different. Whether through inculturation, blindness or fear of loosing their positions we do not know, but the Rabbis encouraged Pilate to murder Him. Add to this Pilate's wife who was set on having Jesus crucified and you have an obvious solution.
Pilate, though, was not one to be bullied into a corner either by Rabbis whose faith he did not understand, his wife whose fear he probably mistook for her natural inclination for him to do well, gain promation and move out to a more civilised place, away from these scheming religious men or indeed by Jesus Himself. He was insistant that Christ should admit His crime to him so he could follow the law, rather than any one groups wishes. In the end, of course, like so many of us when things become beyond our capacity, he washed his hands clean of the problem and let the mob decide the fate of the Son of Man.
What became of the Essenes, we do not know other than that their complex was destroyed and that which we now call the Dead Sea Scrolls were stored there. What became of Christ's followers we do know, as we are still here, many years after the end of the Roman Empire, still letting the voice of the crowd overcome our cries for repentance and mercy. Indeed, some Christians have come full circle and are intolerant of other faiths or even expressions of their own faith. Some people who call themselves Christians are even in favour of the death penalty, in clear contradiction of the teaching of He who assumed a sinful form so he could die for our sins.
V. God spared not His own Son,
R. But delivered Him up for us all.
Let us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who from the bosom of the Father didst descend from Heaven to earth, and didst shed thy precious blood for the forgiveness of our sins: we humbly beseech thee; that in the day of judgement, we, at thy right hand, may be worthy to hear thee say: 'Come, ye blessed.' Who livest and reignest with thee for ever and ever. Amen.
Of your charity, pray for the soul of Gertrude Elsie Bailey.