Friday, April 7, 2017

An Observer’s Thoughts on The Crucifixion

Image result for Roman Soldiers at Calvary

            The soldiers had made Jesus carry his own cross; it was customary. We had followed along behind the soldiers. When we arrived at the place of the skull, the Roman soldiers set up three crosses; they placed Jesus’ cross between the two others.

            Pilate ordered a sign made for Jesus’ cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” Some of us disagreed with the wording. We felt it should have said, “He says He is the King of the Jews. Pilate exercised his role as governor and refused to change it. He had the sign written in three languages, Aramaic, Latin and Greek.

            The four soldiers cast dice for his five pieces of clothing- shoes, turban. Girdle, outer robe, and tunic. William Barclay tells us, “Legend has it that the tunic could have been made by His mother.1.

Later on:

            Jesus called out, “I thirst.” The soldiers, prepared for everything, placed a sponge on a hyssop reed, dipped it into a vat of wine vinegar and tried to give Jesus some to slake his thirst.

            Jesus bent His head back and shouted, “It is finished.” He died. Because of our Law, that day being the preparation day for the Sabbath, the soldiers had to remove the bodies from the crosses. The soldiers received permission to break the legs of those on the crosses. The broke the legs of the two criminals first. When they came to Jesus, he had already died˗ to be certain, they pierced His side.

My thoughts:

            I wrote this from the standpoint of one who was a casual observer. Maybe, someone writing a newspaper article. If we had been there, would we be stoic or would we be emotional about what we saw?

1.      Barclay, Daily Study Bible, Book of John, Vol. 2, page 254

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

More of Pilate’s Thoughts

Image result for Pilate and the crowd
The Masters Table. WordPress. com

            Those Jews were hard to deal with; they wanted this Jesus dead. They claimed they have a law saying he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God. I went inside again and questioned this Jesus. He chose not to answer. His not speaking frustrated me.  He seemed unconcerned even though I had the power to either let him go free or crucify him.

            Then, he told me any power I had, came from above. And those who had handed him over were guilty of a greater sin.

            I tried very hard to give him back to the Jews but they didn’t want him. They wanted him crucified. I had no recourse. I had to do as they insisted. I believed he was speaking the truth- he was the Son of God.

            During these proceedings, my wife sent a messenger to me. She had experienced a sleepless night. Her message to me was not to bring harm to this Jesus.

            Three times I told the Jews of Jesus’ innocence. I couldn’t understand why these people wanted to kill him. But, they could make trouble for me with my superiors in Rome. I was desperate, I HAD to do as the crowd wanted.

On My Father's Side one of my favorite gospel hymns.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Pilate’s Thoughts in Retrospect

Image result for pontius pilate
John 18:28-40

John 19:1-6

         As I looked out onto the street from my balcony, I saw a mob of people heading to my palace. “Oh, no. Here comes a crowd of soldiers with that man Jesus. A lot of the Jews follow Him.”

            They could not enter my palace; if they did the Jewish Law would declare them unclean. Then they would not be able to partake of their Passover Feast.

            I had to go out to them. If I didn’t take care of this properly, my superiors in Rome would send someone to replace me and I would have to go back to Rome, (or worse.)

            These people did not care about this man Jesus. In my conversation with him, he said this was the reason he was born. He said he was a king and he was here to testify to the truth.

            This stunned me, I found myself asking, “What is truth?” I found no reason to charge him. I did not find him guilty of anything of which the crowds accused him.

            I offered to let him go in exchange for another criminal. It was the custom for the governing authorities to release one being held in custody. The crowd said no, they wanted Barabbas, a rebellious thug, freed.

            I had a job to do. If I let Jesus go, it would mean my post. I’d get called back to Rome and would be at my superior’s mercy.

            I had no choice. I ordered this Jesus scourged. The soldiers mocked him and his claim. After they finished with him. I brought him out before the crowd again.

            The moment the chief priests and they scribes saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him. Crucify him.” I declared I found no charge against him—in my sight, he was innocent. I told them they could take him and crucify him themselves. I wanted no part in this.

I intend to continue the conflicted thoughts of Pilate. I plan to use some of my research in a drama for Good Friday 2018. 

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...