A Way of Violence

Luke 22:63Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; 64they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65They kept heaping many other insults on him.66When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. 67They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68and if I question you, you will not answer.69But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.” 71Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

If Jesus were the only prisoner who had ever been insulted, tortured and beaten that would have been bad enough. But sadly, many are treated like this every day, all over the world. There is something about weakness and vulnerability that brings out the worst in some people. Systems that coerce and oppress one group of people for the benefit of another almost always bring out the worst in people. And so, today we remember those who are victims of torture all over the world, praying both that individual violence might be restrained, and that societies would change systems that engender violence.

But we must also put ourselves in this picture. Have we ever been in the position of the guards? Have we been the priests and scribes? Because whether it is violence meted out individually and physically or violence that is done corporately in the name of the state, violence has victims. No one spoke up for Jesus. No one restrained the torture. No one was his advocate in the assembly. No one asked aloud whether the punishment fit the “crime”.

The incarnation of Jesus meant that he suffered the worst of the whole range of human experiences. But our brothers and sisters need not suffer while we have the ability to vote, to question, to advocate and to model better community.

Jesus walked this lonesome valley; He had to walk it by Himself. O nobody else could walk it for Him. He had to walk it by Himself.

This Holy Week, let us dedicate ourselves to changing the world so that no one suffers what Jesus did. We are anticipating Resurrection; we serve a God of transformation.

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