This blog offers a meditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:
Then Pilate released Barabbas to them; but Jesus he scourged, and gave him up to be crucified.
27 After that, the Governor’s soldiers took Jesus with them into the Government house, and gathered the whole garrison around him. 28 They stripped him, and put on him a red military cloak, 29 and having twisted some thorns into a crown, put it on his head, and a rod in his right hand, and then, going down on their knees before him, they mocked him. “Long life to you, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spat at him and, taking the rod, kept striking him on the head; 31 and, when they had left off mocking him, they took off the military cloak, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to be crucified.
This casual brutality is typical of troops who are required to do brutal actions for their commanders, especially when they are encouarged to think of a subject people as barbarians, wogs, gooks, towelheads or slopes. Dehumanising the enemy makes it much easier to treat them as dirt. Here the representatives of (as they think) the real king of the Jews have fun mocking the powerless man who has been forced to acknowledge the title of Messiah. Their vicious horseplay reveals their own corruption and pathetic weakness of character. When Dietrich Bonhoeffer was beaten up by his Nazi jailer he upbraded him,”How can you disgrace yourself in this way? Where is your discipline, man?”
Just as the evidence of men tortured by the orders of British and USA governments in secret venues in Poland reveals the corruption of our useless and uncontrolled intelligence agencies. I an convinced that if we sacked them all today, our nations would be safer tomorrow.
The Jesus who was a victim of torture and cruel mockery is brother to those men and women all over the world who have been treated in this way. Those who have suffered torture and have died or continued to live without hatred have, in the words of The Revelation, “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” For while the victimhood of Jesus exposes the reality of violence as hysteria, perversion and spiritual deadness, the refuge of people who are denying their own humanity; it reveals another reality in which the victims become victors. True, that reality is “not of this world” but it is fully represented in this world by the suffering of Jesus and all his sisters and brothers.