Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reflections on Easter

I hadn't planned on writing an Easter reflection. I tend to keep my faith to myself, and not try to preach to or at others without an invitation. However, I found an excellent article on Rev. Donald Sensing's blog, and thought that the more spiritually inclined among my readers might enjoy it. Here's an excerpt.

But what exactly was the problem with Jesus? Crucifixion was used by the Romans only for that worst of all possible crimes: sedition or active resistance against the Roman imperium -- mutiny, in other words. Mutiny is always a cooperative effort. One person cannot commit mutiny, the crime definitionally involves conspiracy. Under Roman law, the only Roman citizens who could be crucified were mutinous or treasonous soldiers.

Absent conviction of a crime against the rule of Caesar, Jesus might have been executed, but not by crucifixion. The Romans made sure to carry out crucifixions in very public, well-traveled places where the intense suffering of the the victim would serve as a warning to others not to get any bright ideas. Those convicted of capital offenses considered less serious than sedition died a quicker and more private death by ordinary hanging or by beheading.

That Jesus was crucified rather than simply killed proves that the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate, found him guilty of an offense against Rome itself. But what?

There are no notes from the trial of Jesus before Pilate. The accounts of the Gospels were written down many years later, decades, in fact. I read them not as verbatim accounts of the procedures but as dramatic accounts to tell the story of Jesus's death and how it came to occur.

But these the accounts of Jesus's arrest, hearings, trial and execution are not mainly theological explorations, either. The Gospel's writers seem to have possessed historical nuggets of the most important events and then tried to fill in some gaps by integrating what several threads of traditions said. Thus, we can understand that the Gospels' detailed conversations between Jesus and Pilate are not so much transcripts of what was said as dialog that is intended to show how and why one event moved to another.

There's more at the link. Go read, and enjoy.


1 comment:

trailbee said...

I had come yesterday, but early, and so did not find this. Thank you for this post, but more importantly, thank you for your blog and vital posts. I sincerely hope your day was special. t