After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” vs. 31Matthew 27:26-32
Crucifixion, while seldom used to execute Roman citizens, was regularly used by Rome in occupied provinces to maintain order and punish criminals. Pilate’s soldiers would have been accustomed to the practice–for them it was all a part of their day’s work. And the more cruel their behavior, the better it was–they likely delighted in torturing their victims. That delight comes from deep inside, and it’s not limited to folks who lived a long time ago. We see it now in war zones and in the horrible bullying that goes on via our social media. The thin veneer of civility is quickly breached when there are opportunities to brutalize the weak and inflict pain on the helpless. And too often the violence moves beyond words to deeds, and we’re dumbfounded at the resulting cruelty. We even wonder if such sadism is hard-wired into our DNA and that this is the way humans will always behave. But people of faith know that such behaviors are incompatible with our life in Christ. Our Lord Jesus was a victim and not a perpetrator, and it’s in him that we can find the will and the power to love our enemies and do good to those who abuse us. The contrast between his Way and the way of the world is staggering–and there’s no doubt about where his followers should stand!
Thought for the Day: When have I encountered cruelty in myself or others?