Sunday, March 11, 2012

Luke, Chapter 23: Corporate team-building exercises

Jesus is taken to Pilate and accused of not paying his taxes and calling himself King. Pilate asks him if he's the king, and he says Thou sayest it. (v. 3) Pilate, not wanting to be disturbed by this intra-tribal spat, says he can't see what Jesus has done wrong, but when he hears he's from Galilee, sends him off to Herod, who happens to be in town.

Herod, who has been excited to meet Jesus for some time in hopes of seeing a miracle, proceeds to question Jesus, but doesn't get much in return. Eventually he gets bored, dresses Jesus up, and sends him back to Pilate. This somehow becomes a bonding exercise between two exasperated managers who really don't care.

Pilate still can't find anything to fault Jesus with and announces he's going to welease him, as is the Passover custom. The priests suggest Barrabas instead. Pilate is reluctant and asks if they're sure they wouldn't rather set Jesus free, but the priests are adamant that it has to be Barrabas. They make someone called Simon carry the cross. As they're walking a crowd gathers with women wailing. Jesus tells them to calm down, they're not getting nailed to a cross today, and besides, pretty soon it will be the end of the world and it will be better not to have had kids.

After a time they arrive at Cavalry and Jesus is hung up on his cross while the soldiers gamble for his clothes. And the people stand around mocking him and hanging a sign up over his head that reads THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS (v. 38) and challenging him to save himself if he's god, because people suck. Even one of his fellow executees get in on the act, mocking him and calling him names, but the other maintains that Jesus is innocent. Jesus promises him he can come to heaven with him.

After a couple of extraordinary events: a solar eclipse, the veil in the temple ripping, Jesus dies. One of the centurions converts to Christianity. Some of his followers are watching and one of them, Joseph of Arimathaea, convinces Pilate to give him Jesus' body, which he puts in a tomb on his property. The women follow and prepare spices for the body, which they don't apply because it's the Sabbath and that would be work.

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