Here we are. It's Maundy Thursday. This morning, we joined together in communion by the miracle of the internet and Youtube.
I was pleased to see that seven computers joined our service live. And each computer may have had more than one person watching/taking part.
Yet, it is still not the same as meeting in person and being able to greet each other, do foot-washing and receive Holy Communion in person.
The first thing I particularly noticed today is how Jesus was denied anything close to justice. This is very close to my heart and I will expand this a little in this blog.
Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”
The religious authorities quite simply were out to get Jesus. They started out by telling Pilot that Jesus was a terrorist; an insurgent. Yet they were unable to prove their case. They were missing one tiny little thing. The slightest shred of evidence.
Pilot realising that this deputation was going to give him trouble, tried to fob the problem off on Herod.Familiar Civil Service trick? "It's another department..."
Even Herod, who was far more dissolute that Pilot, could not find evidence to punish Jesus. So Herod sent him back.
Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”
So Jesus had been investigated by two legal authorities and the verdict was
"No case to answer".
Game over. Job's a good un! Right?
Even though Pilot fully believed Jesus innocence, he still ordered Jesus stripped and flogged before releasing him. He needed to appease the crowd. You have to keep the locals happy! Fair enough?
NOT fair enough. A Roman flogging was not for the faint hearted. It was brutal. The reason that Roman law limited the flogging to 39 lashes was because quite a few victims died if it went on further. So Pilot's attempt to appease the chief priests and pharisees was far from token. Yet, evil was abroad that night.
What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.
I will not dwell any further on Jesus passion. Today, I just want to remind us of two abuses that Jesus suffered in addition to the awful truth of His crucifixion.
Believe me this second abuse is no small matter.
So as we continue in this Coronavirus lockdown. As we chafe at not being able to flock to the beaches this bank-holiday. Let's reset our perspective.
Jesus went through all that he went through for you. And for me. Jesus love for us was so complete that He gave his own life for us. So let us give thanks this Easter season and bear our minor tribulations with a quiet dignity.