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A Family Portrait

Some mornings it seems I can hardly exhaust a particular chapter, in this case, Matthew 27. Here the writer captures the true nature of our human family.

Each of the characters sadly accentuate in some way the not so uncommon responses of we humans when under duress, especially when religious beliefs are challenged.

On the front end, we find the religious leaders scrambling to preserve their belief system given this maverick whom so many are beginning to believe to be the Son of God. He has already "upset their tables," literally. The temple market had until then become a sure revenue stream for the religious establishment. Always the last straw when threatened!

All this was made possible by the betrayal of a disciple, which as discussed earlier was likely playing out a strategy that backfired on him. He had misjudged the One whom he felt had access to angels and if threatened would call upon them. Judas, like others had assumed Jesus' purpose was the deliverance of Isreal from Roman tyrants. He had long believed this man to be the Messiah and for that reason even agreed to be his treasurer.

He has now realized the error of his ways, still yet called Friend by the very one betrayed. However, it seems some pre-determined providence was playing out, as Paul would later affirm in his letter to the Ephesians, declaring that it was a plan layed out before the "foundations of the earth."

The repentant Judas flings the thirty pieces of silver down before the pious leaders, an amount earlier prophesied by Zechariah. These leaders then resort to faux philanthropy, assigning the thirty pieces to purchase of land upon which to bury strangers. Do gooders gotta do good!

Of course, they must avoid any violation of the Mosaic Law, so they turn to the political leadership for their dirty work. Pilate frankly seems more righteous than they, quickly maneuvering a Passover policy, recommending that Jesus be the criminal selected for their traditional release, a long standing demonstration of righteousness and social justice.

The Human family chooses rather to "pose" for their picture with Barabbus, the multitude likely persuaded by the religious right of their day.

Surely all knew where this was headed, even Pilates wife "suffered" in a dream, knowing the injustice. Perhaps like Mary Magdalena, out of whom Jesus had cast seven demons, Pilate's wife may have also had a moment in which she sensed the true nature of the Christ.

Pilate under pressure to keep the peace lest he lose the position granted by Emperor Tiberius, must now cover his own trail, by releasing Barrabus and scourging Jesus. He is just following policy, again "washing his hands" as any politician might be prone to do.

Then the soldiers, hardened by the requirement of those upstream, like Tiberius, well known for his milatary conquests, Pilate's greatest threat, act out in a brutal way. Their animal like mockery was likely a learned coping skill given the scores of crucifixion necessarily carried out to maintain Roman rule.

They even at one point give in to Jesus' painful burden, requiring on Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross. They were human after all!

Earthquakes and dead men rising are recorded, so this apparently did not end well. Joseph of Arimathaea, a wealthy gentleman finally steps up to offer a tomb. I have to wonder as to the why then, given he surely was a man of influence?

Well perhaps until one reads Isaiah 53:9 “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”

Oh, and then there was that "oops" moment, when the priests recalled his earlier mention of ressurection. Hurrying back to Pilate, they made an urgent request that the tomb be sealed, lest their worst fears be realized. Those fears likely stirred up by the earthquake and the temple veil now "rent in twain!"

You can't make this stuff up, but likely all of us could at some point identify ourselves in the family portrait!

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Dick Joyce
Dick Joyce
20 févr.

I think that's a picture of some of my kinsfolk.

John Bost
John Bost
21 févr.
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Noté 5 étoiles sur 5.

Boy were they fooled. Enjoy your daily devotion

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