Jesus is condemned to death

by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified. John 19, 16

Jesus is condemned to deathJesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” After his arrest in the garden, he was taken for a hurried hearing that led to his judgment and condemnation. Prompted by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, judged him and sentenced him to death.

Most likely Jesus was just another obscure Jew to Pilate, unexpectedly thrust before him the day before a hectic Jewish feast, when the Romans stood poised, battle-ready, to crush any sign of Jewish disorder or rebellion. Pilate's priority that day was to keep order in the restive city. Controlling Jerusalem was far more important than the innocence of the One who stood before him.

And so Jesus was condemned as a possible troublemaker. The Roman process was quick, unfair, and without appeal. A show of raw, impersonal power. Once sentenced, Jesus was handed over to executioners who immediately began to taunt and torture him till his death.

The psalms mirror the mind of Jesus. Listen to the cry of the innocent sufferer in Psalm 69. Can we hear the voice of Jesus caught in this web of injustice?

Save me, God,
for the waters have reached my neck...
Too many for my strength
are my treacherous enemies.

Yet deep within, Jesus knew that God's judgment matters most, and he trusted the judgment of God whatever others might say.

Lord, may we too be faithful to the truth and do your will, no matter how we are judged by others.

Come, let us adore Christ our Lord,
who declared himself the Son of God before the Sanhedrin.
The Lord does not judge by appearances, but in justice and truth.
Psalm 69, 2-5
Save me, God,
for the waters have reached my neck,
I have sunk into the mire of the deep,
where there is no foothold.

I have gone down to the watery depths;
the flood overwhelms me.

I am weary with crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes have failed
looking for my God.

More numerous than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause.
Too many for my strength
are my treacherous enemies.
Reading: Romans 14, 10-13
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So each of us shall give an account of himself to God. Then let us not no longer judge one another, but rather never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.

Lord, you are eternal Truth who came into the world to testify to the truth,
— enable us to bring your truth to the world.

Inspire governments with a concern for justice,
— so all peoples can enjoy justice and peace.

Place us at your right hand when you hand over your kingdom to the Father,
— and judge justly the living and the dead.
Our Father...

Eternal Father,
you looked kindly on your only Son
when he was derided and condemned to death.
Through his patience in suffering,
heal our pride.
Keep us from judging others
that we may be shown mercy on judgment day.

Illustration: Duk Soon