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Scriptural Stations of the Cross: Station 6

January 25, 2013
An image from the separation wall

An image from the separation wall

Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns.

Jesus was handed over into the custody of Roman soldiers to be flogged.  This was not a light punishment; and the choice of 39 lashes was not a random one.  Forty lashes, it was known, would kill a man, but one less than that would still keep him alive enough to be crucified.  The Roman soldiers carried out their task with a brutal efficiency with a whip studded with metal chunks that tore into the flesh, and left the victim a bloody wreck.  That was their duty.

They went beyond their orders, though, when they mocked their victim with a crown of thorns, a robe of royal purple, and sarcastic words of homage.  Then they beat him.   Why did they do that? It was not because they were monsters. They were well-trained, sell-equipped, well-disciplined military professionals, but they were also the visible force of the Roman occupation, living among people who hated and feared them.   They were potential targets and they knew it.

Living with a very real sense of threat can affect people in dangerous ways.  They can come to see those who threaten them as less than human, and when that view is combined with fear and power, the results can be cruel.  Mockery can be one result; violence can be another.

The Holy Land today is still a place where fear, threat, danger, power, and hatred can combine to evoke a sense that the lives of those on the “other side” are valueless.  Neither side is immune from this internal poison.

Pray that the darkness of fear will not obscure a common humanity.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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