blessed are you, Jesus

[The following is an excerpt from Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin Jr. (Zondervan, 1992) pp106-107.]

Now the soldiers lead him away, inside the palace (that is, the Praetorium). 

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."  But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil…

… Jesus had already been scourged with the flagellum.  His back is bleeding.  When they pull a purple cloak across his shoulders, the blood soaks through.  They weave a crown from the thorny branches of a nearby shrub.  They stick this to his head, brow and scalp.

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

The soldiers begin to salute him in raucous mockery of high office, hooting, "Hail, you King of the Jews!"

"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  And if you salute your friends alone, what more are you doing than others?  Even sinners do the same."

And they strike his head with a reed, pitiful sign for a scepter…

… And they turn and spit on him…

… And they kneel down in grinning homage to him…

… And when they've grown weary of the game, they strip him of the purple cloak (a mantle belonging to someone nameless Roman soldier) and put his own clothes back on him.

"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you and…"

And so those who led him into the palace now lead him out again, to crucify him.


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