Day Five: Making It All Legal

Mark starts out with the Sanhedrin working to get a death penalty conviction against Jesus. Mark 14:53-65. Certainly, Jesus was a threat to the established church and they would want to see him go. They have a problem though, their witnesses can’t keep their lies straight. So, the high priest just asks him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” After silence, Jesus answers the second time: I am.

Borg points out that there is ambiguity in the original text here, and this could as easily be translated “Am I?”, which is more in line with how Luke and Mathew do it.

This is enough for the religious establishment and Jesus is mocked and beaten. No opportunity for Nathan Hale style last words, as he was taken in secret and kept from his followers. He is left to be spit on by his enemies.

I’m going to stop there, because Mark 15 begins “Very early in the morning.”

We are entering the portion of the Passion often used for antisemitism. To that end, lets remember that all of the characters so far are Jews. The crowds that entered Jerusalem with him and cheered his word play while booing the representatives of the organized, established church were Jews. The bad guys in this story are not Jews, the bad guys are the adherents of organized religion who put their political power and rigid adherence to religious law ahead of the God’s love. Does that make anyone uncomfortable? Certainly not the message the medieval church, or the modern fundamentalist church, would be comfortable with. It is the type of message that a group might want to avoid preaching on; the type of message that might tempt one to use a scapegoat to direct attention away from ones own wickedness.

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