1 The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate. 2 They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Messiah, a king.”
3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
He answered him, “So you say.”
4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
5 But they insisted, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place.” 6 But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he found out that he was in Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days.
8 Now when Herod saw Yeshua, he was exceedingly glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle done by him. 9 He questioned him with many words, but he gave no answers. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him. 11 Herod with his soldiers humiliated him and mocked him. Dressing him in luxurious clothing, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before that they were enemies with each other.
13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and behold, having examined him before you, I found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. 15 Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore chastise him and release him.”
17 Now he had to release one prisoner to them at the feast. 18 But they all cried out together, saying, “Away with this man! Release to us Barabbas!”— 19 one who was thrown into prison for a certain revolt in the city, and for murder.
20 Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Yeshua, 21 but they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify him!”
22 He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no capital crime in him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.” 23 But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. Their voices and the voices of the chief priests prevailed. 24 Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done. 25 He released him who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Yeshua up to their will.
26 When they led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Yeshua. 27 A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him. 28 But Yeshua, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to tell the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and tell the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?”
32 There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
34 Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Dividing his garments amongst them, they cast lots. 35 The people stood watching. The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
38 An inscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
39 One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, “If you are the Messiah, save yourself and us!”
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Don’t you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 He said to Yeshua, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
43 Yeshua said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 45 The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 Yeshua, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last.
47 When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous man.” 48 All the multitudes that came together to see this, when they saw the things that were done, returned home beating their breasts. 49 All his acquaintances and the women who followed with him from Galilee stood at a distance, watching these things.
This is St Luke’s telling of the passion. It is painful to read and moves us, like those who witnessed it, from bewilderment and anguish to grief. Jesus’ death and resurrection is important for Christians and has been a focus of Christian art for centuries. It is also the event that people who stridently reject the faith will deny, reject and perhaps even ridicule. But these strident aggressive reactions simply mirror, echo, those of the people who centuries ago foolishly thought that by crucifying Jesus, they had removed Jesus and God’s message from the earth.
If we are seduced into seeing Jesus’s crucifixion as an ending, like the thieves and those calling for Jesus death did, or his resurrection as a beginning. then we completely miss seeing the path of salvation. Jesus’ life and ministry on earth was, and is, not simply a unique event, but rather it is part of God’s relationship with us and with creation.
God’s love didn’t start or end with Jesus’s life on earth. It started at creation and is still going. In Jesus, God gave to us humans the practical example of how to live a life of love. This practical example is something we needed to have. Sadly, today it seems that we have forgotten the example. We are being seduced into believing other journey’s and paths are more important, more meaningful, more relevant and more valid. These other paths don’t speak of love but the opposite and strive to make themselves the predominant message, or way of life.
Remember what Jesus said. “even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 28). So, the practical way to live the two great commandments (love the Lord your God and love your neighbour) is through service.