Some columns back we wrote about death as the most feared enemy of man. In fact death has so much morbidity that no one ordinary, or perhaps only a very limited few mortals, would dare talk about death especially if it is their own.
But not Jesus Christ. In Mark 10.32-34 He talked openly about his own death.
32 Jesus and his disciples were now on the road going up to Jerusalem. Jesus was going ahead of the disciples who were filled with alarm; the people who followed behind were afraid. Once again Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and spoke of the things that were going to happen to Him.
33 “Listen,” He told them, “we are going up to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. They will condemn Him to death and then hand Him over to the gentiles,
34 who will make fun of Him, spit on Him, whip Him, and kill Him; but three days later He will rise to life.”
Yes, it is only Jesus, the Son of God who came to the world and became Man, knew why he was sent here by His Father – to redeem the people from the wages of sin. He was beforehand destined to give his life so others may live blessed lives.
Thus, if one knows exactly that he is here in this world for a noble purpose and that his death is the instrument to achieve such objective, then he has no qualms talking about his death whenever and wherever will it comes.
That is why we have heroes in our country. They knew that their advocacy means the betterment of the greater majority of our people. And they have given their lives so others may live to reap the fruit of the cause they have chosen to devote their lives to.
And they knew too well that pursuing their advocacy could mean alienating them from the powers that be. These powers were the very same sector that eventually pushed our heroes to their death.
In Mark 15.2-5 it says: Early in the morning the chief priests met hurriedly with the elders, the teachers of Law, and the whole council, and made their plans. They put Jesus in chains, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate.
2 Pilate questioned Him, “Are you the King of the Jews”?
Jesus said, “So you say.”
3 The chief priests were accusing Jesus of many things,
4 so Pilate questioned Him again, “Aren’t You going to answer? Listen to all their accusations!”
5 Again, Jesus refused to say a word and Pilate was amazed.
The bringing of Jesus to Pilate could be similar of today’s arraignment proceedings for a person or persons accused of certain crimes against humanity. When the accused refuses to enter a plea of guilty or answer the complaint it is the court that will enter a not guilty plea.
But unlike the notion that any accused who would not give any word is probably guilty, it is the litigation in court that will determine whether the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt or not.
But in Jesus’ case His supposed “arraignment” at the sala of Pontius Pilate was already the arraignment, litigation and formulation and rendering of judgment all rolled into one.
Pilate himself refused to act as judge. Instead he allowed the mob to render judgment on the Son of Man. So what else was expected for Jesus the accused at that time but a guilty verdict. The mob wanted Him dead and so He was killed with Pilate washing his hands on His fate, like today’s inhibition by prosecutors and judges in so many cases where they’d rather not want to be a part.
This practice of Jesus’ time is not yet dead today. How many times have the Philippines witnessed trials by publicity? How many times were certain accused are already rendered guilty in the eyes of the public because some sectors of the media aided by the mob have fallen into misplaced prejudices against an accused by clever manipulations of some interested parties?
Yes, certain practices of old were not really gone. Instead, these come back on a cycle.
So, this Holy Week we expect to see corrupt politicians, government officials, greedy corporate executives and capitalists prominently situating themselves in churches, giving generous donations as means of atonement.
We will again see a good number of activists and nationalists taking their supposed causes in the house of God. But how many of them are real and how many are pseudo? How many are fronts of vested interest groups and how many are not.
Only the future can tell.