Saturday, June 21, 2008
The Scriptures tell us it was an easily swayed mob that called for Jesus to be crucified and Barabbas to be released. Not the Jews as a whole but rather those in position of power over them who led the drive for crucifixion. They could just as easily have been Americans swayed by powerful politicians. The mob, I might venture, was poor and working-class, whatever meaning working-class could have had in that day. The people in power were likely better off, and possibly even some of them rich. Who crucified Jesus? The rich and the poor, the blind and the seeing, the sheep and the goats. All of these. Even Peter, who in the Catholic Church is regarded as the first Pope, in a sense crucified Jesus by his vehement denial of Christ. In a theological sense it is taught, and I believe it proper to believe, that you and I share the responsibility for this Crucifixion. But what does that mean historically? Does it mean that had we been there we would have been among the ringleaders or the mob? Was there not one human being in all of the Roman Empire who knew of the Crucifixion and did not somehow consent? Or does it simply mean that by virtue of our sinful nature we contribute to the necessity of Christ's death and resurrection? Is there any other sense in which it is proper to say that we crucify Jesus?