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Lent reflection Cover Image

The Lamb of God (i), John 19:1-7

14th Apr 2019

1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.” (NRSV) 

 lamb of god

 

When I was a small girl, my father used to take me on walks around our sleepy village. There came a day when one of these walks led to a sight that was to impact my life incredibly. We visited a small street where an imposing statue of Jesus shone starkly in the afternoon sunlight. I will never forget that sight for as long as I live. Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross with cruel thorns adorning His head. I could do nothing yet stare. To a small girl, the sight of such a cruel image was disturbing, for the body, especially the face of Jesus was extremely beautiful, whilst the pierced hands and feet, with blood trickling down forehead and cheeks, seemed such a contraction. I was alarmed, disturbed, yet strangely intrigued.

In John 19:7, the Jewish Leaders informed Pilate "By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God’’. Recognising he was dealing with somebody innocent, yet a figure of serious controversy, Pilate washed his hands of all involvement with Jesus, adamant in affirming his innocence publicly. Even Pilate’s own wife warned: "Leave that innocent man alone, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him’’( Matthew 27:1). My guess is that Pilate was feeling way ‘out of his depth’, fearful of the consequences he might face, if indeed he was truly dealing with the ‘Son of God’. I might have been a child when I first gazed upon Christ crucified, yet I knew I was strangely moved and even in my state of childhood naivety, clearly recognised that this statue was of no ordinary man. Pilate, I believe too, knew he was dealing with someone unique and out of the ordinary. Somebody that he was not prepared to lie about.

Do we sometimes forget who we are dealing with in our lives? Is there ambiguity between us facing our ‘tangible’ existence, yet at the same time realising that we are surrounded by overwhelming evidence of the handiwork and impact of our Creator? Do we recognise that we have a definite spiritual dimension to our lives? So often we unwittingly crucify Jesus again by dressing Him up in words of angst. We place upon His dear body garments of doubt. We whip Him with lashes of resentment and fear. We place upon His head a piercing misrepresentation of His Divine identity. Remember the words of Pilate? "Take Him yourselves and Crucify Him’’ (John 1:6). Is this what we really want? Even as an innocent child, I recognised the ambiguity of Jesus’ appearance and although I did not understand the implications of it, I innately knew I was gazing upon an incredible phenomenon.

May we have eyes that see and welcome Jesus into joyful, grateful hearts. May we honour, praise and worship Him for His great sacrifice on our behalf. Let us recognise Him in all His dazzling radiance and ensure that He is never crucified, mistreated or misrepresented ever again.

Shelly Jones, Distance Learning student