ASV Mark 15:1-5 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole Council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
Idealists, preachers, magic workers, and zealots were a dime a dozen in the Mediterranean world of the 1st century. This world was not short of religious, political, or social idealism, by any stretch of the imagination.
Idealism was most abundant. The zealous were often over-looked, however, by the powers that be. Ignoring these types proved to be a successful socio-political strategy. Preachers went on preaching. Magicians went on working their magic. Idealists continued inventing words that sounded so good. Sometimes, a band of unwise Jewish zealots would try to storm a Roman garrison in a foolish attempt to force a vision. The attempt failed, and regularly. The majority of dreamers were not, however, murdered by the Empire. They went about their business of preaching, teaching, and dreaming, with little or no attention offered from power brokers.
Jesus of Nazareth, on the other hand, received plenty of attention. He too traveled the landscape preaching, teaching, and working real, life-changing miracles. Something was different about his program though. His program actually began “growing feet” and was “put on the ground” in a manner common people could grab hold of and make tangible. Jesus of Nazareth’s idealistic program actually began to materialize into a sort of physical “Kingdom of God.” This Kingdom was the antithetical answer to a kingdom composed of unjust social, religious, and political entities. Jesus’ Kingdom, in fact, would result in the total annihilation of unjust social, political, and religious power-brokerage. It threatened the unjust status-quo, to say the least. It was God’s program on earth! It was the offer of forgiveness, acceptance, and equality. It was a potent threat of a Kingdom! It still is!
The powers of Empire, Religion, and Stratification could not permit such a “Kingdom” to exist, for obvious reasons. So, they condemned the leader, Jesus of Nazareth. Pilate, a vicious enforcer of Empire, led the charge to exterminate the subversive. They condemned Jesus to death, death on a Roman cross.
Artwork Used By Permission & Credit: Gwyneth Leech