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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The temptation of Pontius Pilate

Let me begin by saying that George Zimmerman is no Jesus, he’s just – in the immortal words of the NY Slimes – a “white Hispanic.” But as I walked into church this morning and saw the cross of Jesus on the wall the story of his crucifixion came to mind.

Earlier in the morning I read the Mansfield Frazier’s demand the Zimmerman should be convicted and jailed to avoid race riots. It struck me then how the Jewish mob 2000 years ago managed to get Jesus crucified.

For the unchurched among us let me review the plot. Jesus angered the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem who wanted him killed. They didn’t want to kill him themselves on feast days so they demanded that the Romans do it. The Romans, represented by Pontius Pilate, interrogated Jesus and did not find that he had broken any Roman law, so Pilate was going to let Jesus go. But that’s not what the mob wanted so they threatened Pilate, saying that if he let Jesus go he was “no friend of Caesar.” This was a serious political charge against a Roman governor and had the potential of a charge of treason against Pilate which could lead to execution.

Mansfield Frazier is demanding that the American people be Pontius Pilate. Frazier demands that we crucify George Zimmerman because if we don’t there will be mobs at our doors, and we will be told we are racists “no friend of black people.” And like Pilate, we may even be allowed to wash our hands.
After all, sacrificing one little “white Hispanic” for racial peace is worth it, isn’t it?

The ultimate fate of Pilate, the man, is not known. We know he was recalled to Rome but not what befell him there. But his fame is all about a little trial in Jerusalem that ended in the crucifixion of Jesus to appease a mob. Washing his hands didn’t clear him of guilt. Acceding to injustice cannot be washed away, no matter how loudly the mob calls for blood.

It struck me as I left church that there is very little new under the sun, and I will not be part of a mob that’s Pontius Pilate writ large.

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