I didn’t casually choose the illustration: I never present violence, or anything meant to crudely shock.
I haven’t seen Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ; I assume this is a still from it.
Either way, it shows what happened to Jesus, doesn’t it? The only reason to show it in any way less graphic would be in order to make us feel better.
That’s all Christ does, is make us feel better.
But not today. Today Christ does not save us. Today Christ, and we, are beyond saving—and hope. And love. And everything else in the world worth a damn.
Today we all go down.
From The Book of Mark. If there’s one day of the year on which you should attentively read this, it’s today.
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace, and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”
Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves.
“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
We are the people who killed Jesus.