Hope in the Heartland
On a hill, far away
(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series leading to Easter.)
Pastor of Peabody Bible Church
Numerous people pointed at Jesus, some laughing and others weeping. The soldier overheard others discussing how Pilate had repeatedly wavered before finally agreeing to have Jesus crucified.
Pilate’s cowardice made the soldier grimace in disgust. He had heard many condemned men plead their innocence while being beaten or crucified, but hearing that Pilate had more than once proclaimed that Jesus was not guilty of anything worthy of death was infuriating. What difference did the death of one more Jew make to Rome? Innocence or guilt were only matters of opinion as far as the soldiers were concerned. Indecisiveness was weakness in their eyes.
“We don’t make appeals here, only corpses,” he stated flatly, still unable to take his eyes off Jesus.
After shoving one of the other condemned men to the ground, one soldier spoke to another and said, “Pilate can wash his hands of this because he doesn’t actually do the killing.”
“Perhaps, but water does little to cleanse a guilty conscience,” the other replied.
“A conscience? What’s that?” and the soldiers laughed.
A soldier carelessly forced a cup of bitter wine to the mouth of Jesus, who upon tasting the vinegary liquid, refused to drink.
“Suit yourself, your majesty. This is the only cup you drink from again … unless you have a cup that I don’t know about.” He shook his head at Jesus in disgust and moved to the next victim, who eagerly gulped the pain-killing drink.
To be continued …