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Saturday, 17 March 2018

March 18, 2018

Jesus Condemned - Lent 5

Jesus Condemned – Lent 5

March 18, 2018

John 19:1-16a


It’s important to read the Bible. It’s good to listen to the Bible being read, too.  Another way of receiving the message is dramatization, seeing and hearing the Bible portrayed. 


Franco Zeffirelli directed the movie, Jesus of Nazareth.  I think it’s the best movie about Jesus ever made.  This is a clip that contains much of what you just heard and read in today’s lesson:


The version of the reading we read today says, “Here is the man.”  I like the movie version.  The Latin words are, “Ecce homo”.  One English translation is, “Behold the man.”


What happens when we take a good look at Jesus as he would have appeared in the lesson today?  He’s been beaten.  He’s been whipped 39 times.  He is wrapped in some purple cloth and blood is running down his face from the crown of thorns pressed into his face and scalp.


“Behold the man.”  Pilate wanted the Jewish leaders to see a pathetic figure.  They wanted them to see a man who could not possibly be thought of us a king, a man who could be a threat to no one.


But that’s not what we see.  We see a man who took all the pain and abuse for us.  We see the man who makes the gift of forgiveness possible.   We see a man who makes the gift of life beyond this life possible.  We see the Son of God, come into this world to let us know we are and will forever be loved even at the cost of his own suffering and death.


John Steinbeck wrote the book, Grapes of Wrath.  It later was made into a classic movie.  It’s the story of the Joad family.  They lost their home during the Dust Bowl years is Oklahoma and made the decision, along with thousands of other “Okies”, to move to California.


It wasn’t the magic solution to their problems.  Their life continued to be difficult and they experienced discrimination all along the way.  A former preacher, Jim Casy, made the trip with the family.  Jim Casy had been run out of his congregation for not being religious enough, not preaching a strict enough message.  It seems he had too much compassion and he continued to show that compassion during the trip and when the travelers arrived in California.


Jim Casy made a statement that stayed with Tom Joad, the main character in the story.  Tom Joad remembered Casy said.  Tom Joad told his mother, “(Casy) Says one time he went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an’ he foun’ he didn’t have no soul that was his’n. Says he foun’ he jus’ got a little piece of a great big soul.”


Here’s how Tom Joad told his mother about the words and how they affected him:


Having a piece of Jim Casy’s soul, the greater soul of kindness and compassion, Tom Joad was driven to be part of the lives of others, the good times and the difficult ones.  Knowing the care Jim Casy had about people led Tom Joad to care about people.   Wherever people were living life, Tom Joad believed a piece of his soul, which was part of the great soul, would be there.


“Behold the Man”. Jesus was despised and rejected, but he was willing to go through is because he loves everyone. 


We know that wherever we are, his love is with us.  His caring is with us.  His spirit is with us. And living in the Holy Spirit of Jesus, we love and care for and give to others just as he has done for us.


We know that the love of God we have through Jesus is with us wherever . . . and forever.