15th April 2022
Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42.
The death of Jesus was the result of the conspiracy of those afraid of the guilt of their sins. The spiritual laxity of the entire biblical Jewish people resulted in a civil crisis that brought in Pontius Pilate as the Roman Governor of Judea. The presence of the governor in the region was a threat to the corrupt practices in the temple which for the most part remained unchecked. The hatred for the Romans was as a result of the narrative controlled by the Jewish religious leadership in order to shift blames. Rather than leading the people to repentance, the religious leadership sought for a scapegoat in Jesus in order to divert attention from their corrupt practices. Jesus was a suitable victim because he is different; he is the son of God. The death of Jesus will be conducive to public order and buy more time for the temple corruption. Pilate will benefit from the public order while the temple corruption remain unchecked. The crowd was easily bought over because it sought for escape from the guilt of its involvement in the spiritual laxity. And so it was that the lamb of God became the lamb of sacrifice.
Jesus accepted death in order to expose the evil mechanism of scapegoating. Rather than uniting the people and restoring order in the society, his death revealed the killing of an innocent man. Anytime we shift blames, an innocent person suffers. His death revealed that peace is not achieved with the blood of the innocent. Peace comes through reconciliation, thus he forgave those who crucified him with the words; Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. The mechanism in us that constantly accuse us and force us to shift blames is what he exposed and destroyed. Accepting the blame due to our sins, opens the door to repentance and forgiveness. His death has destroyed the guilt of our sins and restored confidence in forgiveness and reconciliation.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.