It was a scandalous affair. A conspiracy of all sorts woven with selfish political and religious motives. 4 parties were involved in this scandalous affair – each with his own agenda – all because someone had rocked their boat.
One party was concerned that its authority had been undermined. For centuries its institution was revered as the premier authority on religious affairs. It had authority over the jews’ most central aspect of life – worship and liturgy. It’s members were held in high regard in the community and all over the province. Now that authority and esteem was being threatened by a carpenter from Nazareth. It needed to put an end to it’s established threat without tarnishing its pious and righteous image – the solution? Privately bribe one the disciples and seize the threat by night in some private garden in darkness.
Another party was stationed there to bring peace and order as part of the on-going pax romana campaign. Romans accepted all gods to ensure equality, but more importantly to ensure peace; for peace brings prosperity, revenue and order. Each roman annex had a representative ruler and this ruler cared only for one thing – maintaining the order of his province for the last thing he wanted was a bad record mark on his report card. He needed to show he was in charge ; instead he will go down in history as being with the man who took charge and approved the death of the Son of God.
His men were no less than mere props in the scandalous affair. Finally some real action to do damage – to show these Jewish peasants what Supreme Roman punishment was about. And their victim was an easy target anyway – a feeble Jewish Nazarene who claimed to be a king but with no army in sight. This must have been humorous for they were used to scourging and crucifying common thieves and brigands, but a king? As far as they knew and were trained – they was only one king, Caesar Augustus. This was going to be one rare treat for them.
On the other side of the camp were the Jews. There were 2 groups of Jews. One group had want nothing to do with him even though some of them would have brought their sick relatives to him and would have heard him share about God’s love and His kingdom to them just the week before at the temple. Others were too frightened to say a anything except to just keep away. Still others, for a few meager coins of silver would be bribed to come up with false stories about him to build a case against him. The religious authority after all had a pious image to maintain and could not be seen as the conspirators behind tis scandalous affair right?
Then and finally we see another group of Jews; the group that he loved and spent his life with. His so-called chosen ones, who basked in his glory when he fed the multitude; who saw Him transfigured in all majesty and awe ; low and simple nobodies who suddenly became coveted entourages and overnight celebrities ; who had a say on who could talk to the Master and who jostled for positions in this new kingdom – all disappeared without a trace, saving for one whom followed at a distance. The hypocrisy of it all is the one who claimed to be the spokesperson for the group; who boasted that he will never abandon the master; who even dared to tell the master to change the plan, and who at the end would deny his master not just once but 3 times.
For because of pride and power, appearances and image, egos and selfishness, fear and cowardice, we choose everyday to deny and crucify love – in our workplace and church, with our family and friends and with our own personal thoughts and deeds. Our selfishness, our pride and our fear leads us into a process of doubting Love to the rejection of Love and ultimately crucifying Love – we assume one of those 4 parties in our lives whether we realize it or not.
But Love doesn’t just stop there. Love wasn’t just to be static a one-hit wonder with some feel-good sentiments and teachings for history to quote and passively reflect upon. Love shows us what it means to love in a world sans love. Love also teaches us how to love ; and most importantly Love shows us how to love – by purity, humility, courage, self-forgetfulness and total self abandonment. Love uses the Cross and death as His primary instruments to teach and show us so that we too may use our crosses and our death ( death to sin by living a life of faith, hope and love) to love as Love loved.