Chapter Twenty in The Alabaster Jar by Theresia Saers
Jesus, however, refuses to answer any of Herods questions. Perhaps because Herod is the man who has had John the Baptist killed? Herod is aware that he is looking foolish. That realisation makes him think of a way to strike back at the prisoner who, although powerless, is still so frustratingly strong as to hold his own against him, the Tetrarch. Furiously, he orders Jesus to be dressed up in a fools robe and sent back to Pilate. He knows full well that Pilate will not have the moral strength to withstand the High Priests and will therefore commit the murder that Herod himself is itching to carry out.
When the Master, humiliated, beaten to within an inch of his life, crowned with thorns and thus exposed to the crowds, returns to Pilate, the latter is at the end of his wits. He is definitely against the death penalty for a man who appears to have committed no real crime. Yet, in order to keep the crowd happy, he does what many after him will later do in courts of justice where prisoners of conscience stand trial: he decides to beat his prisoner to within an inch of his life.
Mary must have seen Jesus brought out, when Pilate shows what is left of the prisoner. ´ Look what you have done! ´ It is not sufficient for the elders of Judea. They want his death. They are scared of his power.
´ If you do not execute this man, you are no friend of the Emperor, because this man calls himself King, ´, they shout. Pilate is defeated. If these Judeans accuse him at the court of the Emperor, it will mean the end of his career. He has one more word. Maybe he can offer a scapegoat. Would they not rather have an old privilege granted again and have the robber and murderer Barabbas executed? No, they do not!
´ I am to kill your King? ´ The mob seems to have been turned into beasts by all that has happened and now they start to cry ´, ´ Crucify him. Crucify him.´
When finally Jesus hears his death sentence, there is hardly any semblance of humanity left in his appearance. Most of his friends have run off, among them Peter, whom Jesus used to call the Rock. I do not know what I would have done, there was a prospect for the men of very real danger. I do know however that the women followers of Jesus held their own. When Jesus was going the last part of his way of the Cross, Mary and some of the women were there along the route; they did not desert him, even if there was nothing else they could do. Do not weep for me, Jesus told them. ´ Keep your tears for yourselves and your children ´.
Jesus was exhausted and fell twice. The soldiers forced a man coming in from his work in the country to help Jesus carry his cross.
© Theresia Saers
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