Monday, 18 April 2011

Station III: Jesus Condemned by the Sanhedrin

Being condemned by our enemies is bad enough, but it is bearable because it is a part of that relationship. In truth, in the same circumstance, we would perhaps do the same. As we walk these Stations, we share not only in the physical moments of the journey to the cross, but we are invited to take in some of the emotional material too. We can never be Jesus, or even come close to knowing how he would have felt in these protracted hours. 

Being condemned or rejected by our own (be that our employer, our family, friends, church community, and so on ...) is the worst kind. I think that is to do with feeling safe among our friends and colleagues  - those who are supposed to share the same opinions to a greater or lesser extent. Being condemned by our own is altogether more unbearable because it not typically part of the relationship. Jesus being condemned by the occupying forces of the Roman Empire would have had far less significance than the eventual betray by the Great Council - the Sanhedrin. Jesus was a observant Jew, and the Sanhedrin the equivalent to his General Synod. To be condemned by Richard Hawkins would irk me, but to be condemned by my bishop or archbishop would cut all the more deeply. This station speaks of the depth of desolation that Jesus will have experienced. Forsaken by his Father, by one of his closest friends, and now his faith community - to the mocking jeers and taunts of the crowds - Jesus cannot have felt more alone,  abandoned by the ones he was called to save.

"All of them condemned him as deserving death" [Mk 14: 64]

At this Station, my prayer is for those people who have been condemned by their peers and their families; for those who feel utterly alone in this fast-moving information-overload age; for those who will lose their lives as a result of being mis-understood by those who should have known them best of all. 

Lord Jesus, you were the victim of religious bigotry:

be with those who are persecuted by small-minded authority.
You faced the condemnation of fearful hearts:
deepen the understanding of those who shut themselves off from the
experience and wisdom of others.
To you, Jesus, unjustly judged victim,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen

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