What aspects of this account seem to lessen the responsibility of the Romans for Jesus' death? How does Jesus react to the various sufferings he goes through?
So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." Then the people as a whole answered, "His blood be on us and on your children!"(4) So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. (5)
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. . . .
From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (6) When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "This man is calling for Elijah." (7) At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him." Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. (8) After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion (9) and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, "Truly this man was God's Son!"
New Revised Standard Version
(2) Perhaps a popular anti-Roman agitator.
(3) Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea.
(4) A line unfortunately quoted frequently in history to excuse persecution of Jews.
(5) Nailing to a cross was one of the most common forms of execution used by the Romans, designed to cause a protracted, agonizing death. There were instances of people having survived quite lengthy periods of crucifixion. According to Mark 15: 44, Pilate was astonished that Jesus had not survived into the evening.
(6) Although the four gospels give strikingly similar accounts of the trial and crucifixion, they each report different "last words." Some see these words as stressing the humanity of Jesus. Others argue that since these are the opening words of Psalm 22, which ends by expressing confidence in God, that confidence is implied in the quotation.
(7) An ancient prophet whom Jews believe will return in the time of the Messiah.
(8) Jesus' sacrifice is portrayed as producing life after death immediately. This incident is not mentioned elsewhere.
(9) Roman officer.
This is an excerpt from Reading About the World, Volume 1, edited by Paul Brians, Mary Gallwey, Douglas Hughes, Azfar Hussain, Richard Law, Michael Myers Michael Neville, Roger Schlesinger, Alice Spitzer, and Susan Swan and published by Harcourt Brace Custom Publishing.
The reader was created for use in the World Civilization course at Washington State
University, but material on this page
may be used for educational purposes by permission of the editor-in-chief:
Reading About the World is now out of print. You can search for used copies using the following information:Paul Brians, et al. Reading About the World, Vol. 1, 3rd edition, Harcourt Brace College Publishing: ISBN 0-15-567425-0 or Paul Brians, et al. Reading About the World, Vol. 2, 3rd edition, Harcourt Brace College Publishing: ISBN 0-15-512826-4.
http://www.chambal.com/csin/9780155674257/ (vol. 1)
http://www.chambal.com/csin/9780155128262/ (vol. 2)
This page has been accessed times since December 18, 1998.