The Degradation of Humanity

Jesus’ crucifixion reveals the sad and surprising degradation of man. Pilate realized Jesus was innocent, yet yielded to the jealousy of the leaders and perverted justice. Thinking to preserve his own position, he revealed how unworthy he was of it. In so doing, Pilate reveals the addictive power of an exalted position. Once attained a leader may do unwise, foolish and even evil things in order to preserve that position. The soldiers took advantage of an innocent individual because they didn’t believe or understand who he was. They perverted their power and used it to cause suffering on a person in a weaker position simply for their own entertainment. They reveal the common human tendency to use humor at the expense of another person. Often a person, who is not in a position to respond or clarify, but forced to laugh, while swallowing down the hurt. The religious leaders of the day, used their power and position in order to destroy a person whom they perceived to be a threat to them. They allowed their jealousy and anger to rule. Even today, we see people in positions of power attacking others seeking to destroy the reputation of those with whom they disagree, using ridicule and spinning the facts in order to discredit their opponents. As the common man ridiculed Jesus as they passed by, we need not look very far in today’s world to see people ridiculing others with whom they disagree. The people despised Jesus because they perceived weakness in his being crucified. When their own hopes for Jesus were not fulfilled they turned on him. They reveal to us the all too common response when people become disillusioned; they turn against what they thought would help them. The one thief crucified with Jesus poured upon Jesus his insults out of the bitterness of his own suffering. Only one individual, a thief dying with Jesus revealed a hope for humanity. As he died with all hope lost for this world, he placed his hope and trust in Jesus. While in one scene, we observe all the defects of humanity in the reactions of the people toward Jesus, we also see the one hope for humanity in the response of a dying man who had lived a misguided life. All those who should have believed in Jesus abandoned him, but one who should never have believed did. In him we also observe the mystery of God’s working in, through and with humanity. Even in the darkest moments there is hope! Even when the majority seems to have lost their collective mind, one small voice will continue to speak the truth. For that we can rejoice and be thankful.

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