Law and Disorder
Scripture Reading — Matthew 27:27-31
The governor’s soldiers . . . twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. — Matthew 27:27-29
For some of the refugee immigrants in a church I served, it took years before they could bring themselves to share with me the stories of atrocities they had witnessed, and of the horrific physical abuse and torture they had endured. These incidents had led them to realize that there was no possible future for them in the village, town, city, and country of their birth. Why? Because the perpetrators of these atrocities and torture were the very people who were supposed to maintain order and protect their fellow citizens: the police, the national guard, the officers and soldiers of their homeland’s army.
The Roman Empire prided itself on its claim that it brought peace, prosperity, stability, order, and the rule of law throughout its vast domain, from Gaul (France) to the Persian Gulf. Key to its fulfillment of this claim was the supposed strict discipline and restraint of the soldiers in the imperial army.
Order and discipline disappeared, however, when Jesus came under the custody of the Roman army’s garrison in Jerusalem. They seized the opportunity to beat and torture their helpless prisoner with a crown of thorns even before they led him out to the place of execution.
Again, Jesus suffered all this for you and for me.
Father God, we pray today for people around the world who are victimized by the very people and institutions that should be protecting them. Save them, Lord; bring them to safe places. Amen.