This is not how you conquer the world…

“I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.”

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.”

“…though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness…”

“One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity
to hand him over…

“Then he said to them,
‘My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.’
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying,
‘My Father, if it is possible,
let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will, but as you will.’

“Then the high priest tore his robes and said,
‘He has blasphemed!
What further need have we of witnesses?
You have now heard the blasphemy;
what is your opinion?’
They said in reply,
‘He deserves to die!’
Then they spat in his face and struck him,
while some slapped him, saying,
‘Prophesy for us, [messiah]: who is it that struck you?’

“Then the soldiers of the governor took [him] inside the praetorium
and gathered the whole cohort around him.
They stripped off his clothes
and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head,
and a reed in his right hand.
And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying,
‘Hail, King of the Jews!’
They spat upon him and took the reed
and kept striking him on the head.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him off to crucify him.”

“And about three o’clock [he] cried out in a loud voice,
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’
which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
‘This one is calling for Elijah.’
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge;
he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed,
gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said,
‘Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.’
But [he] cried out again in a loud voice,
and gave up his spirit.”


Or is it?

“And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened,
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection,
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over [him]
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake
and all that was happening, and they said,
‘Truly, this was the Son of God!'”

This is not merely the shaking of the earth, although that is impressive.  It is the shaking of hearts – the rocks that were split included hearts of stone – and this man dying between criminals convinces his executioners that he is the Foundation of the world, he is the very One sustaining them in existence, even as he dies; they see that he could have – as the shaking earth attests – laid all of the Roman Empire to waste with a single command (perhaps “Requiescant in Pacem”).  And he submits to death instead.

That you know his name, in spite of all of this , suggests that the conquest was of another kind.  Indeed, it is in your midst.

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