Station I: Jesus is Condemned to Death
We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Ecce, homo! Behold, the man!
The first image I found for "Jesus is Condemned" was from The Passion of the Christ. It was too gruesome to post here: By the time Pilate passes the sentence of death, Jesus is already beaten beyond recognition. He has already lost his friends. Judas and Peter have betrayed him. He has survived torture and scourging. The way of the cross, however, has only just begun.
Did he feel relief? Was there anything left in him that could even feel dread or sorrow? I want (and do not want) to follow him as he walks the final steps to see: What could possibly be left in a man so devastated?
Pilate, choosing not to sacrifice himself for this Jew, washes his hands in water. He proclaims his innocence, not knowing that he is not his own judge. He has condemned his Judge.
I have been both Christ and Pilate.
The moments when I feel condemned to another death--so small and petty compared with Christ's--also pass sentence on me. I confess, I have felt condemnation at moments when I should feel joy: That third positive pregnancy test comes to mind! I knew at that moment that, along with the great gift of a new life, we were also going to die to ourselves. Now, looking back, I have seen the life and resurrection, but in those first moments there was only the way of the cross.
But I have also been Pilate. When I saw that cross in front of me, I rejected it. I would rather, I tell my God, not. Really. You may be truth and life, but I really can't. You may say you are a king, but I have no king but me.
Christ forgave me even of this, and showed us his strength and resurrection in our third baby, Ana Therese. Condemnation--my condemnation of him, my condemnation of myself--became love.