And they kept striking him on the head with a rod, spitting at him, and bowing to the ground before him – going down on their knees;
the most generous interpretation
continually falls short of reality
arrest intending death
brings demeaning to strengthen
our resolve to live red-toothed
that crown is too small
we’ll drive it deeper in
to make it more secure
so you won’t forget it
ahh that’s a better fit
now you look the part
the king is dead long live the king
we kneel for our own purpose
unaware of anything larger
Whether one is carrying one thorn or many, in or on one’s head, if it or they are repeatedly struck it brings back an initial pain until there is only pain.
Readers might see this as a sequence coming from soldier after soldier: hit, spit, kneel—hit, spit, kneel—hit, spit, kneel….
Each of these actions, including the mock kneeling, says, “You are in my power and there is nothing you can do about it. I’ll finish you off when I’m ready, not when you finally beg for it.
Here at the end of Mark’s story, the act of kneeling reminds us of earlier kneelings that speak to healing instead of killing a healer. In the midst of this scene of cruelty, remember these: a leper desiring healing (1:40); the recognition of demons that they were before an image of G*D (3:11); and a woman who bravely touched the edge of a cloak and was astonished to her core by her cure (5:33).
We can also remember Jesus using spit to heal, not hurt (7:33 and 8:23).
Even the violence of hitting is an echo to Jesus’ use of force in the Temple (11:15).
The more a Reader retains about the story, the more it can be appreciated as an art form. It is also a reminder that the doing of good is to be done for its own sake, not that it will guarantee a welcome reward. Good done in an unclean system that advantages the rich and powerful over the poor and controlled reveals the meanness hiding behind the hypnotic illusion of wealth that so easily captures our attention and becomes our measure of value. In this case, each good done brings a perversion of that good in return.