Some of those present began to spit at him, and to blindfold his eyes, and strike him, saying, as they did so, “Now play the prophet!” and even the police officers received him with blows.
an ephphatha spit
from tongue to tongue
opens life to life
from tongue to face
is spit impossible tasks
by those not listening
should word of a better tomorrow
enter their presence today
they would still hold to yesterday
there is no prophecy
exempt from present fear
and its reactive response
To be condemned is to be exiled and to be exiled places one in the position of being a non-person. This makes it easy to further dehumanize. Spitting, hooding, striking, mocking all add up to, “You no longer matter.”
This is more than bullying because there is no possible countervailing force to force a bully to back off. This is fair game for as long as anyone wants to continue hurting. This is a denial of a Neighb*r.
Dismissal and beating are what can be expected. A being diminished past the point of being a nobody can be expected. Jesus has affirmed these expectations for quite some time and now he is tortured in the Guantanamo of his day.
The guards here are probably the same as those Peter sat with. By the property of contagion, Peter can be said to beat Jesus, not just betray him. This is a striking proposition that heightens the deep sorrow embedded in this scene. False witness has become true pain. These sticks-and-stones do hurt; they add injury to insult.
Prophets are often not well received. When it is evident that their message is not being heard, we know the line is coming, “Let those with ears, hear….” We can see that ears have closed with the dismissal of Jesus, not just as Messiah, Anointed, from the Blessed One, or adam’s Image (Human One), but as a prophet representing a G*D represented in all of those titles.
The game being played with a blindfolded Jesus is for him to guess who hit him. “Prophesy” taunts Jesus, asking him to play the game. Given his previous silence, while being accused, we can also see Jesus not responding to this game which results in more hits—each one harder than the last.