Mark 15:15

And Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them, and, after scourging Jesus, gave him up to be crucified.

in the end rulers aren’t
to lead beyond followers
getting a perk here a buck there
will only shorten a reign

despots and crowds an unholy mix
bring each other down a peg
and then a whole step or era
competing over the smallest bits

this one must die
or everyone will die
we’re in agreement
for now

in a seeming few seconds
we’ll be at each other’s throats
common enemies keep enemies
apart for only so long

“Wanting to satisfy the crowd”, sounds like an unsanitized version of a church growth slogan. This is not much different than any established or aspiring power willing to say one thing to cover the doing of its opposite.

After the feeding of thousands, Jesus “released” or sent the crowds away. Presumably, they were sent away full or having received enough. Here Barabbas is being released, sent away, still a murderer, still an insurrectionist.

While there are no paper trails between Barabbas and the Maccabees or a developing Revolt, we can see him returning to his assassin ways.

A point can be made that the textual interplay between Abba and Barabbas “reflects and emphasizes the artificiality, and therefore the profound fictionality, of the entire sequence of the arrest/trials scenes in Mark” (Aichele13). Even so, this fiction also reveals the realities of power structures down through time—expeditiously trading for the most immediate gain.

Guards and soldiers have been mentioned before. They remind us that decisions are never made by other people without their implementation by still others at a remove from the decision-making, whether Herod’s guard sent for Baptizer John’s head or, here, the soldiers receiving Jesus.

This is a good time to remember to include ourselves and how we are complicit in political decisions. Buffy St. Marie wrote “Universal Soldier” in the early sixties. She said, “It’s about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.