Mark 15:18

and then began to salute him. “Long life to you, king of the Jews!” they said.

everyone passing these gates
must give up hope
there is none
up to the job

those who do so gracefully
have our admiration
we honor them
in our own way

soldiers recognize their own
bound by larger orders
and salute an enemy
who shapes their own identity

with none of the usual irony
every Jew carries all the rest
each is a queen a king
anything less devalues our work

“Hey!” is too informal for the import of χαίρω (chairō, rejoice, be well, rejoice). Bratcher482 indicates that chairō “can be translated by the indigenous equivalent of ‘Long live the King’….” This is a much better mock than the casual, “Hey.”

Note that this is the soldiers who derisively use the title, “King of the Jews.”

Readers have had much practice to this point in knowing more than the characters on the page. Readers can see through Mark’s use of irony that the one mocked as a King is, for Mark, the way he sees the situation.

Interrogation, sleep deprivation, more interrogation, and a whipping are imposed to weaken resolve and lead to a denial of intention. There is an implied dignity with Jesus’ silence in the face of accusations, physical abuse, and mockery. All of this is background to what Nikos Kazantzakis labeled as “The Last Temptation of Christ”—that which would lead Jesus to back away from his own admonition to bear one’s cross when their soul is crushed and hope is so unseen as to not be present.

Readers are beginning to question if they are going to be silent in the face of what is happening to Jesus and to people of every time and clime. Athletes practice visualization of how they will do when it comes time for them to perform. Mark’s Readers are in a similar situation regarding a visualization of their Belovedness, Wilderness Retreats, Healing, Wisdom, and Transfiguration as they face the realities of their time and the pain present in their life and the life of individuals and crowds around them.

Will they be open to a surprise of having power taken from them as they travel, to redefine their family partners, and to come down from their privileged altitude of understanding observer?

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