Paschal Lamb (Lent Poems 13)

I feel that this poem might need a word of explanation, because I am very wary of it being misunderstood.

In the flow of the story, as we move from Pilate to the surprising response of the crowd to Pilate’s request to free Jesus, there is a need to hazard an explanation: why did the crowd call so vehemently for Jesus to be killed? It was certainly not a universal response among the Jewish people, many of whom either followed Jesus or were unaware of the debate that raged at that moment. But some did call for his death, and they were motivated at least in part by expediency: what Jesus represented seemed to threaten the already uneasy peace with Rome.

And so, at this point, we have two competing but intertwining interests: Pilate wanting to be seen by Rome as a good governor while also keeping the people happy; the people (some of them) wanting to avoid conflict with Rome but also wanting to protect their interests. Meanwhile, none seemed to understand the actual role that Jesus played: as the one perfect sacrifice for all involved – the perfect Passover Lamb.

Paschal Lamb
It is better, the priest said,
That one man die
Than all the nation
Be destroyed.
The words he spoke, we knew,
Were true. We’d seen before
The pagan hordes
Charge in with force,
Repel with scorn
Our frail attempts to
Stand up tall.
All the nation be destroyed:
Yes, we’d all
Seen that before:
In our minds, the
Shattered wall, the temple
Crushed to debris, and
The glory of the presence
Gone.
Better by far
That one man die.
He spoke a truth
We did not know,
But in the moment
All was clear:
Better for us
That one man die;
We raised assenting
Voices high.
Echoes off the palace walls
Shouted with us:
Crucify.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s