Sunday, April 22, 2007

Station 1 - Jesus is condemned to die by Pontius Pilate

(click on the image to enlarge it)

“Crucify Him!”

This piece is constructed of images of actual people gathered in mobs to witness or to carry out lynchings. It references the frightening power of mobs, as also seen in the crucifixion story of Jesus. Although Pilate, as the Roman governor of occupied Jerusalem, has the power to condemn or release prisoners, he condemns an innocent man to a horrific torturous death.

We’ve posted here the account according to Luke (see "comments" for scripture), but other gospel accounts report that Pilate symbolically washed his hands in front of the crowd, telling them that he is not responsible for Jesus’ death.

A bloody-water-filled bowl is usually displayed with this piece, to represent the water that Pilate used to wash his hands, suggesting that his hands can never become clean of his actions. He is in fact responsible for what he has done.

When have we denied or forfeited our power to do the right thing, allowing something to happen which we might have prevented?

artist: Nanette Sawyer
24" x 20"
Collage on canvas board

Images used in this collage are from the book, Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, by James Allen, et. al.

1 comment:

scripture said...

Luke 23:13-25

Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people, and he announced his verdict.

"You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent.

"Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. So I will have him flogged, but then I will release him."

Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, "Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!"

(Barabbas was in prison for murder and for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government.) Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus.

But they shouted, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

For the third time he demanded, "Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. I will therefore flog him and let him go."

But the crowd shouted louder and louder for Jesus' death, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded.

As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he delivered Jesus over to them to do as they wished.