Summary: A message of the passion for the view point of a roman officer

The Passion

Matthew 27:27-31

Then he (who was Pilate the Roman governor) released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Markus stared at the uniform carefully draped over the chair next to his bed. It was a uniform he was proud to wear. He recalled his vow to defend his country against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Those were not just mere words, as he spoke them, they came from the heart. Everyday since he has put on that uniform and stood shoulder to shoulder with other men who believed in the same principals he was trying to live by. Sure you could find those the army who were there for either of the money or the power, but he and his buddies had joined because deep down they realized it was a calling, but it was more than just a calling, more than just a vocation, it was their destiny.

Not everyone understood his pride in serving his country. In fact in the last twenty years he had been stationed in every corner of the earth. Some would greet him with open arms because they knew when the army of the greatest nation of earth arrived the reign of terror they had lived under was soon to end.. But others, far too many others, saw his presence as an uninvited invasion to rip control from the hands of their leaders and to give it instead to bumbling politicians who because of greed or incompetence failed to make it in past but now were given authority in a distant land. More than once he had taken up arms to defend his country against these misguided terrorist. People who would sacrifice they own people in order to maim or kill one of his men. And in honesty too many times he had raised his weapon to protect one of those inept leaders from back home.

In fact, this morning, as he stares at his uniform, he has once again been assigned the task of babysitting one such leader.

Over the last few years he had risen through the ranks, and now her was in charge 80 soldiers. He had received orders to escort this foolish political creature to the capital of yet another rebellious country to insure the peace, and to make matters worse, it is during one of their most important religious holidays. He and his men had come in during the night, and he had been too tired to read the orders closely.

He remembered, this time the city is named Jerusalem, and the religious festival is the Passover.

Markus recalled the legionary tell them in a briefing to expect over a million people to visit Jerusalem this week. Over a million people crammed into the dirty narrow streets of this city. It was a riot waiting to happen.

Markus slipped on the uniform and walked out onto the make sift parade grounds. His troops were just waking. The orangeish-yellow glow of the raising sun reflected off his armor as he approached them. Markus could tell by the nervousness in their voices, and the way everything hushed as he got closer they feared the worse.

“Good Morning,” Markus managed with bogus cheer.

“Have you heard how many people are coming to this thing,” Pollia, a leader of a tent party, or eight men, asked.

“We were told to expect about a million,” Markus replied.

He watched as the their faces clouded with fear.

Fear or not, they had a job to do, they had a job to do. He rallied his eighty men and they joined the rest of the cohort or 480 and presented themselves to Pilate the governor.

The festival was going well, a few minor fights to break up, and of course crowd control issues, but nothing to really difficult to handle. That was until Friday morning.

Friday morning, as the troops assembled, Markus saw a disturbance in the court yard. It seemed the religious leaders from this backwater territory were bringing a criminal in to be judged by Pilate.

Markus listened to see if he could hear what was going on.

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