Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to be tortured so mercilessly before dying to forgive our sins? I have. Today I got a glimpse into this.

An arrogance prevalent among religious people states they are not as bad as some others. Consider the story Jesus told (Luke 18:9-14) of the Pharisee (a religious layperson) and a tax collector (a bureaucrat working for the enemy) going to prayer at the same time and place.

“The Pharisee stood up and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people!…’ “(Luke 18:11a God’s Word©).

Our sinfulness, arrogance, rebellion, deception and self-delusion, among other behaviours, mean everyone, even the religious, need spiritual washing (Romans 3:23). As gut-wrenching as it is for the humble, Jesus had to be treated that way by the religious people and government in hopes of driving home how contemptible our crimes stand and that God’s plan is to love us to heaven. No one stands guiltless, or even less guilty, than anyone else. A sanitized death would only feed religion’s obsession with appearance, order, comparative guilt and bigotry.

jesus-love-your-enemies-lgAs painful and unhuman as it is, I have to admit I am capable of grotesque actions that brutalize the innocent. A single word, a leer, a mere “humph” cuts another deeply. I am guilty.

I ask Jesus to discipline me, and Paraclete to counsel me, to overcome that so-easy-to-fall-into human condition.

I am so sorry Jesus, that you had to suffer so extremely to show that I am no better than anyone else and capable of demeaning behaviour, and as such with a great need for Divine compassion lest I get what I deserve instead of what your kindness gives.

“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13d God’s Word©).


This Lent I am being led on a pilgrimage. I do not yet know if it is from persecution or to suffering or through both. Nevertheless the journey has begun.