The shooting death of Trayvon Martin has grown into a national discussion. In this Holy Week, a re-read of the biblical record gives us cause to ponder another unjust death. With the background of the Trayvon Martin case, I’ve become further aware of the injustice bestowed on the first century Teacher from Galilee.
The death of Trayvon Martin has rekindled national debates about racism, stereotypes, and profiling. At the heart of the emotion and outrage is a deep sense of injustice.
It is remarkable that there was no petition for justice in the case of Jesus of Nazareth. No protestor proclaiming, “No justice, no peace.” Nothing like the “I am Trayvon Martin” t-shirt. The gospel writers clearly underscore Jesus’ innocence, but absolutely no one stands up for him. Neither did the early Christians protest. Instead they actually celebrated the injustice. The very “logo” of Christianity is the device by which Jesus was unjustly executed.
The death of Trayvon has permeated the news media cycle. Family and friends say, “We will not forget.” But as is typical with tragic events, they slowly dissipate from memory. The 24-hour news cycle grabs the next tragedy.
It is remarkable that news of the cross event has not gone away. Not only has Jesus “not been forgotten,” but he has advanced into the very lives and activity of his followers for 2,000 years. He is not only a memory, but a “living present,” and “future.”
The death of Trayvon has vilified the shooter, George Zimmerman. Rightly or wrongly, he is clearly the national “bad guy.”
It is remarkable that Jesus dies for the “bad guys” and villains. For the thief on his periphery. For his executors as he says, “Father, forgive them.”
What we have in the case of this first century Jew is nothing short of remarkable. No news media outlet could have spun this story. Maybe there is a divine author after all.