The Cross and the Lynching Tree

SERIES – The Young and the Restless

Acts 10:39 NIV

We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,

John 19:1-3; 12-15 GNV

1     Then Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped.

2     The soldiers made a crown out of thorny branches and put it on his head; then they put a purple robe on him

3     and came to him and said, “Long live the King of the Jews!” And they went up and slapped him.

12   When Pilate heard this, he tried to find a way to set Jesus free. But the crowd shouted back, “If you set him free, that means that you are not the Emperor’s friend! Anyone who claims to be a king is a rebel against the Emperor!”

13   When Pilate heard these words, he took Jesus outside and sat down on the judge’s seat in the place called “The Stone Pavement.” (In Hebrew the name is “Gabbatha.”)

14   It was then almost noon of the day before the Passover. Pilate said to the people, “Here is your king!”

15   They shouted back, “Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Do you want me to crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “The only king we have is the Emperor!”

“Crucifixion was a Roman form of a public service announcement: Do not engage in sedition as this person has, or your fate will be similar. The point of the exercise was not the death of the offender as such but getting the attention of those watching. Crucifixion first and foremost is addressed to an audience.”

Paula Fredrickson

New Testament Scholar

John 18:38-40 GNV38 “And what is truth?” Pilate asked. Then Pilate went back outside to the people and said to them, “I cannot find any reason to condemn him. 39 But according to the custom you have, I always set free a prisoner for you during the Passover. Do you want me to set free for you the king of the Jews?” 40 They answered him with a shout, “No, not him! We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a bandit.)

Jesus as the first lynchee means that Christ identified with Black oppression.

Hebrew 4:15 MSG – We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.

Bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem; the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.

I. The cross and the lynching tree is humanity at its worst.

To be woke means to:

Be aware and conscious of the various forms of oppression and injustice.

Come to grips with the fact that almost everything you have been taught about American justice is a lie.

Know that America is not a democracy but a skintocracy.

Remember the words of Zora Neal Hurston, “All your skinfolk ain’t your kinfolk.”

II. The cross and the lynching tree shows God at God’s best.

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