1 MAN TO MAN
Two men opposite each other. One seated, one standing. The judge is seated, the defendant has to remain standing, master and slave. No-one else. Neither does the judge need anyone else. He is backed by the most powerful system of authority in existence at the time. The defendant is defenceless and on his own. His friends have left him. Their foreman has said of the defendant : 'I do not know that man'. One of the others has delivered him into the hands of the arrest squad. He is now brought to justice. Justice? What irony for those who have read the accusations brought forward and about his deeds before his arrest. The judge has the police report on his knees and is asking the questions. The defendant's answers show no guilt whatsoever. But then the rabble, roused, threatens to rise. The judge's power turns out to be no more than a mere front. He yields to the pressure and sentences Jesus to die on the cross. The defendant remains upright. He is looking at the judge with an expression that shows not really glee, but it does show an inner certainty which is indestructible, at this moment at any rate. Both are caught in a circle of tangled black brushstrokes. The painter was thinking of the branches of the crown of thorns, already lying there for the soldiers to perform Jesus' mock-coronation. What they remind me of are the 'snares of death' in Psalm 18,6 that are going to ensnare Jesus more and more tightly.