Radioclip en texto sin audio grabado.

“i didn’t want to die on the cross,” recalls jesus christ.

Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested
when trying to escape toward Galilee.


RACHEL It’s Holy Friday in Jerusalem. The Via Dolorosa is flooded with penitents, men carrying crosses, women on their knees praying the rosary, people beating their breasts and evoking the days of passion and death. Especially for you, Jesus, all this must bring back terrible memories.

JESUS Yes, many, but I prefer to forget them. My mother was the one who suffered the most. Magdalene, the women, John, the movement folks,… for everybody it was as if the world was coming to an end.

RACHEL I understand why you wouldn’t want to remember the bloody events of that Friday …

JESUS But, Rachel, clear up a doubt for me. I see crosses everywhere I look, in the churches, on altars, and people have crosses in their houses and even hang them around their necks.

RACHEL It’s in memory of you.

JESUS What a strange way to remember somebody. Because look, if they stabbed your brother, would you wear a dagger hanging from your neck? The cross is an instrument of torture. Better to forget it.

RACHEL But the cross is sacred. By dying on it you were fulfilling God’s will.

JESUS On that cross I was fulfilling the will of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and the high priest Caiphas and all those opposed to the Kingdom of God.

RACHEL But weren’t Pilate and Caiphas instruments in God’s hands so that the divine will might be accomplished?

JESUS What are you talking about, Rachel? What kind of divine will was that?

RACHEL That you should die on the cross. That was what God wanted, wasn’t it?

JESUS How could God want me to be tortured? Do you realize what you’re saying?

RACHEL What was it God wanted, then?

JESUS He wanted me to keep announcing the Kingdom.

RACHEL You mean, you didn’t have the mission of dying on the cross?

JESUS How could I have such a mission? The things happened the way they happened. After I drove the merchants out of the Temple, the authorities were looking for us everywhere. We tried to escape toward Galilee, but, as you know, they arrested me in the garden of Gethsemane.

RACHEL In the garden where you resigned yourself to drink the chalice of pain down to the last drop.

JESUS I didn’t resign myself to anything, Rachel. I was praying Don’t let their will be done, the will of those who want to kill me; rather, let your will be done, Father, your will that I live and preach your Kingdom.

RACHEL In Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, you appear embracing the cross, desirous of carrying it. You almost seem impatient to have them nail you to it.

JESUS I don’t know who that person is you’re referring to, but I don’t think I’d care to have him as a friend. Who in the world would want to be tortured or nailed to two planks? I tried to escape, to avoid the cross, as I told you, but the situation had already gone too far.

RACHEL So if I understand you well, you didn’t want to die?

JESUS Is there anybody who wants to die, Rachel?

RACHEL And God didn’t want your death?

JESUS God? God always wants life.

RACHEL What about Judas? It was already written that Judas was going to betray you.

JESUS Nothing was written. What happened here in Jerusalem that Friday was not written down in any book.

RACHEL But you didn’t already know how it would end? You didn’t know what was going to happen afterwards, on the third day?

JESUS I knew then and I know now that unjust people never have the last laugh, that death never has the last word. God kept faith with me, as you can see here I am, talking with you!

RACHEL Well, … well, dear listeners, we also keep faith with you, and we end our transmission for today. From Jerusalem, Rachel Perez, Emisoras Latinas.


ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.

*More information about this polemical topic…*

Lambs, crosses and crucifixes
For centuries the “sacrifice” of Jesus was represented mainly by the image of a lamb immolated “for the redemption of the world.” This symbol is still used today, and Jesus is still invoked as the “lamb of God”. Such language is a stubborn remnant of the bloody Jewish cults, in which lambs and other animals were sacrificed to please God. These were cults that Jesus rejected.   It was not until the 4th century that a cross (an empty one) first appeared engraved in a Christian church in Rome, and only in the 5th century did Christian imagery begin to represent Jesus as the crucified one, on different styles of “crucifixes”. In the centuries that followed such images proliferated everywhere. Nowadays they have even become ornaments, even pieces of jewelry displayed on the chests of ecclesiastical authorities.

A theology of abuse?
In a collection of feminist essays titled Christianity, Patriarch and Abuse, Joann Carlson Brown and Rebecca Parker offer the following reflection about the theology of suffering and sacrifice: Christianity is an abusive theology that glorifies suffering. Is it surprising that there is so much abuse in modern society, if the predominant image or theology of the culture is “divine abuse of minors”, that is, God the Father, demanding and implementing the suffering and death of his own son?
Other essays explore the idea that traditional Christian attitudes (guilt, submission, pardon, the value of suffering) are internalized by children, so that they become more accepting of sexual abuse at the hands of adults. This is also the viewpoint of the feminist theologian Rita Nakashima Brock, who claims that all Christological discourse based on the submission of Christ, obedient unto death (Philippians 2,8), “sanctions the abuse of minors.”
Certainly, there is a historical paradox, on which we should reflect deeply: the death of Jesus on the cross, instead of engendering a culture that prevents unjust violence, ends up promoting the mistaken idea that the cross is the way of perfection.

Telling the story of the Passion with another script…
Almost always the script for the Passion – the events surrounding Jesus’ arrest, judgment and death sentence – is taken from “Greek theater”: it is a tragedy with the ending already known, since it was “written drown” beforehand as an inescapable, fate-determined destiny. In such a “script”, as we know it through theology, sermons, worship, movies, etc., all the characters act out a fixed role: Jesus knows that he has come to die and he accepts it, Judas must betray him and does so, Peter must deny him and does so, the Jews are treacherous, and Mary weeps while accepting her pain. In this script there are no improvisations, no decisions or circumstances that allow one to think that the events happened the way they did, but that they could have happened differently.
The data provided by the gospels and the many studies that have been done of the cultural, political and social context of that time can help us to craft another script, imagine other possibilities, situate “the Passion” of Jesus within history. Let’s try it…

The “hour” to go to Jerusalem
Jesus was well aware that if he went to Jerusalem during the tumultuous Passover feast, he would be running a great risk. He had already provoked too many scandals around Galilee and during his two earlier trips to Jerusalem. People advised him not to go. He could have gone, or he could have decided not to go. If he had not gone, he surely would have spent a few more years preaching in Galilee, and his movement would have grown. But he went. And he invited many other people to go with him. Jesus had plans, and he was eager to make them real. He felt that the “hour” had arrived, not to die, but to take action in Jerusalem by directly denouncing the religious and political authorities that had their headquarters in the capital.
When he arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus was informed about how serious the situation was. The Jewish authorities knew about his arrival, they were waiting for him, and they already knew something about what he had planned. Jesus could have changed his plans. If he had returned to Galilee, his neighbors in Capernaum no doubt would have taunted him and called him a coward, especially after having stirred up so much enthusiasm among the people with that expedition to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, he would have saved his life. Instead, he decided to hide out in Bethany, at the lodge owned by his friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary, where he had already been several times before. Some time before he had sought refuge from his enemies in an isolated spot called Perea.

Palm Sunday: the death sentence
Jesus left Bethany mounted on a burro, acclaimed by the crowd with palm branches. He entered the city through the Golden Gate and went to the immense esplanade of the Temple. What happened on that Sunday has traditionally be presented as a religious procession, but if it had been a procession, it would not have ended as it did, in colossal disorder. And if Jesus had been the “saint” in that procession, he would not have grabbed a whip and flung down the tables of the merchants and money-changers. Given the excited state of the crowd, what happened was actually a massive protest demonstration.
In the course of the tumult, the ones most directly challenged by Jesus were the members of the High Priest’s family; they were the owners of the most lucrative businesses carried on in the Temple, the commerce in sacrificial animals and the currency exchange. From the Antonia Fortress, next to the Temple, the Romans saw everything, but they were not overly concerned. These were “matters of the Jews”, who inevitably caused disturbances during the celebration of Passover. The Jewish religious authorities, who despised the Galileans from the north country, were concerned, however – quite concerned. Although they might have let pass that provocation, they did not want to take risks. If they underrated Jesus’ influence and ignored the disturbance he caused in the Temple, quite possibly similar demonstrations would have taken place in front of the headquarters of other authorities, and the situation would have become uncontrollable. For that reason, they took drastic measures: within a few hours they ordered read in the streets of Jerusalem a decree condemning Jesus and offering a reward to anyone who would turn him over.

The Zealots’ plan
The Zealots were armed groups of Jewish patriots who were opposed to the Roman occupation and chose the path of violence resistance. They were well organized, but divided into different factions.   Jesus had been familiar with them in Galilee. In fact, some of the members of his movement were sympathetic to the Zealot cause, Judas among them.
For some time the Zealot leaders had been trying to convince Jesus of the need to take up arms. Jesus must have given thought to that possibility. If at this time Jesus had opted for some type of armed violence, a bloodbath would surely have ensued, given the grossly unequal correlation of power between the Jews and the Romans. Such a bloodbath actually occurred in the year 70, when the Zealots rose up in rebellion and the army of the emperor Tito devastated Jerusalem. Instead of violence Jesus opted for other methods, methods that would reach further and last longer, such as the force of the word, the transformation of consciences, the logic of community, the pressure of the people, the organization of the poor, and efficacious love.
The Zealots knew that Jesus was not one of their own and kept his distance from their kind of radicalism, but the events in the Temple made them accelerate their plans. Although the Zealot strategy always called for violence, they could not help but recognize the great popularity and leadership of Jesus, so they decided to take advantage of the occasion. They knew that if they tried to promote an uprising without the support of Jesus, they would weaken the Zealot movement and reveal their lack of political savvy. They were well aware that none of their own leaders had as much charism as Jesus.

Holy Thursday: Judas’s doubts
The great day of the Passover feast was drawing near. Where could the movement folk come together to eat the paschal lamb? If Jesus had remained in Bethany, a place where many Galileans sought lodging, they would have captured him quickly, and the events of the Passion would have taken place 48 hours sooner. Not without a certain rashness, Jesus and his group chose to go to Jerusalem, and they were bold enough to occupy a house nearby Caiphas’s palace.
Acting on the part of the Zealots, Barrabas got in touch with Judas and proposed to him a plan: inform the authorities of Jesus’ whereabouts so that they could detain him. Since the people’s spirits were so enkindled, the arrest of Jesus would spark off an uprising of such proportions that it would make Roman power totter. Judas thought it over. What to do? Events were moving fast, and there was not much time to think things through. Although he was always loyal to Jesus, Judas accepted the proposal of Barrabas, trusting that the rebels would rescue Jesus in time to save his life.
If Judas had rejected this plan, it is very probably that the Zealots, in order to provoke the uprising, would have decided to kill Jesus and then tried to blame the Romans for the crime. And if Judas had delayed his decision, Barrabas most likely would have killed him, fearing that he would reveal the plan to Jesus’ group. Not without anxiety, Judas finally accepted the Zealots’ plan. He went to the Temple police and offered to show them how they could arrest Jesus.

The night before returning to Galilee
Some of the movement folks were suspicious of Judas; they found him behaving strangely. If that had not been the case, the authorities probably would have arrested Jesus even before the end of the long, solemn Paschal supper. John was especially suspicious, however, and his suspicions motivated the whole group to leave the upper chamber quickly and seek a hiding place where they thought would be safe. The garden of Gethsemane would allow them to spend the rest of the night without being discovered by Judas, and at daybreak they would escape from Jerusalem and return immediately to Galilee. There they would await a more opportune moment to carry out their campaign against the Jerusalem authorities.
Jesus and his companions hid themselves that night in the garden of Gethsemane. As the hours passed, they all went to sleep. Jesus felt afraid and dedicated himself to prayer. The soldiers sent by the high priest Caiphas arrived sooner than Jesus expected, and they came well armed. Jesus’ group had several swords among them. When they saw themselves surrounded, Peter and some of the others tried to prevent the soldiers from capturing Jesus. Jesus could have fled, but he would not have gotten very far. The garden was surrounded, and the gates of Jerusalem were well guarded.
If he tried to flee, the soldiers would surely have massacred all the others in the group. The imbalance of power was obvious. If Jesus had tried to use one of the swords they had there, it would not have helped much: he had no practice in the use of arms, and he would have been the first to be cut down by the guards. What is more, he did not believe in violence. He gave himself up, but it was not really a “spiritual surrender”. Rather, he gave himself up to save his companions, so that they could flee. By doing so he was hoping to gain time, trusting that God would help him find a way out of his plight.

Good Friday: the trial of the century begins
The Jewish authorities arranged an impromptu session of the Sanhedrin, the religious tribunal that would pass judgment on Jesus. Meanwhile, Jesus was taken to the house of Annas, head of the richest Jewish family in Jerusalem and father-in-law of the high priest Caiphas. Annas despised Jesus as an ignorant peasant and was confident that he would retract his claims when confronted by authority.
Jesus in no way toned down his language before Annas, despite the man’s tremendous power. If he had done so, perhaps he would have been saved from death, if not from torture and imprisonment. And perhaps, after a few years, he would have benefited from an amnesty. But Jesus was on the offensive: he threw in Annas’s face all his crimes and corruption, and he threatened him with God’s stern wrath. The image people have of a meek and humble Jesus before Annas is false. If he had been that way, Annas would not have flown off the handle, nor would he have struck him and spit in his face, as in fact he did.
Peter followed Jesus as far as Annas’s palace, where the interrogation was taking place. In the palace patio some soldiers and a maidservant recognized Peter as one of the leaders of Jesus’ group. Peter panicked and denied Jesus, and he did so three times. The cockcrow reminded him of that until the end of his days. But if Peter had admitted belonging to Jesus’ band, then that same afternoon they would have erected four crosses on Golgotha, not three.
Once Jesus was arrested, Barrabas and his collaboraters, confident that the people would mobilize in the streets, pursued their plan for a massive rebellion. To begin with, they launched an assault on the armory of the Siloe Tower. If they had been successful, it is quite probable that the situation would have become uncontrollable. In such an eventuality, Jesus might have been freed by the mobs of armed Zealots, but he might also have been killed in the midst of the disturbances by one of the guards. In that case he would have died without judgment and without the way of the cross. But the Zealots failed in their plan, and Barrabas, Dimas, Gestas and other Zealot leaders were captured in a police raid carried out before the assault on Siloe. When Judas heard this, he sunk into despair.

Condemned as a blasphemer
After the appearance of several false witnesses and a series of judicial irregularities, Caiphas, who was presiding over the Supreme Tribunal of Israel, demanded of Jesus that he declare whether he was the Messiah or not. When Jesus answered affirmatively, he sentenced him to death as a blasphemer. If the Jewish priests had executed this sentence, Jesus would have died in a different way. For blasphemers the Jewish Law ordered death by stoning. In such a case, Jesus would not have died on the cross, but on a street corner of Jerusalem, stoned to death by the Sanhedrin members and their allies. The Sanhedrin, however, was afraid of executing themselves the death sentence that they had passed on Jesus. The people, who still supported Jesus, would have risen up against them. A better way of dealing with the situation was getting rid of the condemned man by turning him over to the Roman authorities.

Backed by the people
By dawn on Friday Jer