Two Men

Two men are of crucial importance in the New Testament procession – John the Baptist and Pontius Pilate. Both are at the ends of the life of Jesus: the first reveals Him as the God awaited by the entire world, while the other presents Him as a condemned man to a perverted crowd.

While the first baptizes Him, the other condemns Him to death.

While the first sets the stage for the Heavens to open and reveal the Trinity to the crowd, the other asks the crowd for their opinion.

If the first hears the voice of heaven, the other hears the voice of the world; and the one who rules this material world is in constant opposition to the One who created the entire universe.

Two men, both with their hands in the water, the symbol of life. The first uses it to open the eyes of the world, to bring Immortality into it, to anoint the true Lord. The other to erase his own sin, for fear of having the Savior’s blood on his hands.

The first one who, alone in the desert, calls out for justice, asking people to straighten their ways, to fix their souls to understand Him, to interpret Him, to translate Him and feel God in their being…

…the other who does not know WHAT the truth is, yet Truth is standing right in front of him, tortured, with a crown of thorns, in disarming and haunting silence.

When Pilate understands the truth, he washes his hands, believing that submitting to the voice of the world and its laws (whether Jewish or Roman), would absolve him of the crime committed through torture and crucifixion.

When John sees the truth, he trembles and kneels before God, not daring to touch even the lowly sandal strap, that the Savior could wear.

Two people – the first who shouts to the others to straighten up and is killed by the king of the vain world, the other who lets the world choose to kill the Savior, so that he can escape the king’s vengeance. Two people at opposite poles regarding their relation to the power of the corrupt world. Two people who knowingly choose their path in life.

Both the first and the last are affected by the actions of Herod, the symbol of the king of the world. Both choosing how to react to the women asking them for help: John is killed at Salome’s request; Pilate refuses to acknowledge the meaning of his wife’s dream.

Jesus shows his divinity to both men – to the first through the opening of Heaven, to the last God specifically tells him that His kingdom is not of this world.

Pilate himself says as a judge to the crowd “here is the man”, John kneels in silence, and hears the voice of God saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.

Throughout our lives we have the power to choose between being Pontius Pilate or John the Baptist. We have the freedom to be the one who does not want to see the truth and listens to the voice of the world, or the one who sacrifices himself for justice against a corrupt world and about whom Jesus says:

“Truly I say to you: Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Jesus speaks throughout Mark 18 about who is greater in the Kingdom of Heaven, concluding by saying that only the one who forgives his brother and who humbles himself will be greatest.