On this day (Easter Sunday, 2018) more than 2000 years ago, the ultimate fusion of man and the Divine returned to life after having been persecuted to death at the hands of a people He called His own. Prior to His death, He was tried illegally and against the very laws His prosecutors were supposed to uphold, all because He dared question the status quo and declared a new way of being that threatened the powers that be.
Doesn’t that sound familiar to you? Think about it and let it sink in.
This man before His ministry had a bright future ahead of Him as a carpenter. He inherited His father’s carpentry business and was not short of clients who would pay Him a good price to manufacture furniture for their homes, and He was the head of His house after His earthly father passed away and thus was responsible for the welfare of His mother and His sisters. Yet, He chose to abandon all that for the life of a wandering preacher proclaiming a preposterous idea of the Heavenly Kingdom on Earth where the weak and oppressed will be first and freed, and those who abuse power will be met with divine retribution. All this occurred when He was barely past 30 years of age, He would have been branded a “trash youth” by today’s standards in Hong Kong.
As a child, He questioned everything in His Judaic upbringing, even going so far as engaging the leading temple scholars of His day in philosophical and religious debates despite being merely a school-aged child. He even questioned His mentor in ministry, John the Baptist, responding rather rudely when the latter sent his disciples to demand an answer from the former as to why He had been “colluding” with prostitutes, tax-collectors and anti-Roman revolutionaries known as the Zealots. He described the Baptist as being “born of woman” during a time where men were considered “born of man”; to be called “born of woman” is akin to being called “son of a bitch”. In Hong Kong today, such brazen “rudeness” to one’s mentor would have been condemned as a “faan gwat tsai” (“ungrateful tink” for lack of a better translation). He even thumbed His nose at His earthly family when they came to bring Him home and stop all the nonsense about being the maverick rabbi.
He was critical of the Pharisees for being useless hypocrites, much the same way as Hong Kong localists have been calling the Pan-Democrats the same thing. He condemned them for making a show as they played the part of devout and pious followers of God, when in fact they were only paying lip service without lifting a finger – just as the Pan-Democrats in Hong Kong have been accused of making a show for defending democratic values when in reality they helped corrode it. Despite His preaching of “turning the other cheek”, He was not shy about using controlled aggression when He had to, as in the famous “Clearing out the Temple” incident where He whipped the coin changers and salesmen for desecrating God’s House. If that happened in Hong Kong, He would have been charged for causing a riot or condemned for “making baby girls cry”. He even proclaimed the founding of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth with Him as Lord. If He did so in Hong Kong today, He would have been accused of advocating independence and secession from the empire.
When He was finally captured by the Sanhedrin, Judah’s governing body approved by Rome that was akin to Hong Kong’s SAR “government”, He was tried illegally because the Mosaic Laws demanded that the trials must be in broad daylight, not during the Sabbath or any other holy days, and must have sufficient number of witnesses for the criminal charges to stick. In fact, He was tried in the dead of night with a lack of reliable witnesses. It also happened on the eve of Passover – the biggest holy day in the Jewish religious calendar. This is comparable to China’s illegal political manoeuvres in Hong Kong which completely contravene and contradict the Hong Kong Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. He was brought before His people afterwards to be judged by a jury of His peers, but instead of demanding His release, His people would rather have a “robber” freed, much like Hong Kongers would rather have the Pan-Democrats continue to be in LegCo instead of defending the localists in their fight against China.
He was sentenced to die on the cross like a criminal whereupon His critics jeered and asked “if you are truly the Messiah then free yourself”, reminding me very much of the Pan-Democrats and “Yellow Ribbons” jeering at members of Civic Passion and demanding to know “where are all the Hotdogs now?”
On this Easter Sunday, I could not help but see our situation in the fate of this union of the Divine and humanity, the One the world throughout history since His death and resurrection has come to call Jesus Christ, our Saviour.