A few days ago I wrote about a new venture “Using blogs for mutual benefit.” I spoke about my new Ironworks site where we will read a specific book together and work through it as a group, in hopes that we can help sharpen each other. In keeping with that, I want to share with you an excerpt from the book. I hope it encourages you, for one, and increases your interest in our study, for another. It’s a fascinating book. This passage comes from Chapter 7, pages 135-136. This quote comes in the context of Manning speaking of the High Priest Caiaphas.
A terrible thing has happened to Caiaphas. Religion has left the realm of respect for the person. For Caiaphas sacredness has become institutions, structures, and abstractions. He is dedicated to the people, so individual flesh and blood men are expendable. Caiaphas is dedicated to the nation. But the nation does not bleed like Jesus. Caiaphas is dedicated to the Temple – impersonal brick and mortar. Caiaphas became impersonal himself, no longer a warm human being but a robot, as fixed and rigid as his unchanging world.
The choice usually presented to Christians is not between Jesus and Barabbas. No one wants to appear an obvious murderer. The choice to be careful about is between Jesus and Caiaphas. And Caiaphas can fool us. He is a very ‘religious’ man.
The spirit of Caiaphas lives on in every century of religious bureaucrats who confidently condemn good people who have broken bad religious laws. Always for a good reason of course: for the good of the temple, for the good of the church. How many sincere people have been banished from the Christian community by religious power brokers as numb in spirit as Caiaphas!
The deadening spirit of hypocrisy lives on in prelates and politicians who want to look good but not be good; it lives on in people who prefer to surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.