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Posts Tagged ‘Pontius Pilate’

It must have been in the early 1990s, in my first year or so teaching at Vavoua International School in Côte d’Ivoire. I had taught History for years in a Belfast school, but at VIS I taught more English in the early years. There was a book of short stories – and one of the short stories was called Let’s go to Golgotha by Gary Kilworth… not that I remembered either the title or the author when the Easter account in Mark’s Gospel earlier this week sparked the memory.

So I went online and found the title and author, but not a way to see the text of the story. Solution – Facebook message some of my VIS English students from around that time and off went the following query to Michelle, Kristin and Anna in Australia and New Zealand.

Hi Guys! Do any of you remember reading a science fiction story in a book of short stories published (I think) in Australia. It was about time travel tourists at Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.The punchline was that the crowds shouting for the release of Barabbas and Jesus’ crucifixion were…
But let’s not spoil the story!
Within an hour or so, I got a message back from Michelle:
Stuart Townend and Keith Getty’s hymn How Deep the Father’s Love For Us has these lines:
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished.
And this is what Kilworth’s science fiction story Let’s go to Golgotha is all about. Jesus’ once for all sacrifice on the Cross dealt with the sin of every human being that had lived, was living or was to live. It includes every one of us.
Gary Kilworth creates a society in which people can not only go on a package holiday to exotic places worldwide; they can book with their Time Travel Agency and choose a trip to any time or place in history. The people in the story chose Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion of Christ.
Pilate presents Jesus to thew crowd

Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd

Time Travel Agency employed a clergyman to brief the tourists on the Crucifixion Tour…

We will arrive on the day that Pilate asks the inhabitants of Jerusalem whom he should set free, as the citizens are permitted to grant amnesty to one prisoner over the Feast of the Passover.  When the crowd begins to shout “Barabbas”, as we know it must, then you must shout it too. You must not appear to be different in any way from the rest of the citizens. This is vitally important. You have to appear to be in agreement with the rest of the crowd.
And on the trip, that’s more or less what happened – except that the tourists discovered something that neither they (nor presumably their clergyman briefer) expected.
All the inhabitants are in their houses, praying.
And then it dawned on them, the horror of what they had done.
Look at the crowd! Look around you! There are no Jews here. No natives. The only ones here are us. The holiday-makers. Do you realize the enormity of what we’ve done? The whole guilt of mankind rests on our shoulders.

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