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Nonviolence Playlets - compiled by Walter Wink - page 11 / 29

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all day.  When arrested, they were replaced by others until authorities

tired of the process.”

“In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had

respect for people.  In that city there was a widow who kept coming to

him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’  For a while he

refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and

no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will

grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually

coming’” (Luke 18:2-5; see also 11:5-8).

Have a “widow” and a “judge” act out the parable.  Then have the

Narrator say, “But one widow against a powerful judge is scarcely a fair

fight.  So let’s add a bunch more people like they did at Bardoli.”

(Team after team haunts the judge till he relents.)   (Gene Sharp, The

Politics of Nonviolent Action (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973, 2:145-46.)

21 /

Pilate and the Standards.  Setting: Jesus’ tradition was rich with

nonviolent resistance against greater powers.  The Book of Daniel was

laced with stories of noncooperation, civil disobedience, and defiance

of authority, and Jesus must have been thoroughly familiar with them.

Then, shortly before his public ministry began, Jesus would have learned

about a remarkable nonviolent demonstration.  Not long after Pontius

Pilate was appointed procurator in Judea (26 CE), he introduced into

Jerusalem by night the flags that Romans regarded as the gods of the

legion.  The Romans had agreed not to bring the Roman gods into

Jerusalem, and this was clearly a violation of that agreement.  Outraged

at this desecration of the holy city, crowds of Jews rushed to Pilate’s

headquarters in Caesarea to implore him to remove the flags. [Crowd of

Jews at Pilate’s office pleading for Pilate to remove flags.] When he

refused, they sat on the ground and remained there for five days and

nights [crowd sits].  On the sixth day, Pilate announced that he would

give them an answer [crowd stands expectantly].  Instead, they found

themselves surrounded by soldiers, three deep.

Pilate:  “I will have my troops cut you down if you refuse to admit

Caesar’s image into Jerusalem.  Soldiers, draw your swords.”

  Thereupon the Jews, as by concerted action, flung themselves in a body

on the ground, extended their necks [crowd do so].  “We would rather die

than to transgress the law.” [perhaps one person should speak for all

the Jews].

Pilate:  [Turning to a subordinate],  “I have never seen such intense

religious zeal.  We can’t kill men who are prostrate on the ground.

Rescind the order.  Remove the flags from Jerusalem.”  [Josephus,

Antiquities 18:55.]

Discussion question:  Do you see any parallel between the Roman attitude

toward its flags, and the American public’s attitude toward the American

flag?

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