Blogging my thoughts: “It’s better that one die than for all to perish.”
Reading the words of the high priest Caiaphas in the passion story as we played it in church on Good Friday was dumbfounding for me. “It is better that one person should die for the people than that all of the people should perish.” (Cf. John 11:50 and 18:14) For me it reflects the immoral-ism of Utilitarianism. Suddenly I noticed that the frame of reference was control under oppression, fear, and the punishment of death. Jesus counters with the opposite frame of reference of freedom with trust and love. In his reign the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine sheep to search for the one lost sheep. In the morality of the Gospel, each person, whether lost or found, sinner or saint is tenderly nourished for the sake of his or her fulfillment in God’s abundant life.
I’m left to wonder if the negative frame of reference is not only a social one as in the Roman occupation of Palestine in Jesus’ day; but also a natural one, say in a triage necessary in saving earthquake victims. A negative frame of reference may also come about because of natural conditions, say with Eskimos allowing the old to die for the sake of feeding all the family, but that comes about because nature also needs redeeming. The creation is not finished yet. It also has to be made safe for children and other living things.