You Can Have Any Color, As Long As It’s Black

Ed, my old neighbor, in Saskatchewan favors black for the color of his truck. He likes to quote Henry Ford and his Model T cars coming off the assembly line in 1908. Ford said, “You can have any color as long as it’s black.”  The first mass-produced Model Ts in their black color were mysterious, a drastic change from travel by horses. Many could not wait to see one, a Tin Lizzie, or Leaping Lena as the Model T was called. People would wait and watch if they saw a Model T coming down the street. It was worth a good gaze or gasp, a flinch at its speed and sound.

The color black has been a sign of modest dress in clothing or clothing that denotes power or authority as in a business suit. Black is often associated with death, sin, evil, suffering, and sorrow. If someone is beaten, they are described as having bruises of black and blue. A black eye results in everyone asking what or who caused it. People will wait, gaze, gasp, perhaps flinch at a black eye because it calls for attention.

Black is the color associated with Good Friday, which is the remembrance of the death of Jesus by crucifixion. After his arrest, Jesus received black treatment, beginning with the Sanhedrin. The high priest asked Jesus if He was the Christ, the Son of God. When Jesus answered, “Yes, it is as you say.” (Matt. 26:4) The high priest proclaimed that Jesus had spoken blasphemy, and the council agreed that Jesus should die for His offense. They spat in Jesus’ face, and struck him with their fists, and slapped him.

In the morning, Jesus was taken to the Roman Governor, Pilate, so that the   Romans would put Jesus to death by crucifixion. Not convinced that Jesus deserved the death penalty, Pilate tried to suggest Jesus could be set free at the Feast by himself as the governor. The crowd demanded Barabbas, another prisoner, be pardoned instead of Jesus. Pilate released Barabbas and had Jesus flogged that is whipped 39 times. The whipping was intended to weaken a criminal and hasten death during the agonizing torture of crucifixion. After 39 lases of the whip, Pilate handed a bruised and bleeding Jesus over to his soldiers to be crucified.

The soldiers decided to humiliate and abuse Jesus as one unworthy of any respect. The soldiers gathered around Jesus, mocking him by dressing him in a scarlet robe and placing a crown of thorns on his head. They ridiculed him, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” They spat on Jesus and struck him on his head again and again with his staff. After they grew tired of their cruelty, they led Jesus away to crucify him.

On Good Friday, Christians remember Jesus at the cross. Spectators waited to see him nailed hands and feet to a cross. They gazed at the soldiers executing their torturous tasks. Lifted up before them, many mocked the black and blue Jesus lingering in pain’s torment between two other men on crosses. Not all the spectators there had hardened unbelieving hearts. Like Mary, his mother, we come to his cross to gasp, flinch, and weep at the mystery of God’s love for us there.

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