Equivalence: Bill and Frank were rivals for a seat on the town council. Both men were involved in car accidents.
Frank stopped at a local tavern to have a drink with his friends after work. One drink turned into two, three or more. When he left, he was over the limit by three points. On the way home, he hit a mailbox, swerved to the other side of the road, side swiped three cars and crashed into a mailbox.
He argued with the police and refused a blood draw. Bill hired an attorney, who pleaded the offense down to driving too fast for conditions. He had to pay a fine and had points added to his driver’s license. His insurance company had to pay out a significant amount of money and quickly dropped him.
Frank claimed equivalence for the two accidents
Bill’s accident was fairly minor, a fender-bender, caused by Bill’s lack of full attention while making a left turn at a four-way stop. There were no injuries, but Bill didn’t fight it, pleaded guilty and was cited and had to pay a fine. Points were added to his drivers license.
While participating in a public debate before the next election,the local newspaper looked up the two incidents and confronted both men. Bill owned up to the accident, gave the details and apologized to the community. Frank, on the other hand, claimed that the police had misrepresented the severity of the incident and had falsified the report.
Frank further explained that the police were acting inappropriately because they knew that Frank was not in favor of increasing funding for the department. He claimed he has been harassed. The judge found him guilty and he paid a fine and lost some points. There was no DUI conviction.
Frank’s accident was not equivalent to Bill’s
Two accidents. Both drivers guilty. But when confronted in the debate, Frank claimed that his accident was no worse, because the police procedures were inappropriate. He had been victimized by police being biased for the other candidate.
They were by no means equivalent accidents, but Frank said it was unfair. He pointed the finger at Bill and accused him of being behind it all.
Equivalence often used to justify wrong doing
We will say”I didn’t anything more then everyone else does, I just got caught.” We as humans can justify most wrong doing by comparing ourselves to others and saying they are just as guilty.
No different 2000 years ago
Two thousand years ago, two thieves were executed outside of Jerusalem. Both men were guilty according to law. In between them was the Lord Jesus Christ, who was completely innocent.
Jesus was likely viewed as guilty using the same flawed reasoning. Jesus had committed no crime against the Roman authority, but the religious leaders had accused Him of blasphemy and according to their law, He had to die.
One thief mocked Jesus and said if He was the Christ, He should save them. On the other hand, the second thief admitted his guilt and merely asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.
Jesus was moved by his confession and recognition that Jesus was the Savior. He assured the man that he would be with Jesus that very day in paradise.
Jesus committed no crime
We do not know that crimes the two thieves had commuted. We know they were both convicted. Any possible offense that Jesus had commuted according to Jewish law, was not legally substantiated. The blasphemies they accused Jesus of were acts of kindness to people who were suffering.
His arrest and trial were illegal under Jewish law, but they happened anyway. All of the signs and wonders were punishable by death according to the religious elite. Healing the sick, restoring sight to blind were unforgivable blasphemies, even though they were done in public, before the authorities and were obviously well received by the community.
What crimes are equivalent?
What crimes are equivalent? Should Jesus have been executed with the other two men? As the old saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”