Has His Day
Christ Died For the Sins of Man
The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st Century Judea most probably between the years 30 and 33 AD. Jesus’ crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although, among historians, there is no consensus on the precise details of what exactly occurred. (From Internet sources)
King Died for the Sins of Men
In a life lionized through generations, the career of Michael Luther King, Jr. was derived of otherwise humble and innocuous beginnings. The young King began his professional life as a college graduate who had a penchant for the choir.
By all accounts a talented vocalist. The eventual calling of the young man would quickly gravitate towards the vocation of his father: the clergy. It was there that the young man really found his: voice.
At an early age and after the return of his father from a pilgrimage to the sites of the storied pronouncements of Martin Luther in what is modern Germany. The change of the first name of both junior and senior King would become eponymous with the famed religious reformer: Martin Luther. King.
Martin Luther King, Jr. would distinguish himself as a peace activist, a civil rights reformer and Nobel Laureate. No small achievements for someone who was once an aspirant to the church choir.
On April 4, 1968, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. With him at the time of his assassination were the closest of his…disciples.
Judas in Jerusalem
Judas Iscariot was one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus. Son of Simon Iscariot, the disciple would become best known for his act of religious and personal treason.
According to Luke, the Satan entered Judas. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is believed by some to have been the precipitatory act causing the eventual resurrection and saving of humanity, however. The Kiss.
In every region of the ancient Land of Israel there sat a council of residents who comprised the Sanhedrin. A Sanhedrin sat as both religious leaders and judges in each of the cities of ancient Israel.
Through the Hebrew Bible and via declamations of Moses, God dictated that these courts would have control and governance over the people. These courts dealt with only religious matters.
The Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus
Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin for religious transgressions. Upon refusing to deny that he was the Son of God, Jesus was condemned.
Upon being delivered to Pontius Pilate, Roman prefect of Judea, for his being claimed as King of the Jews, a technically non-religious matter. Jesus was tried before Pilate’s secular court. He was eventually convicted and crucified.
King in Memphis
Reverend King was a frequent visitor to Memphis, Tennessee. His business there was related to his career as a civil rights reformer.
“Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, a colleague and friend, later told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that he and King had stayed in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often that it was known as the “King-Abernathy Suite”.” (Internet sources)
The Lorraine Motel
Built in the 1920’s. At the time of the killing, the Lorraine Motel was a family-owned business consisting of 16 rooms. The Lorraine was located on Mulberry Street in Memphis, Tennessee.
Mayhem in Memphis
James Earl Ray was not a frequent visitor to Memphis. Just days before the April 4th
assassination, the young criminal happened to be in Atlanta, Georgia.
While in Atlanta, being an avid reader of newspapers, and having an apparent pride in being well informed. Ray learned of the proposed protest march in Memphis billed as being headed by Dr. King.
Propelled by knowledge of the impending opportunity. Energized by a seminal gravity towards racism. The 40 year old headed for Memphis by automobile.
Upon arrival in Memphis, Ray checked into a local rooming house. The location was opposite the front of the Lorraine Motel. Then located but a few hundreds of feet from the lodgings.
With his, own room facing the front of the nearby motel. All 16 rooms of the place were in the shooter’s plain view. Ray was ensconced and with coign of vantage.
By most accounts, Ray would have arrived in Memphis on April 2nd or 3rd. It would become clear in hindsight, that the assassin-to-be was either blessed with evil good fortune vis-à-vis his prompt arrival and securing such advantageous location. Or was the intended beneficiary of strange and sadly important knowledge.
Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in the city of Memphis, Tennessee was directly in the cross-hair sights of Ray. Happenstance? Fate? Plot?
Somehow. King was a doomed man from the time of arrival of James Earl Ray in a rooming house just opposite 450 Mulberry Street in that city. Room 306.
Judas in Memphis
(At the Balcony)
The day before the tragedy (April 3, 1968), Jesse Jackson, Hosea Williams and Ralph Abernathy all stood on the balcony outside the door to Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. For all intents and purposes they gathered in the direct sight of assassin Ray. Were, he observing during that day.
Though better known to future history than to present 1968. Each of Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy, at the least, would have been readily recognizable to most informed citizens of America even then.
“In 2004, Jesse Jackson, who was with King when he was assassinated, noted:
The fact is there were saboteurs to disrupt the march. [And] within our own organization, we found a very key person who was on the government payroll. So infiltration within, saboteurs from without and the press attacks…I will never believe that James Earl Ray had the motive, the money and the mobility to have done it himself.” (Internet sources)
Judas in Memphis
(In the Room)
On the day of the tragedy (April 4, 1968), Andrew Young, William D. Campbell, and Ben Branch were included among the cadre of King disciples. Who, were in room 306 before and at the time of the assassination.
In a now famous image: a photo taken moments after the assassination, some of these folks can be seen on the balcony, opposite the open door to Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, pointing away from the motel and upwards. Their eyes clearly tending in the direction of the rooming house and their view apparently of the point of origin of a single gunshot delivered via a high-power hunting rifle.
The projectile therefrom, having pierced the jaw of the soon dispatched, peaceful protest leader. Traveled down into his neck vertebra severing essential blood vessels: death, though not instantaneous, was otherwise prompt.
Judas in Memphis
‘Play it real pretty…’
“The Gospels suggest that Jesus foresaw (John 6:64, Matthew 26:25) and allowed Judas’ betrayal (John 13:27–28). One explanation is that Jesus allowed the betrayal because it would allow God’s plan to be fulfilled. Another is that regardless of the betrayal, Jesus was ultimately destined for crucifixion.” (Internet sources)
“Ben Branch was the last person to whom King spoke when he said: “Ben, don’t forget, I want you to play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ tonight like you’ve never played before. Play it for me. Play it real pretty.” A few minutes later, King was struck down by an assassin’s bullet.” (Internet sources)
King and Ray might well have arrived in Memphis on the same day. Perhaps they arrived in the Tennessee city a mere moments apart. In any event within 24 hours they would be lodged within a few hundred feet of one another.
It would become apparent that Ray would have known of this proximity. King, likely, would have not.
In what would become acknowledged as his most, famous and well-versed speech. King delivered the “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” oratory. High oratory. Supremely articulate oratory by any standard. Incredibly: extemporaneous.
Not having expected to either attend the event or deliver the now famous speech on the night of April 3rd, King was urged by colleague and Lorraine Motel roommate, Abernathy, who was then at the assembly, to hurry to the assembly at the nearby Mason Temple. The crowd was unexpectedly numerous.
Leaving the motel, King arrived at the church and proceeded to deliver one of the most well-conceived and well-enunciated orations of his or any speaker’s repertoire…
“…And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats… or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. [applause]
And I don’t mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.
And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! [applause] And so I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”
As it happened King enunciated his own epitaph. Coincidence or: design? No one will ever know.
(King the Condemned)
Did Martin Luther King, Jr. die for our societal sins? Did the great orator and man of peaceful protest surrender to violent forces outside his pacifist control?
Were all of those coordinated and carefully presented marches throughout the American south too sedate for some within his own ranks? Who would themselves live to eventually witness or, maybe, even endorse the near irremediable breakdown of Dr. King’s plodding pacifism.
All in favor of coarse and fitful and abusive interaction between the faithful of King’s, erstwhile community and the more power hungry amongst his own cadre. Amongst us: all?
(King the Messiah, Missed)
Was King’s an actual: second coming? A pacifist’s re-arrival in the form of some racial savior again, cut short?
An interracial Messiah perversely snuffed. Only to encourage the suppression of the ‘better angels of our nature’, with the terrible assurance of yet generations more of sins of racial inequity, fanned fires of common misunderstanding and escalating violence.
Memphis and the Diet of Worms
Doctor King’s namesake, Martin Luther, appearing before the Diet of Worms in the 1520’s made account of himself regarding what were considered by the religious Catholic powers-that-be as heretical writings. Remarked upon dismissal from the interrogation that: “I am finished”.
It is finished: From the Greek “Tetelestai” which is also translated “It is accomplished”.