As I think about the Easter events, I wonder which person in the story you identify with most. Is it the disciples? Do you believe, but are you afraid to be identified with him? Afraid of what it will cost you? Or are you like the high priest Caiaphas and worried that Jesus will upset your status quo? Maybe you feel like the thief who hung next to Jesus, desperately wanting a second…or 102nd chance.
This Easter, I am wondering what it would be like if all of these events were to happen today. It takes a little bit of mental gymnastics and stretching of the story to fit it in to present day…but it is an interesting exercise.
Being confronted with things that I know I have done is hard enough, but being accused of something that I didn’t do is the worst. My knee-jerk reaction is to defend myself…loudly and boldly. To rally my friends and acquaintances to speak on my behalf. To persuasively explain the facts of the situation and use all the words I have in my head to come to some sort of reconciliation.
Jesus was accused of all kinds of things. The only one of the accusations that was true was his claim to be the Messiah. All of the other claims were false. And he stood mostly silent before the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin as they called him a criminal.
As I wrestle with my own feelings of helplessness when I am accused or misunderstood, I am looking at this part of the Easter story with new eyes. Jesus knew that he was not guilty, but he also knew that this was part of his father’s plan. There was a greater good to be accomplished at his expense. It’s hard to imagine him standing there listening to the accusations, knowing the shame that it brought on his family, knowing what punishment was ahead of him, and not saying a word.
If Jesus had lived in 2018, his story would have gone down much differently. He most likely would have had a court appointed attorney. If the attorney believed him, maybe he’d have given a passionate defense. If he didn’t believe that Jesus was the son of God, he probably would argue for life in prison instead of the death penalty. There would be marches and rallies both for and against him. T shirts would be made. The news would cover every aspect of the story 24/7. He would become a trending topic on social media. And families would be divided in their support or opposition of him.
And I believe that even in this time that we live in where he could reach millions of people in 280 characters or less…Jesus would have been quiet. And honestly, that scares me a little. I’d like to think that I would have defended him in court, stayed with him through his death, and been there when he came back to life. I don’t think that Jesus would shout for us to believe him. He wouldn’t carry a protest sign or make his case on late television. But that seems to be how people get our attention in our time. Jesus quietly loved us with his actions. And we have to be quiet to not miss it.