I've tried all my life not to be just another part of the crowd but as they gather, I tend to fall in with the rest. Suckered in out of curiosity. There is one man they call Jesus and He is in front of a group of men who are asking Him questions and who begin pushing Him and hitting Him and spitting on Him. I freeze. I want so badly to yell something, to cause a distraction, to help Him in some way. But, I don't. I'm afraid and yet I can hear the words echoing inside my heart, "Do not be afraid." So, I stay. How many times have I just let others pick on a poor innocent human being because I was too afraid to stop the talk, because I was too afraid not to fit in, because I was too afraid?
I peek over the courtyard wall and I see one of the guys who have been friends with Jesus and I go down to get Him to help. He is already being asked about Jesus and yet he is telling everyone that he does not know Him. I can't blame him. I'm sure he thinks they may take him too and beat him and spit on him. Who wants that kind of punishment? It seems so much easier just to stay out of everyone's business. Oh, how much easier life is if we just don't confront those who are doing wrong. So much easier just to stay in our own homes, deal with our own problems, let the world beat up the world and leave us alone. How many times have I stayed out of the way regardless of knowing the wrong that is being done? Hiding. Avoiding stressful situations. Thinking ignorance is bliss.
I go back up and continue the walk with this group of people. Jesus now stands in front of the chief, the head official, the president. I listen as He is accused, as words are put into His mouth, as the chief himself avoids confrontation, fears the crowd, washes his hands of the situation. He could actually do something and yet he is so self-centered, he just pleases the crowd. Then, the shouting begins and I think they are screaming about killing this poor guy, actual bloodshed, and again, the president just sits there. And, so do I. Even though I really want to do something, I convince myself that one person cannot make a difference and yet, as I continue walking with this man, I learn that one person at a time, one day, one hour, one minute, really does, really can make a difference, really can bring us to salvation.
And so we walk. He is now carrying a large part of a tree with a cross bar. He falls a couple of times and the man right next to me is jerked over to help Jesus carry the heavy load. Phewwww! Glad they didn't choose me! How close was that?! Maybe I'd better drop back a little. I could be chosen next. There are plenty of others here stronger then me and not as busy. I have a house full of kids to get home to and a job to do and a husband to attend to and I just do not have time to help anyone else. How many times I have fallen back, not wanting to be noticed, thinking I am busier than the other women, mothers, wives? How many times I have failed to volunteer? How many times I have decided that I was just too tired? Life is just too short to fall back into the shadows.
Look at that sweet woman washing the blood off Jesus' face! I could have done that. Wow! What a blessing she has been to this man and in return she will carry His image forever. Well I miss that opportunity. Right in front of me and all I can do is worry about what others would think. Worry about getting blood on my hands. Worry about the dirt and the disease. How many times I have feared the shake of a hand or the hug of a sick man or the care of one in need? What am I thinking? What image do I want in my heart? The missed opportunity or the image of Christ? Who am I to others? Who am I to Jesus? Am I just one who stands back in the crowd? Can the real me please step forward?
The men stand up the tree with the cross bar and though I am in the back of the crowd now I can hear them hammering. I can see some women at the base of the tree. I can hear the cries and the moans and the silence. They have crucified this man and I have watched. My hands are dirty. My tears cannot wash away the pain and still, as others leave, I too, leave. I see that there are a couple of women and a guy who are staying so I figure they can keep Him company as He dies. Why should I do anything as long as someone is there for Him? How many times have I skipped being in the company of the grieving because I know the crowds will take care of everything? How many times have I stepped away knowing others are there? How many excuses?
It is done and I have been there. What have I done in return? As part of this journey with You, what am I doing?
Jesus Christ have mercy on me! Have mercy on us all!