Luke 23: 27-31…”A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ ”
I’ve watched the “Passion of Christ” many times. It was always hard to take, but I’ve viewed every scene multiple times. I was watching as an observer…and outsider…though thinking I was inside. Tonight, minutes before it became Good Friday in the Eastern Time Zone in America, I tried to watch it again. It has been a good day. A really good day. There was meaningful time spent with good men and friends in bible study during lunch. We discussed James 3 and the power of the tongue. That’s critical teaching to a man that does the things I do. There was quality time spent with my mother-in-law and youngest daughter at my church for Maundy Thursday service. I was honored to help lead the music with my 2 friends, Charlie and Kelly. My pastor gave a purposeful and sincere message. We worshipped. We ate ice cream after. It was a really good day. Then I turned on this film.
Mel Gibson’s masterpiece, “The Passion of Christ,” is the most realistic visual account we are ever going to get as to what the crucifixion of Jesus was like. Good Friday. It’s unbelievably brutal and cringe causing. Yet, I’ve always been able to watch it despite the cringes and tears. But this time was much different. All of the things I’ve written about so far on this devotional…the baptism…the mountain…the transformation…stem from the Holy Spirit that came to me. The Holy Spirit that wasn’t living within me in all those previous viewings. He’s there now. I wasn’t seeing this as an outsider…an observer of a man being brutally murdered. The way the overwhelming majority view this moment. I was seeing it from the inside. The pain boiled inside of me. It’s me that’s supposed to be chained to that post being ripped to shreds. Flesh torn over and over again. It’s me that is supposed to be condemned. My body tensed and slow tears rolled. I was seeing my own punishment. I had never seen it before. My eyes couldn’t close tighter. Then I opened and he was on the path carrying my cross. I turned it off. I know what’s coming next. My nails. In one hand. In the other hand. Bones crushing. Pain searing. Screams. My screams. Then the feet. Placed on top of each other. 1 long rusted nail driven into them both. My nail. My feet. I couldn’t. I already know. He lives in me now. It was real. I was there because he was there.
I sat in the dark in my chair. A cross above my head. I sat there for a long time in a different place than the physical. We mourned together. The picture posted above is when I came out from that moment and wanted to write it here. That’s not a pose. It’s a capture that was needed for this post. The scripture from Luke I posted for this is not often spoken of in this story. They are words directly from the mouth of our Lord. It’s a dire warning.
Thank you, King Jesus. There is no way for me to ramble out meaningless words of detail, because none could ever suffice for what you did for me. For us. For those you come to rescue and send your Spirit. Thank you. I pray for those who do not understand. The one like me who thought he understood, but is just an observer on the street watching a man be killed with everyone else. I pray they call upon your name. I pray you come find your lost sheep and rescue them. I pray you send them your Spirit. I pray they one day have the moment to mourn together with you at their own crucifixion you took in their place. Thank you. Hosanna in the Highest.