It’s almost 9AM EST on Good Friday, and I’ve been up for about 2 hours.
As I’ve gotten older, I rarely remember my dreams, but I often wake with thoughts and emotions that linger throughout the morning and sometimes the entire day.
Today is such day.
Everyone knows the story of Jesus’s Passion. Movies have been made, books and plays have been written and performed continuously for 2000 years to such an extent that even nonbelievers know the story of the physical torture He endured throughout the Passion.
But we don’t talk much about the psychological torment.
At one time or another, we’ve all known the loneliness and disappointment in our friends running and hiding when we need their support most, and maybe recognizing people we helped give false testimony against us. But can you imagine the horror of looking into the eyes of someone as he spits in your face, beats you or nails you to a cross?
I woke up today wondering what role I would have played that day almost 2,000 years ago.
There are plenty of characters. The disciples, Judas, the betrayer, temple soldiers, the priests, paid testifiers, a Jewish “king”, Romans, and the Jews, who less than a week before treated Jesus like a king upon His entrance into the city.
Heroes (mostly women), villains (mostly men), and cowards.
Have you ever wondered what role you would have played if you were there?
My family pretty much claimed the church pew next to the Simon of Cyrene Station of the Cross. I guess we hope we’d be like him and help Jesus that day. But I wonder.
We look at Judas as the ultimate betrayer, and we despise him, but didn’t the remaining 11 run away from Jesus too? Would I have been one of them?
John was the only one who came back without denying Him. Did the 3 Marys persuade or shame him into going with them?
Would I have been one of them?
How about the men and women who gave false testimony? Or one of the priests? Would I have shown my courage by hitting Him in front of my friends? Or how about a follower who stayed back unseen during the trial or on the street as He walked by carrying His cross?
Would I have had the courage of Veronica and tried to wipe His face with a cloth? Or would I have been the soldier who followed orders and pierced His side? Maybe I would have been Joseph, who petitioned for His Jesus’ body and placed Him in my tomb?
There are thousands of characters in the story. I know who I’d hope to have been that day — the role I would have liked to have played.
But the truth is I don’t know if I possess the courage to have been Simon of Cyrene.
How about you? Who would you have been that fateful day?