Were you there….?

Thoughts on John 19:17-30

In John’s account, you sort of fade into the background of the scene. In the foreground are Pilate and the chief priests, the soldiers, and the witnesses.

Pilate had to state some reason for your death, so he wrote out the political crime you were accused of committing: “King of the Jews.” In your death, even before your resurrection, the chief priests were bested. Infuriated, they demanded the title be changed. But unknowingly, Pilate became the voice of God, Jesus died to be King of the Jews. And King of all.

The soldiers, oblivious to the deaths they were administering, looked to take advantage of what little worldly possessions you left behind, your clothing and your tunic. Maybe they thought it might be worth something one day, who knows. Oh Jesus, I don’t want to be like the soldiers, mindlessly crucifying you, while benefitting from your death; taking your grace for granted by choosing sin.

The witnesses, the women who loved you and the disciple you loved. Even the pain of dying couldn’t diminish the care you take for humankind. Giving Mary and John to one another proved your great desire to comfort, support and unite the ones you love. You take individuals and make them a family, proving your divinity. Thank you, Jesus.

“I thirst.” You were dying, your physical body needed a drink, proving your humanity.

John’s account is the gospel story in miniature: God’s overarching omnipotence, Pilate was your tool; my abundant need of your grace, blindly gambling in the light of your sacrifice; and your transformation through love.

I live in the shadow of the cross.

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