Ya’ll should be glad…that I am not Jesus!
I woke up early on this Easter Sunday and decided to read chapters 19 through 21 of the Gospel of John. You know, a proper Good Friday through Easter Sunday reading and I thought to myself, “If I were Jesus, I think I would have done things a little differently.”
If I woke up as Jesus that morning, the first item on my agenda would be a visit to Pilate. I would have mosied right into his bedroom, right beside his bed, and gently given him a wake-up slap on the forehead. When his bleary eyes finally focused on me, I would yell, “Hey! Remember me, you moron? Yeah, that’s right! You found me INNOCENT, but you decided to listen to those idiot religious leaders who stirred up an unknowing mob of sheep! You had me flogged…FLOGGED! Do you know what that feels like??? (Meanwhile, Pilate’s wife wakes up and is a bit startled.) I would point to her and continue my diatribe. “You should have listened to your wife! In fact, let this be your mantra until you are dead: ‘I will listen to my wife. I will listen to my wife. I will listen to my wife.’ I cannot BELIEVE your lunacy!!!”
I would continue my lecture for some time. But then I’d be sauntering right on over to Herod’s palace and give him a what-for. I’d visit each house of each Roman soldier that participated in my torture and death. Maybe I’d head over to Rome and pound on the door of Caesar’s castle. “Hey Caesar! Don’t get too high and mighty. There will be a fast food pizza place named after you in a couple thousand years!”
I’d save my last visit for that lying sack of compost named Caiaphas. Oh man, would I lay into him. “You’re not worthy to be wearing those priestly clothes!” And I’d be stripping all of them off of him until he was naked. “That’s called being naked! That’s what you did to me along with other things!!! How’d you like that rip down the middle of your sacred curtain in the temple? Yeah, I did that!”
But that isn’t the story. Here’s the first sentence recorded by Jesus in John’s account after his resurrection: “Woman, why are you weeping?” Yes, that’s right. His first act was to comfort a grieving person. Then he says, “Mary.” Sheesh! If that was me in Mary’s place and Jesus said, “Dude, why are you weeping?” and “Perry,” I wouldn’t even have words to describe my thoughts or feelings!
It doesn’t end there. Jesus keeps on moving through the ranks of followers over the next few days. “Peace” and “believe” and “feed my sheep” and other things like that. (I don’t think he used the word ‘moron’ one time.) Comfort, encouragement, commissioning to do good. Yeah, his decision was probably a better move than what I would have done.
Maybe I think in my heart that vengeance is the better way to go. Maybe I believe strongly that people getting their “comeuppance” should be life’s greater policy, that Karma is king. Turns out, Jesus’ retaliation was love and forgiveness and commissioning. Man, that’s hard for me! Well, I’ll keep making the effort. I don’t really have that much faith in myself, but I have faith in Jesus. At least that is a decent starting place.