The Onlooker In The Crowd

My palm fronds from last week are still lying on the floor of my house. I can’t believe I was such a fool. I spent all last Sunday shouting about this Jesus guy and welcoming him as the Messiah.

I guess I got caught up in all the excitement. The crowd was buzzing. We laughed and shouted and had a great time. Then, when it was all over, we talked about what we knew about Jesus. Not much, really. A couple of guys at work had been there when he fed five thousand people with a few loves of bread and a couple of fish. My neighbor says that she saw Jesus raise a guy from the dead! I guess they could be telling the truth. All week we talked about what would happen if Jesus really was the Messiah! We could finally kick the stinking Romans our of our country! But people have been going around all week warning us. What if we put all our eggs in his basket and we are wrong? Can you imagine how bad things will be if we let this guy lead us and find out he is nothing more than a charismatic guy with some good lines? We can’t take that chance.

Now here I am, standing on the same road, waiting for the same guy. This time I won’t have any palm fronds, though. Early this morning my same group of friends stood in the courtyard and watched Pilate condemn Jesus to death. We shouted for his blood! The Chief Priests were whipping the crowd into a frenzy, ripping their tunics and crying out about heresy and blasphemy. I heard that a few people were threatened. Either way, we have too much to risk to follow Jesus. Our lives may not be great, but they are better than they could be…

The crowd down the road begins to get louder and louder. The shouting starts and I can see the first of the soldiers trying to part the crowd so they can get through. They are drawing their swords and shoving people out of the way… Whoa, that man just got stabbed! These guys mean business.

Jesus is in the midst of this big pack of soldiers, he’s got a huge wood beam across his shoulders. Man, is he bleeding! Someone put a crown made out of thorns around his head. That’s hilarious! He said he was a king, and a king needs a crown, right? Jesus falls to the ground and the soldiers whip him. The crowd yells out at him, a couple of people even spit on him. Yuck. He is lying there in a puddle of his own blood. He struggles to get up, then falters again. The soldiers grab Jesus by the shoulders and drag him down the street to Golgotha.

I open my mouth to scream at him, but words won’t come out. I stand there, mute, with my mouth open. There is something in his eyes. Even though we did a brutal turnaround in less than a week, he still looks at us like he cares about us. As he passes me his eyes bore holes into my soul. Something is wrong here, very wrong. Why are they killing this guy? What did he do wrong? What is going on here?

I walk home with my head drooping low. I got caught up in the crowd and missed the Messiah. What have I done… what have I done…

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