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Friday, March 21, 2008

The Drama Unfolds

The Internet Cafe


Christine from Fruit in Season

"The Drama Unfolds"

Cast of Characters:

Apostles: earthly-poor, weary, worn, seldom understanding, mostly faithful group of followers; these characters share friendship with Jesus, share meals; bickering over status is one of their weaknesses; at a crucial moment approaching Jesus' death, they give in to fatigue instead of showing him support; most scatter when He is killed.

Judas: greedy, attention-hungry, black sheep follower of Jesus; "the betrayer"; motives unclear, actor can make the character his own; tragic end when he realizes his mistake too late.

Caiaphas: pious, zealous, powerful high priest; used to others' deference; follows the law to the letter and allows no room for interpretation; fearful of losing his position and looking foolish; his desire to be right trumps all else.

Peter: passionate, impulsive; while a devoted follower and believer in Jesus, he often lacks understanding; sense of superiority for his commitment to Jesus; weak in follow-through; learns from his failings and becomes the "rock" on which the church is built.

Pilate: political ruler, weary of the Jews and their squabbles; recognizes Jesus' innocence but does nothing; fearful of revolt and subsequent loss of power; claims his own actions are free of guilt; sends Jesus to His death.

Crowd Member: one among many, caught up in the fervor of the crowd; does and says things he/she possibly would not say in an individual encounter; brings about the consequence of Jesus' conviction and the release of a murderer.

Simon of Cyrene: unintended participant; forced to carry Jesus' cross; fulfills his duty as commanded without complaint.

Two criminals: one is a mocker, made angry by a callous life and a sentence of public death; one is repentent, humble, seeking forgiveness; their crimes deserved death, only one sought life through Jesus.

We all play a part.

Which are you?

Edited 3/21 3:00PM


Anonymous Theresa Zuber said...

Who Are You?

I have always identified with Mary, Jesus’ mother. How horrible it must have been to watch her son die and not be able to stop it. Did she understand why? Did she realize he would rise in three days? She’s the one I imagine I would be, standing steadfast and strong at the foot of the cross. Hopefully strong enough to keep eye contact with Jesus, to give him just the tiniest amount of comfort that perhaps a mother could. Letting him know that someone who loved him was there in the midst of all that was happening.

Or perhaps John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” or Mary who had sat at Jesus feet while he taught. Yes, I would be one of his dedicated followers. They seemed to never waver and held firm throughout this horrible ordeal, standing by Mary’s side giving support to our Lord.

Or I might have been like Simon of Cyrene, just a poor guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had to be frightened, getting pulled into this crucifixion procession; Roman soldiers waving swords in his face. And his small sons – they must have been terrified. But at least he helped Jesus. If I were him, I would have helped. Or at least I think I would have. You know we always identify with the good guys.

Well if I weren’t one of those, I could perhaps have been Peter. I can identify with poor Peter, too -- so strong, yet so weak. He wanted to be the faithful follower to the death, but he was so afraid. How awful he must have felt about his denial. Scripture tells us he “wept bitterly.” I’ve stumbled like that; stumbled so stupidly, that I wouldn’t want to look Jesus in the eye. Where was he, while his friend hung on the cross? Fear, shame, and embarrassment are powerful emotions. Were those feelings stronger that day than the closeness the two shared? Are there times when I push Jesus aside because it’s difficult or inconvenient?

There is another character that I hadn’t thought much about. Another player in this story that I didn’t think I had anything in common with. However it turns out, he’s the one I’m most like. He’s probably not the one you identified with either, but you should. His name was Barrabas, the insurrectionist, the murderer.

Romans 3:22 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

As Barrabas stood before the people, he knew he deserved death. Yet, for some unknown reason, he was spared. “Who shall I release? Jesus of Nazareth, or Theresa?” But instead of the crowd yelling a name, Jesus reaches over and loosens the chains himself. Then he steps forward and says, “Let her go. I’ll take the punishment. Her debt is paid.”

John 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (NIV)

No, I’ve never been imprisoned for murder but I am the guilty one. I’m the one, just like Barrabas, who deserved to die for my deeds. But just like Barrabas, Jesus is the one who died a brutal death for me. He took my place.

I may identify with Mary. I may long to be the sympathetic woman at the foot of the cross, offering what support I can to my Lord in his last moments. But in all truth, my name is Barrabas, and that would have been my cross if it were not for a man named Jesus.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)

My dear Lord Jesus,
Why would you remain silent
and take an excruciatingly painful punishment and death that I deserve?
I don’t want to be the one who’s place you took;
yet, I know that I am. Forgive me. I am SO sorry.
“Thank you” is so completely inadequate to express
my appreciation, my indebtedness, and my gratitude for your selfless sacrifice.
I know that I cannot repay this debt.
The only thing I can do in return is to serve you
with my whole heart, mind, and body, sacrificing myself for you.
Let this sacrifice become as much a part of me as breathing.

Condemned to die – But freed by Jesus
Theresa Zuber
Meditations of My Heart

March 20, 2008 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Wow, this is awesome, thank you.

March 20, 2008 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Yes, Mary was one of the characters that had it right. I too identify with Peter, though. Heart in the right place but not always doing the right things!
I also wonder about the centurion whose eyes were opened as he watched Jesus suffer in silence. I guess I see a piece of each of those characters in me...

March 21, 2008 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Oh, Peter. So quick to open his mouth to promise grand and glorious things. . . so quick to be self-righteous, assured that he would never be like the others who might desert Jesus.

How I identify with Peter.

And how I love that Jesus saw beyond his failures to the rock that he would some day be, once he got over himself. And that Jesus prayed for him. Loved him. Died and rose for him. Restored him. And used him mightily.

Thanks for this thought-provoking and heart-searching post.

March 21, 2008 at 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Peter. The only reason I have the courage to admit it is because I have seen what Jesus does for the "Peters" of the world. What mercy!

Truly, what WOULD we have done had we been there?

Wonderful, thought provoking post.

March 21, 2008 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I can't really say. One thing I do know is that if I could time travel, I would go back to the time of Jesus. I have always wondered how I would perceive him and react to his teaching. Thanks,Cindi

March 21, 2008 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger lori said...

THE PETER line grows longer as I step on.....
I'm with Darnelle on this, I've SEEN what Jesus CAN do for the Peter in me...and praying HE uses me in mighty ways...despite all that "impulsiveness, and sometimes weak follow through...." He knows the heart of a passionate disciple....

Christine....great post...I'm sharing it with the family this morning at our bible's PERFECT for the Saturday before Easter!!
thank you for the BLESSING!

March 22, 2008 at 7:25 AM  

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