Tragedy

1 08 2009

 

John 19:

How can one even dare to write something—some thought, tribute or knowledge gained, some vague supposition that seems to apply to one’s life—about the final hours of Jesus’ life (or so everyone thought).

It seems to cheapen this tragic turn of events that is so symbolic and so devastating.

Jesus, God, die?

If He cannot defeat the Romans and cruel death, what hope is there for the rest of us? Who is left to rescue us from cruel depravity? To the disciples—who had given up family, connections, basic comforts to follow Jesus Christ, the Savior and Messiah—it must have seemed like a cruel twist of fate, a horrible nightmare from which they would at any moment wake up.

In those shaded hours when the hope of the world stood calm, defiant even, before His enemies and drew His last agonized breaths, a few side characters stand out in faded relief.

Pilate. The harried, disillusioned governor who faced killing an innocent, good man and ultimately failed his test, caving to fear and sacrificing an innocent man for peace. In one of those rare moments that define our lives legacy, Pilate failed. None of his other deeds or accomplishments would matter.

John, who was given the honor of stepping into Jesus’ sandals as the son and caretaker of Mary, the mother of Jesus, because he was faithful to the last.

Nicodemus, the closet convert who finally found the courage to identify himself with Jesus, even providing for the proper burial of his leader’s body.

The mysterious sister of Mary, who is never even given a name, but is mentioned as a woman who braved the heat, crowds, ridicule and horror to lend her support in her family’s darkest hour.

Joseph of Arimathea, another secret believer who—along with Nicodemus—obtained the body from Pilate, wrapped it with spices according to the Jewish tradition and placed it in a nearby tomb.

Shadowy figures, some even nameless, finding their role and their courage in the tragic drama of Jesus’ final hours.

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