What must it have been like?
You've been following him for the
better part of three years. You've seen amazing things that no one else
would believe in. You've watched him confound his opponents and open
your mind to new ways of seeing that you couldn't have imagined on your
own. At first it came as a thought, too far beyond the pale to do more
than chuckle over. But then it was persistent, and at last you came to
formulate it, at least as a question: could this be the Messiah? He was
different, certainly, than what you had expected. But his teachings were
so different, and yet so self-evidently true, and the works of power
that you had seen with your own eyes! Whoever he was, he was no ordinary
man. And so you began to dare to hope.
you saw the danger coming. These people he was tangling with, you don't
mess with them. They're nothing compared with the Romans, of course; big
fish in small ponds. But don't let that fool you: they rule the small
ponds. You would be frightened every time he suggested going back into
Judea. They didn't mean to defeat him; they meant to eliminate him. But
he would go anyway. It was like he had no fear. But only a fool would
have no fear.
And this last week.... It would have been enough to
slip into town unnoticed, although of course he could never go anywhere
unnoticed. But the crazy parade they had, openly calling him a King!
They're cheering and he's weeping over the city. And then he goes into
the Temple and totally rips everything apart. He was daring them. And
for a while he seemed to get away with it. Every question they throw at
him, he has an answer no one could have expected. He was turning
everything you thought you knew on its head.
And then that final
night. He didn't act fearless anymore. He didn't act afraid either, but
troubled. Said he was going somewhere you couldn't go. You panicked.
You've been following him for so long; what happens if he up and
abandons you? A lot of what he said you couldn't process; it didn't make
any sense. Some of it makes sense now, but he couldn't have meant
that--he couldn't have actually known! A sane man would run. You don't
just let the lion pounce if you have time to get away.
was awful. You didn't have the nerve to stand up for him; what could you
have done? Gone down with him? He didn't want to fight, and once the
Romans are involved, you don't fight, whatever you do. You wanted to get
away but you couldn't bear to leave, so you stay on the outskirts, just
within eyeshot. To see your teacher mocked and ridiculed and stripped
and flogged and hoisted up! You'd seen crazy miracles, but there were no
miracles yesterday. Unless you count how fast he died. Thank God, he
went fast--probably the beating.
So now it's tomorrow. How could
the sun just rise again like nothing ever happened? He's gone; the
Romans and the Rabbis are watching out for you. Nothing to do but hide
and grieve. You'll slip out of the city when the Feast is over, with all
the other pilgrims. You'll drift away from the rest of them; what's
left to hold you together? And then what?
He wasn't who you'd
hoped for after all. That much, at least, is clear. You'd put your
faith, your trust, years of your life. All for nothing. Where do you go
from here? What do you do? You won't follow another crazy miracle
worker, that's for sure. You won't trust. Never again will you trust
like you did with this man.
Because you never, ever again, want to feel the total blackness and emptiness that you feel right now.