“‘They’ (that collective, scholarly, holy group of people) say that when you read the Bible you should place yourself in the story,” young American writer Christina Mead explains as an introduction to her article below.
Deciding to try the exercise while reading through the Easter events in Matthew, she asked herself throughout: “Which character am I? What is God trying to teach me?” Her insightful reflection and dramatic conclusions will, we believe, both inspire and give you pause to ponder your own walk with our Lord.
I killed Jesus
by Christina Mead
I am an apostle, sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:40). I’m prone to and give in to laziness in the presence of holiness. I don’t put up a fight against the pull of distractions; sometimes I even sleep.
I am Judas. Jesus has every right to call me both 'friend' and 'betrayer' barely thirty seconds apart (Matt. 26:46, 50). My heart is fickle and weak and sometimes my commitment to being Jesus’ friend is blown off on the whim of an emotion.
I am Caiaphas, the high priest. I want Jesus to prove Himself to me (Matt. 26:63). I want signs and wonders to know that I really can trust Him. I want my prayers answered in my way. I want concrete proof over humble faith.
I am Peter. Sometimes I deny Jesus (Matt. 26:72). I deny Him in the face of the homeless when I chose to look away. I deny Him when I am afraid of being judged and condemned by those around me.
I am in the crowd yelling: “Crucify Him!” (Matt. 27:21-23) And I say it again and again every time I knowingly choose to sin.
I am Barabbas. I am chained in sin and holed up in the prison of my own pride. And instead of suffering the full punishment for my sins for which I am guilty, Christ takes my place (Matt. 27:26). And I often forget to thank Him.
I am Pilate. I want to give up when life is too challenging (Matt. 27:24). I’m ready to wash my hands of Christianity when being a follower of Jesus means pursuing virtue over mediocrity, a life of prayer over a life of pleasure.
I am Simon of Cyrene (Matt. 27:32). I suffer reluctantly. I will take the cross but I won’t seek it. I’ll only take it if it’s been placed on my shoulders … and I don’t love it.
I am a passer-by. These passers-by mocked Jesus while He was hanging on the cross (Matt. 27:30). How quickly they had forgotten all the good works He had done among their cities and towns. When popular opinion about Jesus changed, they followed suit. How quickly I forget the good He has done for me. In a brief moment of pain, all my gratitude is forgotten and replaced by resentment.
I am one of the Roman soldiers (Matt. 27:35). I killed Jesus. My sins were the reason He was nailed to that cross. It was my fault and I know it.
But sometimes …
I am the centurion. My eyes are opened to who Jesus is in my life (Matt. 27:54). My heart swells with the truth that God became man and died for me. And this knowledge brings me peace and a resignation to amend my life.
I am one of the women standing by the cross (Matt. 27:55-56). When I’m open to God’s grace, I can be a faithful and constant Christian. In the midst of pain and suffering, I can stay close to the cross. Jesus, my beloved, is my strength and He’s all I need.
I am Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:59). Again, only by God’s grace, I can be selflessly compassionate, putting others’ needs before my own. Moved by God, I will use what He has given me in the service of others. My time, talent, and treasure are all for Him.
I am every character in the story of the passion and death of Christ. And I think that’s the whole point. Why wouldn’t every dimension of the human heart be represented in the greatest story of all time? It only makes sense because the story is timeless. We have to apply it to our lives today because the reality of its events matter today.
This isn’t just a story in some history book. It’s the story of your salvation: how God saw the good and the bad in our humanity and He came anyway. He died anyway.
I killed Jesus. But I am also the reason He rose from the dead.
You can read Christina Mead’s whole piece here.