No Way Out: A Good Friday Reflection
It was hot, hotter than normal and sweat beaded and dripped down her forehead. Her heart was racing and her mouth was parched. But no physical discomfort even came close to thedisarray pulsing through her veins and the utter panic that filled her heart. The crowd was substantial, all kinds of bodies packed and pressed close together in a space much too small to hold them all. All eyes glued to the steps of Pilate’s grandiose home, the marble glistening in the rays of the sun. It was the day of the governor’s feast, the one day every year that a prisoner would be brought forth and their fate decided. She held on to the hope that he would be selected, held and squeezed onto that hope like her life depended on it. Her friend, her partner in ministry, the one whose compassion had made blind eyes see again and brought a dead man back to life. They could not possibly choose that monster over him. Right?
As her thoughts raced she felt her body hemmed in on every side. The crowed was getting rowdier. The man next to her called for the execution of Barabbas and mere seconds passed before he was knocked to the ground. A punch so hardand potent it nearly took her breath away. Blood splattered and landed on her forearm. It was clear the majority had sided against against her Jesus.
It was Caiaphas, she knew it. That hot headed know-it-all had hated him from the start. But there was no turning the tide now, it was too late. The crowd’s mind had been made up. “Crucify Him!” they shouted, their voices echoed and joined together with unshakable force. Every jeer, every accusation was met with the same response; silence. Say something, she thought to herself. You have always found a way out from under their scheming, if ever there was a time , it’s now. You still have a chance, she said aloud as if he her voice could reach him above the deafening sound of the crowd.
“I am going away but I am coming back to you.” She could hear these words spoken in his familiar steady and serene voice with such clarity. Closing her eyes she could picture the room mere days before. Peter, John, and the rest all huddled together. The same puzzled look plastered across each of their faces. What could this mean? they all pondered in the privacy of their own minds.
“No, no.” She thought, beginning to put the pieces of it all together. “Not now. Please don’t do this. I’m not sure my heart can handle this life without you in it,” she pleaded silently. Hot tears streaming down her face she glanced up. Pilate dipped his hands in the water filled basin. Slowly and with painful calculation he pressed the water between his palms before he removed his hands, shaking the excess. He addressed the crowds, “I have washed my hands of this responsibility. I can no longer be held accountable for the death of this man. His blood is on your hands now.”
The crowd erupted with shouts of victory as she felt her knees give way and her body sink into the ground. Her chest heaving with sobs that she could not control. Everything went dark, numbing silence unlike she had ever known before. The only noise that could penetrate was that of his flesh buckling under the force of the whip.
Had it all been in vain? This couldn’t possibly be the end, but it was. She knew what was next. The heavy cross, the nails, the hammer, the execution of her Savior. She knew what long unbearable hours lay ahead. But she would not leave him, she could not. The hope she had clung to minutes before was lost, it seemed so far out of reach now. It was over, and that was that. Her heart had been shattered and broken into a thousand tiny pieces. There was one thing she new indefinitely, there was no way back. There was no way out.