Dear Jesus, my Father and Heavenly Savior,
Yesterday, we celebrated the day you entered Jerusalem to begin Your final days, on this Earth, as a fully human and fully God “person,” on a mission none of the people of the world, at that time, nor your devoted followers, truly understood. You arrived at those city gates with pageantry and celebration as the crowds who had heard of Your greatness and love, swarmed to greet you with palm tree branches to pave Your way into the holy city. As excited as these people were to see and welcome You, in just a few days they would find themselves in shock and sorrow over what would happen. Because, as You were preparing Your followers for the end, an end they did not understand nor appreciate, at the time, you would be attacked and arrested by a mob, beaten and abused, illegally tried for crimes You had not committed, beaten and abused again, committed to death by illegal witnesses, beaten and abused yet again, and nailed to a tree to die. Although this was predetermined to occur, only You and Your Father truly knew why, while the rest of mankind sat back in disbelief, that the One who was sent to save us could be defeated in such a horrible manner. Us humans today, we have the ability to look back and understand, but for those who lived this seeming tragedy and injustice, they could not fathom nor understand what had just occurred. However, it would take just three more days, for them to begin to see what these events, and your entire journey on this Earth, was all about.
I write to you today as just another of your broken sinful children who strives every day to follow Your words and teachings, but who falls short of accomplishing this far more than I would like. Jesus, I was born and raised in Your word and a devout follower until the world got ahold of me in my school days and taught me life was all about me, and not you. But in 1970, just four years after the New York Times had declared God, Your father, was dead, I was introduced to my very first musical, which would begin my path back to you.
“Where are you from Jesus? What do you want - Jesus Tell me … You've got to be careful - you could be dead soon - Could well be. Why do you not speak when I have your life in my hands? How can you stay quiet? I don't believe you understand.”
Jesus, these were the words of Pontius Pilate, written for the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which is an unusual “rock music version” of the days leading up to Your crucifixion. While I’m sure You know, I don’t think this musical is a true historical account of what occurred in those days, but it does bring Your name Jesus, and what occurred, to a new audience of people whom might not have known your plight nor anything about you. So, if this musical brings more people to You, then it was, or most certainly is, a success. I can honestly say this musical brought you back into my life!!!
In this musical, You answer Pilate’s questions and comments with this roaring response, as if it came from the mountain tops themselves or straight from Your Father-God: “You have nothing in your hands. Any power you have, comes to you from far beyond. Everything is fixed, and you can't change it.” WOW – even though this was only a musical depiction of what they portrayed, it was so good to hear Your authority come through and proclaim to Pilate that he was just a pawn in what was occurring, and was yet to occur. If only we all could understand this and honor you and the Father as we should. Like your beloved David, I am a huge music fan so I have to admit this musical has a place in my heart because it exemplifies your story with good music, even though I am quite certain it is not a genuine account.
Jesus, I want to make one more comment about this musical. Most people believe that Pilates’ wife had the supposed dream of what was to come in his encounters with You, but this musical portrays it as Pontius Pilate himself having the dream. Obviously, You know the truth as You are all-knowing, but this particular portrayal in the musical has always been a special one to me. The lyrics that were written, go like this with Pilate himself speaking about the dream of when he first met You: “Last night, I dreamed I met a Galilean; A most amazing man. He had that look you very rarely find: The haunting, hunted kind. I asked him to say what had happened, how it all began. I asked again, he never said a word. As if he hadn't heard. And next, the room was full of wild and angry men. They seemed to hate this man.
They fell on him and then, Disappeared again. Then I saw thousands of millions, Crying for this man. And then I heard them mentioning my name, and leaving me the blame.”
This song lyric, supposedly by Pilate, to me shows much about You but also much about how this musical, and mankind as a whole, got it all wrong, which I know, You know, Jesus.
First off, let’s dissect these lyrics – “a most amazing man.” Jesus, you were that while You walked on this Earth, and You still are today. I wish your children would understand this because this is the whole story – YOU STILL ARE TODAY – we’ll come back to that. Jesus, I so wish I could have walked this Earth with you or at the very least seen You and heard You speak. How magnificent that would have been. To have experienced the 37 some documented miracles your performed, and as Your Apostle John stated, the many more that were not recorded. To have Heard You explain the Word of God and have You help me understand it’s true meaning. To have just been around such a magnificent loving and caring person like You would have been absolutely incredible.
Let’s unpack the next lyric: “haunting hunted kind” – well, being in the presence of God certainly would be awe inspiring and a bit haunting so I get this statement and understand. Hunted, well that’s certainly an indictment on us all Jesus, as we truly did not understand and our leaders at the time were threatened by anyone knowing more, and doing more good, than they did - just like we all are today.
The next Line Jesus, is just another indictment as to our character and motive – I’m guessing exactly why you came to Earth to save us. The musical lyric goes onto say: “the room was full of wild and angry men. They seemed to hate this man. They fell on him and then, Disappeared again.” As You know, the leaders were so threatened by Your truth and love, that they recruited people to speak against you. People who most likely knew nothing about You. But these people could not defy their leaders, so they thought, so they showed up, did as directed, and then left. I truly doubt that these people, nor the leaders themselves, every really tried to know you because I don’t know how your message of truth and love, especially the way you delivered it, could be hated by anyone. Unless their pride and power-hungry hearts were so afraid, they would lose it all. A perfect example of why they could not have known You, because had they known what You had said, and what is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew (twice), Mark, Luke, and John; “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39 NIV.
Jesus, these lyrics go on to say: “Then I saw thousands of millions, Crying for this man.” Those who did know You, I’m sure were devastated. I know having to go through this and seeing their reaction had to break your heart, even though You knew that You would ultimately save them all – but You also knew they didn’t know this. How painful that must have been. Even for those who did not know You, they, like most people, do know Your Father and his Word, and I’m sure were deeply saddened to see all of this unfold and the pain and torment you went through. Even the unbeliever generally cries out when people are beaten, punished, and illegally treated so poorly.
Then, the final statement of Pilates’ dream, in this lyric: “And then I heard them mentioning my name, and leaving me the blame.” This clearly shows Pilate, along with those in the crowds, the leaders of that day, and even many of Your children today, did/do not truly understand. That You coming to Earth, Your time with everyone You encountered, and Your unlawful arrest, trial, persecution, and eventual crucifixion, had nothing to do with the powers leaders did or did not have. It was about You showing us the true Word of God, Your Father, and to save us all from ions of past and future sins, and the associated shame fallen upon us from these sins. Yes, Pilate was to blame, but only as one of the millions of us who would not embrace God’s love and heed His Word. I know You knew this which is likely why You stayed so silent. Pilate, no more or no less than anyone, was to blame - we all were and are to blame. But through the grace of Your father and through Your own incredible will and strength, You stayed the course and went to the cross anyway – because You and the Father loved us so very very much!
Jesus, for those of us with the fortunate benefit of being able to look back upon these events, Your time on this Earth, and those final days, will always bring both great pleasure and joy but also great sadness and sorrow. But the people of that day, truly did not know the final story and outcome. They did not know you would conquer death and that all these illegal and horrible actions, at man’s hand, would not derail Your Fathers plan. How incredibly horrible all of this must have been for those who knew You and whom truly believed. The inevitable feelings of defeat, despair, and the literal darkness that feel upon them and upon the world itself. Their hearts were figuratively ripped out of their chests and all hope was seemingly gone. Even knowing what was to occur, this still had to have brought immense pain to You and God.
The world was at its darkest, because Jesus, you were now gone. For two days, the believing world mourned and yet could not believe your death. Then, as Luke tells us: “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ “Then they remembered his words.”
Jesus, this week we will rejoice for what You did for us. I have heard many say it was a simple act, by the Son of God, to save all of mankind. From what I have learned, and certainly for those who lived in that day and whom witnessed all that happened, it was so very very far from a simple act. I don’t know how to thank You Jesus for all You did and will continue to do. I know I am not worthy of such incredible love and grace and the World is also not worthy – pure words cannot convey the incredible or humble appreciation for what you did and had to go through, for us. As the Apostle John tells us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
How can I, or better yet we, thank you? Well, you told us all when you spoke Your final words to the disciples. The last time You were together with the disciples, You gave them a directive, a directive which needs to be our marching orders as believing and practicing Christians. Little did they know it would be the last words You would tell them in Your Earthly human form. You told them, and us, as Mark writes it: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Thank You Jesus – It is our duty to go and do as You have commanded!!!