On Passover Thursday,
I thought late into the night
about what that must have been like
for the Prophet, the Teacher, the Anointed One:
knowing from the start who it was
that would do what he did,
betrayed by a friend
who believed that in the end
he would have the money
and Jesus would be acquitted.
Didn’t work out that way.
I thought about his aloneness praying in the garden
while his closest friends slept through the hour of his agony,
his sweat as drops of blood,
crying out to his father, their father, our father,
“If there is any other way… let this cup pass from me.”
the brief display of courage from Peter’s sword:
a rebuke and a man’s ear restored.
Even in that moment,
still showing compassion and mercy for his enemies,
and teaching his disciples that his way
is not the way of violence and vengeance.
hit, spit upon, slapped, ridiculed, mocked.
Jealous zealots, hypocrites, controverting and perverting
both law and religion.
Scourged, stripped, beaten, flogged, scorned and thorned.
Manipulated mob crying out for his execution,
Roman governor pretending he was powerless,
washing his hands as if guilt were as easily removed
as dust from the streets of Jerusalem.
The long trip from crown to cross,
each step marked by loss of blood and strength,
another conscripted to bear the weight for a while.
Nails pounded in through skin and flesh,
the barbaric testing of weight against joint,
bone pulling from bone,
the crushing press against the chest,
hours of molecularly measured pain.
From noon till three,
darkness came across the face of the land,
the very hand of God himself shrouding the view
though all of heaven knew.
And at the end,
with no more blood to spend,
in that horrible moment when
the weight of every sin and transgression
ever measured between heaven and hell
was laid fully upon him
and the divine presence withdrawn,
Christ the Abandoned cried out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
murmured in tortured whisper
within the very Heart of Heaven,
ruptured the rocks,
ripped the veil of the temple,
and unsettled the core of the earth
from then even unto this day:
“Because there is no other way.”