by Rhonda Loucks
“They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.” John 18:28 (NAS)
“Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go in themselves because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover Feast.” John 18:28 (NLT)
“They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn’t enter the palace because they didn’t want to be disqualified from eating the Passover.” John 18:28 (The Message)
Lord, am I like them? I am not asking if I helped crucify You or not, because I know that I did. It doesn’t matter if I was alive in that time or not; if I stood there at the gates of the inner court or not, or if I was yelling with the rest of the crowd or not. I helped crucify You. I have come to that terrible and undeniable understanding and will always regret my actions that day and the behavior of my life that has proven me guilty. No, that is not what I am asking.
Lord, am I like them? Have I been so afraid of something that I have acted out in a way that I normally wouldn’t in an effort to protect what I am comfortable with? And, has that fear distorted my ability to reason? Have I trusted, too much, the wisdom of the law, the order of the rules that have been taught me? Have I made judgments based on those doctrines instead of seeking the truth that is right in front of me? Have I been scared or lazy and trusted the opinions of others instead of investing in the discovery of the truth for myself? Have I stood and watched and even participated in the discipline of others based on the standard of the law instead of the uniqueness of the truth? Have I relied on the literal interpretation of words instead of their intended application in order to preserve, to keep, to maintain, to avoid that which I do not understand? And, in the process, have I also sacrificed all that I was trying to protect?
Lord, am I like them? I am not asking if I have jumped into things with a mob mentality or not, because I know that I have. I have read literary classics that divulge the actions of “the mob.” I have seen through books and on the television where mobs have run wild with a simple thought and have destroyed all logic and civilization in its path. I have come to know history and have seen how the mob, led by one individual’s desires, has destroyed a nation of peoples, a group of believers, a single innocent individual. I have been part of a mob and know my ridiculous behavior. No, that is not what I am asking.
Am I like them Lord?
Do I try to protect what I believe to be true while I murder the Truth?
Do I stand firm and not cross the threshold of the territory that will defile me, according to my definition of cleanliness, while I let die all that is Pure and Righteous?
Am I right there in the midst of the greatest battle of all times, yet oblivious to the real cause?
Oh Lord, am I still like them?
Do I still crucify You today?
Rhonda D. Loucks is an author, wife, mother, Sunday School teacher and member of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene. More of her writings are available at uncutobedience.com.