A View from the Cross
I wonder what Jesus saw as he looked down from the cross? In his loneliest moment, whose eyes did he meet as he gazed outward? Where were his friends and family? Was the comfort he found when he cast his eyes upon his mother and his beloved friend John vastly outweighed by the hurt he felt as his eyes met the mocking jeering faces in the crowd? If we would have been there, where would he have found us?
As he scanned the crowd did he see the same faces that were cheering him on Palm Sunday? Were some of the same people that were laying palm branches at his feet now spitting on him? Here was Jesus, paying the price for their sins and they were jeering and mocking him. How must Jesus have felt giving his life for them and receiving mockery and spittle in return? Would we too have followed the crowd? Do we only “cheer” for Jesus when we are surrounded by other cheering for him? Do we then mock him, by our words or our actions, when others around us are mocking him? When Jesus looks in the faces of those jeering at him and spitting on him does he see us?
As he scanned the crowd he must have seen others. Some of whom looked away in shame when his eyes met theirs. They were not jeering or spitting, but were still afraid to show their loyalty. Could these have been some of the people he healed? Where these people who were happy to receive his gifts but not willing to open themselves up to share his trial? We are blessed by God in many ways. When our faith is challenged do we look away or do we stand with Mary and John by the cross? When Jesus scanned the crowd from the cross if his eyes met ours would we have looked away in shame or fear?
What kind of disappointment must Jesus have felt when he scanned the crowd and did not see Peter? The pain of his trails must have been multiplied by Peter’s absence on Golgotha. Peter must have been so ashamed of his actions, his denial of Jesus the night before, that he decided it was better to hide from Jesus then to face him. How many times have we stumbled then attempted to hide our mistakes? How many times have we decided we should carry the burden of our mistakes alone? Instead of hiding, like Peter, we should take our mistakes to the cross and lay them at Jesus’ feet. Jesus knew what Peter did and he knows what we do. When we stumble and make mistakes where does Jesus find us? Are we hiding in the darkness or under the cross at his feet?
What comfort Jesus must have felt after peering out at the angry crowd then looking down and meeting the eyes of his mother and John? John’s presence was so important to Jesus that he entrusted his mother, for the rest of her earthly life, to him. Are we loyal enough to Jesus that he would have entrusted his mother to us? Even in the darkest hours can we still fix our eyes on the cross? Are we bold enough to humble ourselves before the mockery of others for Jesus’ sake? When Jesus looks down from the cross does he find us looking back up at him?
by Daniel Roth 1999