Hi guys! I’m trying something a little bit different for Lent. Each Friday, I am planning on writing a dramatization of the Stations of the Cross. This series will be written in second person, from the point of view of a bystander to the passion and crucifixion of Christ. Please note, this is an interpretation. I did my best to do some research so that my descriptions could be at least somewhat historically accurate, but it is by no means perfect. My purpose is simply to help you (and myself) with prayer and placing yourself into these scenes. All spoken dialogue has been taken directly out of the Gospels.
The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death
You push yourself through the crowd, deafened by the jeers and cries. For a second, you are almost knocked off your feet, but the sheer density of bodies steadies you. It is like trying to wade through rough water, first jostled left, then right. But you continue to push forward, your eyes searching restlessly over the tops of heads. At last, you break through to the front of the crowd.
You are at the Pavement–Gabbatha, in Hebrew. It’s a place overrun with Roman soldiers, outside Pontius Pilate’s court, on the west side of the Tower of Antonia. It is here that Pilate goes to converse with the Jews.
The man himself sits on his judgment seat. His brow is creased–worried. His white toga is spotless, rimmed in deep purple. For a second, he sits motionless, his face bowed to rest in his hand. Then he straightens. His voice is curt. It carries easily across the crowd.
“Here is your King!”
There is movement to Pilate’s left–a pair of guards come out from the praetorium, a man slumped between them. Your stomach twists. You know him.
The crowd explodes. They are jeering. Yelling. Screaming. A group of women to your right are sobbing. “Away with him!” The crowd cries. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
You can feel yourself shaking. The knot in your stomach twists and twists until you can hardly breath. The man whom the guards are holding–the bloody, bruised, pallid man–is Jesus. Your teacher. Your Messiah. A crown of gnarled thorns are pressed into his head. Some of the spikes are buried so deep you feel sure they must be driven through bone. The flesh on his back, stomach, and thighs is torn. Blood pools beneath him.
“Shall I crucify your King?” Pilate asks, his voice booming across the Pavement.
The chief priests stand at the front of the crowd. They do not hesitate in their answer. “We have no King but Caesar.”
Around you, the crowd roars, chanting in a singular voice that hints towards the growth of a riot. You recognize the people around you. Faces of your friends, family, and acquaintances. Faces of people who once called themselves followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Just like you.
“Crucify him! Crucify him!” They scream. They are no longer a crowd. They are a mob.
Pilate stands. The roar is deadened to a murmur. Your breath is caught in a bubble in your chest. You hold it there. Hoping.
As Pilate walks forward his attendants part, making way for him. He whispers something to one of them, and a moment later, a bowl of water has been brought before him. Pilate raises each hand high, rolling back his sleeves to his elbows. He washes his hands and then shakes them dry, droplets falling to the ground like saltless tears. “I am innocent of this righteous man’s blood,” he says. “See to it yourself.”
Around you, the mob murmurs in approval. “His blood be on us and on our children,” they say.
You feel dizzy. You want to sit down, to be alone. Your throat burns, but no tears come. You want to scream, to yell out. To stop them.
You do nothing.