May His blood be on us and on our children…
It is Good Friday, a day when the entirety of the Christian world contemplates the events that led to the crucifixion of our Lord.
I often wonder, had I been present, would I have stood fast or been among the number who denied any connection with Jesus? Even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, turned his back on his Savior that night.
As many writers do, I have in my files several unfinished writings. Among those is one that I call “my heart’s story.” It is a story of guilt and forgiveness, of failing and redemption. Instead of finishing it, I decided to work on other stories in order to get in the practice and skill to better write the one I long to write.
I will share an unedited section of this story today because it brings to mind the horrors of that Thursday night and Friday morning so long long ago.
My main character is Amara, daughter of Judas, married to Ezra, the son of Caiphas, and a secret follower of Christ. Ezra has threatened to take Amara’s infant son and banish her if she does not join him in the mob demanding Christ be crucified.
On the balcony, Pilot stood with the two men; Jesus on one side, Barabbas on the other. One stood, with head bowed, his face calm, the other with fists clenched in angry resistance, contempt for the governor and the crowd apparent in the arrogant lift of his chin.
“It’s your choice,” Pilot called out. “Which of the two shall I release to you?”
“Barabbas!” The answer was unified, the mob screaming in one voice.
Tears blurred her vision and Amara blinked hard. Surely Pilot wouldn’t listen to the crowd? He knew Barabbas, a murderer and inciter of rebellions, would stop at nothing to destroy Rome. To release him and punish Jesus was unthinkable.
“Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
The crowd surged forward as one body, a sweaty mass of people pressing so close together Amara could feel the hot, rancid breath on the back of her neck from the person screaming behind her. Her head spun, the tumult of the mob growing louder and more frenzied with each step as they pushed forward into the courtyard.
Ezra had picked his people well. With each cry the mob grew larger and fiercer, their faces red-eyed with feral anticipation, a hungry lion chasing its prey. There was no stopping them now.
“Crucify him!” The thirst for blood was unquenchable. Fists were raised toward the heavens, shawls thrown to the ground and trampled on, some tore at their own flesh and the cries of a hundred demons permeated the air.
Slowly becoming aware of a sharp pain above her elbow, Amara realized that she was being pulled by the twisting grasp of her husband. His eyes burned with something more evil than anything she had ever witnessed, and Amara froze with terror.
“Remember your son,” he growled into her ear, his lips curled into a smile. She imagined blood dripping from his mouth and knew he intended to do as he had promised. Panic rose in her throat.
“NO!” She screamed, clasping her hands over her ears, her voice drowned in the clamor.
The image of her baby son screaming in fright as he was yanked out of her arms rose vividly in front of her. Her breasts ached for want of nursing him. She drew herself up, looked Ezra full in the face. Never before had she felt such abhorrence for any one as she did for her husband at that moment. With his victory, she sold her soul to the devil. Never once glancing up at the balcony, and never taking her eyes off Ezra’s face, she joined the crowd, her cries a curse directed at this man beside her.
“Why?” Pilot’s carefully controlled countenance showed signs of horror and confusion. “What evil has he done?”
There was no stopping the mob. They were a rabid animal, raging mad, bloodthirsty.
“Let Him be crucified!”
Red streaks filled the cloud laden sky with the arrival of dawn. As if in a dream Amara watched as Pilot turned to the basin used for ritual hand washing. Dipping his hands in the water, his voice rose above the tumult of the crowd.
“I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”
He was going to release Barabbas and hand Jesus over to the crowd.
Bile rose in Amara’s throat.
“His blood be on us and on our children!” Ezra led the chant.
On our children. Amara’s knees buckled. She did all this to save her child, and now, she had condemned her son to something worse than death.
Indeed, the blood of Jesus is on us and on our children. Our deserved punishment is worse than death. If the story ended with Jesus in a borrowed tomb, we would live without hope. But that is not the end of the story.
What the Devil planned for evil, God intended for the greatest good the world has ever known.
Sunday came. Jesus broke the chains of death and rose in glory. Now he sits on the right hand of the Father. He lives and he redeems.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7
“But now in Christ Jesus you who were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13
“For while we were still weak…Christ died for the ungodly…Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.” Romans 6: 6 and 9.
Do you accept the blood of Jesus on your life?
May the blood of our Savior cover me and my children. Amen.