By Bernard Inocentes S. Garcia
SOMETIMES I’d like to see the Son the God in an explosive anger: the rebel who kicked tables and chairs and raged against men who defiled his Father’s temple. Sometimes I wish the last scene at Calvary did not end up with him hanging on a cross, defiled and beaten, but with lightning and thunder, and heaven cracking up for him in all of his Father’s glory.
When I imagine myself a spectator on that day, I couldn’t see myself among those who wept and wailed for the crucified Christ. I’d be among men who observed the spectacle closely from afar, silently hoping the remarkable Galilean would show all his godlike powers in a blaze of glory. I wish he’d do a Samson and shake the earth and break his defilers’ bones.
But seeing nothing spectacular taking place but Jesus instead crucified among thieves, perhaps I’d wonder if he had done the right thing, risking his life for those who defiled him. When darkness came, I’d go home with the crowd and think of the “crimes” he had committed and the punishment he had endured. Perhaps, I’d see the injustice as clear as day.
For what did the Galilean do to deserve his fate? He was only 33 and did not kill or rob a man. He did not enrich himself. He remained poor and lived among them. He preached about love and forgiveness, yet he was put to death. Perhaps, God wanted his son’s death that way so that all would be disturbed by it.
Jesus was a good man. But he too was a rebel. He challenged authorities, and didn’t he say, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword,” not unity but division? He fought against the ruling scribes and Pharisees because they used the law to justify their evil deeds. He saw hypocrisy in them and didn’t blink.
With an angry mob, they brought to him a woman who had been caught in adultery. The law was that she should be stoned to death. But Jesus saw malice in them. They wanted to trap him so they could accuse him of breaking the law. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” he told them.
Perhaps, if I lived in the time of Christ, I’d be part of the crowd that followed him with curiosity. And when news broke that he had resurrected from the dead, I’d rush to his tomb and see for myself the scars in his body. When I could no longer find him there, I’d seek for Thomas from house to house and ask from him the truth of the resurrection.
Sometimes I wonder too what could have happened if Jesus didn’t die on the cross. True, I’d have wanted to see the final scene at Calvary with something mind-boggling complete with lightning and thunder. But somehow I have to agree that the crucifixion was a fitting finale to the life of Christ.
Jesus was a paradox. To Christians, he was God who died on the cross. He taught his disciples to love their enemies. His mother was a virgin. So for him to die on the cross with thieves was in line with the absurdities of faith. If to the Romans the cross had been a mark of utmost shame, Jesus has made it a symbol of redemption.
Jesus was obedient to the Father and remained humble till the end, but he also despised the self-righteous and the hypocrites. He forgave an adulterous woman, but he also rebelled against the religious rulers in his time. His rebellion, though, was metaphysical. It was directed against man’s lack of faith and the evils that corrupt his soul.
Yes, sometimes I’d like to see the Son the God in an explosive anger. But maybe it’s He who wants to see us in revolt. He wants our blood boiling within us, our beings disturbed like tables and chairs turned upside down.
He wants us to rebel! Because sometimes our problem is that we do not get angry, we do not get mad, we do not revolt at things that defile our souls.
Sometimes we take so much refuge in the idea of a meek and humble Christ that we forget he too was a rebel.