When I get engrossed in a movie or a novel, I almost always start to identify with one of the characters. Sure, often I’m the hero. Sometimes I’m one of the supporting cast. Occasionally, I’m the villian. Rarely am I the leading lady. You may find some comfort in that….
When I read the story of Calvary, I also wonder who I am in that cast of characters.
I want to be John, the faithful disciple who followed Jesus all the way to the cross and stood with Him in His darkest hour.
More often, I’m one of the disciples who ran for cover when the soldiers came to arrest the Master.
I am Peter, who said all the right things and made all the right promises, then denied Jesus in his hour of need.
I am one of the crowd, who freely accepted the gifts of bread and fish, then rejected the Giver of Life.
I am Pilate, who in the face of public pressure, washed his hands of Jesus.
I am the raging thief, who despite his own condition, took time to mock the King of Kings.
I am the Roman soldier, who wields the hammer and the nails.
I am all of these. But I am not only these.
I am Barabbas; guilty, convicted and sentenced, but set free because Jesus took his place.
I am a dying thief, who in the nick of time, begged, “Remember me.”
I am the Roman Centurion, who, at the very last moment understood Who it was that hung before him and declared, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
Yes, I am all of these. I am in the first group by nature. I am in the second group because of the Passion of the Christ.
John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace” said it first and certainly more eloquently than I, but along with him, I affirm:
I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I want to be.
I am not even what I’m going to be.
But thank God Almighty, I’m not what I used to be!
And neither are you. That’s reason to celebrate.