While I read the story of Christ’s passion and death in the gospel of Matthew, I was looking for myself in the story. Which character am I? What is God trying to teach me? 

I think that I am every character in the story of the passion and death of Christ. And I think that’s the whole point.

I am an Apostle sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:40). I’m prone and give in to laziness in the presence of holiness. I don’t put up a fight against the pull of distractions or sometimes even sleep.

I am Judas. Jesus has every right to call me both “friend” and “betrayer” barely 30 seconds apart (Matthew 26:46, 50). My heart is fickle and weak and sometimes my commitment to being Jesus’ friend is blown off on the whim of an emotion.

I am Caiaphas the high priest. I want Jesus to prove Himself to me (Matthew 26:63). I want signs and wonders to know that I really can trust Him. I want my prayers answered in my way. I want concrete proof over humble faith.

I am Peter. Sometimes I deny Jesus (Matthew 26:72). I deny Him in the face of the homeless when I chose to look away. I deny Him when I am afraid of being judged and condemned by those around me.

I am one of the Crowd yelling, “crucify Him” (Matthew 27:21-23). And I say it again and again every time I knowingly choose to sin.

I am Barabbas. I am chained in sin and holed up in the prison of my own pride. And instead of suffering the full punishment for my sins for which I am guilty… Christ takes my place (Matthew 27:26). And I often forget to thank Him.

I am Pilate. I want to give up when life is too challenging (Matthew 27:24). I’m ready to wash my hands off Christianity when being a follower of Jesus means pursuing virtue over mediocrity, a life of prayer over a life of pleasure.

I am Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32). I suffer reluctantly. I will take the cross but I won’t seek it. I’ll only take it if it’s been placed on my shoulders… and I don’t love it.

I am a Passer-by and mocked Jesus while He was hanging on the cross (Matthew 27:30). How quickly they had forgotten all the good works He had done among their cities and towns. When popular opinion about Jesus changed, they followed suit. How quickly I forget the good He’s done for me. In a brief moment of pain all my gratitude is forgotten and replaced by resentment.

I am one of the Roman Soldiers (Matthew 27:35). I killed Jesus. My sins were the reason He was nailed to that cross. It was my fault and I know it.

But sometimes …

I am the Centurion. My eyes are opened to who Jesus is in my life (Matthew 27:54). My heart swells with the truth that God became man and died for me. And this knowledge brings me peace and a resignation to amend my life.

I am one of the Women standing by the cross (Matthew 27:55-56). When I’m open to God’s grace, I can be a faithful and constant Christian. In the midst of pain and suffering, I can stay close to the cross. Jesus, my beloved, is my strength and He’s all I need.

I am Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:59). Again, only by God’s grace, I can be selflessly compassionate, putting others’ needs before my own. Moved by God, I will use what He has given me in the service of others. My time, talent, and treasure are all for Him.

Sometimes I am every character in the story of the passion and death of Christ. We have to apply it to our lives today because the reality of its events matter today.

I killed Jesus! But I am also the reason He rose from the dead.

Christina Mead