Our Hero Appears


             "BEHOLD THE MAN!"

Pilate presents the beleaguered man Jesus to the people hoping to distance himself from all guilt connected to the cruel fate he has just sealed for the innocent man. Pilate had declared openly that he found no fault whatsoever in the man, and certainly no guilt of any capital crime for which He should be nailed to the cross. Just off stage, Pilate's wife yells a warning that he should not do such a despicable thing, but he does not care. On a separate part of the stage the high priest of the Jews tears his robe from off his chest, strikes a prophetic pose and bellows" "It is expedient that one man should die for the people". So Pilate dips his hands in a bowl of water center stage and washes his hands of the matter, but when he brings them out of the basin they are red with blood anyway. He gives the Christ over. He has already allowed the scourging and degrading taunts of the soldiers. As the audience waited for this scene to begin they heard the lash of the whip repeatedly cut at Christ's flesh, but not a cry or a word came from the silent victim. Pilate has decided to allow the walk up Golgotha and the wrongful crucifixion of the utterly innocent man. Pilate has declared him to be The Man; the one the people wish to discard like a meaningless useless beast. Unanimously they have chosen Him as their scapegoat. In a matter of only a handful of days, the people have reversed their declaration of love and devotion when they honored Jesus as the Messiah, the one sent of God for the salvation of Israel, and reject him. We hear thundering cries and hag-like screeches rise up off stage: "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" The sound reverberates, echoes boom, surround the hall. Suddenly, flat-screen monitors drop from out of nowhere before the eyes of the audience. Startling, the computer graphics show each person and image of themselves. Without exception, everyone, sees themselves speaking, yelling, ugly snarling faced words. Cleverly the producer has made it so I see myself at first what I am yelling cannot be made out. then rising gradually I can make it out clearly: CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM! Everyone sees. Everyone is involved. Everyone yells the same thing. We all participate in the play. Some are appalled. The first reaction is universally the same. "Not me!" Never! This is a disgrace to even suggest I am like this. Where's the producer? We are mortified that we should be implicated or that we have anything whatsoever to do with such an heinous thing? The universal response - to the left - to the right - in front of me, behind me. It is my anguished response. I am indignant.
      But I am there. Down deep, I know it is true. I don't agree and I don't like it, but somehow it is true. Many in the audience are ashamed. But some say, "It did not even look like me on the screen." Some say; "How stupid, how absurd, I would never do such a thing!" But some feel the truth. The producer has not made a mistake would not open Himself up for slander or libel.
     Now I see that we are clamoring for Barabbas to be set free, the convicted thief and murderer, who stands in chains in a corner of this dark stage of man's history. Pilate has already mocked Jesus for declaring that He came to testify to the truth. Pilate has given the reply of the world and man, "What is Truth?" On center stage, Pilate has stated only that Jesus is man, behold the man, he said. This is only a half-truth, the kind of truth that the world loves. it gives us room to wiggle out of things. I wiggle in my seat. Wonder if what has taken place in this scene is wholly true or not. It's one of those 'convenient' truths, a half truth. After all, how can we know for sure? I hear someone behind me say, Yeah, What is the truth, I mean exactly? I say to myself, "Well, I know one thing for sure is the truth. Jesus is goin' down and the people let it happen. I don't have any problem believing they made the final choice and they chose Barabbas over the Son of God."

      The scene dissolves and a man in camel hair takes center stage. He says, "God has three years before stated unequivocally through my lips what and who Jesus is. I am John the Baptist the one designated by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. Jesus is both God and Man, the only pure bred to have both natures at birth. I, The Baptist declared this when I first saw Jesus in the wilderness of Israel:

"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
(John 1.29)...

           By the end of Act 3 The Redemption Play  has introduced all its major players, save one. Now our Hero, the one who will redeem Mankind from sin and unrighteousness, makes his initial appearance.  Adam and Noah brought forth the nations of Mankind, and out of them came both the Spirit of the Antichrist and the Chosen Nation of God. From those players the great villain of "The Redemption Play" developed into the Beast, as slowly and methodically the Lord allowed the development of his arch
rival to grow from Babylon, to Persia, to Greece, until it came into full strength in Rome, where it embodied the conspiracy of Satan and this world pitted against our Hero and his work of salvation. The attentive ones in the "audience" have yearned for the appearance of redemption's Hero, the Hero promised to Eve, foretold to Seth, showed and declared to men of faith like Abraham, Moses and David and prophesied of in the Law and the Prophets which were given to Israel as promises of his coming. The final major character is set to make his first appearance: our Hero, Jesus Christ.

    As the curtain draws up, people are thronging him, mobs hail him as the Messiah and lead him into Jerusalem where they lay palm branches in the path of the donkey on which he rides. The crippled walk, the blind see, the deaf hear. The poor and the disinherited, given hope, run after him. The religious leaders of Israel stand off to the side deaf and dumb, unable to say anything, scowling and angry, clutching their Torahs with hateful hands. But the light on stage is so bright that it is impossible to see everything taking place electricity cracks and snaps across the stage. The "audience" is forced out of their seats by the excitement. But as abruptly as the scene began, so it quickly ends!

             Without warning the mood on stage changes and our Hero is briskly rushed off the stage by the deaf and dumb men dressed in religious garb. Assisting in the arrest are mocking legionnaires of the Beast. Instantly the enthusiasm for our Hero and his miracles is gone like a burst balloon. Everyone and all support is gone, swept away in a wave of fear and jealousy, fury and sudden turmoil.

            And then suddenly, we see our Hero standing humbly before the Beast. Our Hero and the Beast meet head on, and the greatest confrontation of all history is summed up in the exchange our Hero has with the Beast's representative, Pontius Pilate. The crowd, representing the world, eggs Pilate on, the Jewish authorities, representing religion, demand our Hero be judged and executed. It is the moment of truth, the moment when our Hero chooses to sacrifice himself as the Lamb of God, the one so long awaited who would come to take away the sins of the world.

            Here is the exchange recorded in John 19:


“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice....”



            Pilate found no fault with Jesus and sought to release him, but the Jews were Hell bent on executing him.


“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,

And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God....


            After hearing Jesus was the Son of God Pilate grew frightened and tried to get Jesus to justify himself so he could somehow sidestep the whole issue, but Jesus stood silent in his own defense, only telling Pilate that he had no power to judge him except it was given to him from the powers above. Pilate then took our Hero before the crowd again.


“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

But they cried out, Away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led him away.

And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

Where they crucified him.


             It appeared then, that the Beast had won the confrontation. The dark shadow of a cross dominates the now empty stage. The low murmur of mourning women can barely be heard in the distance. Jesus had not liberated Israel from the oppression of Rome. He had fled when his countrymen tried to force him to be king. He had not preached social upheaval, military rebellion, or political change. He had preached reconciliation with God through the repentance of sin, and he had given himself as a sacrifice to the Father for the sin of the world. And now he is gone, the stage empty, shrouded in darkness.

            But the Beast's victory is an illusion. Soon bright sunshine illuminates the stage and birds make song. Graves are opened. Flowers bloom. Christ has risen; our Hero lives. The King is alive and so is his promise to return to judge the Beast and the earth and take the crown as ruler of this world! 

    It took four thousand years before God was ready to send his Son to save Man according to his promise to Adam and Eve and when it happened it was not the way people figured it would be. Christ did not come to straighten out the world's government or to demolish the Beast then and there. Instead God had a different plan, one that would save not only the Chosen Nation but would invite anyone who would believe from the Gentile nations to be saved as well. "The Redemption Play" is far from over people must be saved, the Beast must be contained, the Chosen Nation must be saved, the world must be judged, our King, our Hero, must return to judge the usurper and he must take his rightful place on the throne of God as the ruler of all the earth. 


> ACT 4; SCENE 2: