What did Jesus see as He was lifted up on the cross?
Were His eyes clouded over in a haze of blood and perspiration? That would certainly be understandable. But I don’t think so. No, at that moment, Jesus’ vision was clear, like Lasik, precise, and prescient.
Yes, He saw the men at his feet gambling for his garments.
Yes, He saw the crowd as they watched three men wait to die. Is watching a man wait to die like waiting for paint to dry? Is it like waiting for water to boil? Is it like waiting at Jiffy Lube as they change your oil? Is it like a distasteful chore that you must do? Is it like waiting to experience something exciting and new?
What kind of people, do you reckon, watch public executions? People who are on their way somewhere else and see a crowd and get caught up in the excitement? People with nothing better to do on a Friday evening than go see about a man who claimed to be King of the Jews? People who are expecting to see something, I don’t know, miraculous? People who couldn’t recognize the miracle that was unfolding right in front of their very eyes?
People like us, I suppose.
And yes, Jesus saw us too, as He was dying on the cross.
Time and technology are not boundaries for God, so it was no problem for Jesus to take a break from dying a sinner’s death on the cross to contemplate humanity through a virtual lens.
I imagine the sky filling with millions of flat screen TVs – screen stacked upon screen stacked upon screen until all of the screens are an uncountable number of layers deep, clogging the atmosphere with modulating electric light – each TV playing a different sin scene – looped on repeat – from different people lives – from every era of history.
He heard the the crackle of static as a new scene emerged on a screen.
And He saw Stephon Clark’s body ricocheting from 8 shots – all for being in his backyard with a cell phone.
He saw Michael Brown’s body baking on the pavement for four hours.
He saw Rodney King dragged out of his vehicle early on a Sunday morning in this public execution gone awry. It’s always pesky when a King survives a murder attempt. While the King of Kings would soon get up with all power in His hands, this King got up with his hands cuffed.
He saw the bleeding, broken bodies of 4 young girls in a bombed out church.
He saw Emmet Till’s mutilated and bloated body face down in a river.
He saw Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith swinging like strange fruit on an Indiana tree that Thursday night, while thousands, yes, thousands (they say about 5000), people didn’t have anything else to do, so they gawked, watching and waiting for these men to die.
Much like the crowd watching and waiting to see if Jesus would come down from His tree or die like the common criminal they made themselves see.
The scenes came faster and faster
Each new scene a new horror
Until the dizzying pace slowed, and the sky lit up with one word pulsating on each screen.
Betrayal. Betrayal. Betrayal.
Oh yes, He saw Judas and Peter. He saw Ananias and Sapphira.
But He also saw Roshaunda that night crowded in the van with her friends, laughing at them as they witnessed to her about Jesus.
And He saw Christopher and Jennifer and Karmen and Cameron and Michael and Michelle.
And you. And you. And you. And you. And even you.
And us. And them. And him. And her. And these. And those. And everyone. And all of humanity.
He saw all of us in all of our filth in all of our sin in all of our shame.
He saw us, right there in that moment, as He took a break from dying.
And He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”