Last night I had the opportunity to go see "The Passion of the King", a passion play put on by a local church in our community. Basically it's the story of Easter....Jesus' final days on earth and His Resurrection...with a few other things added in for detail. This particular church has put on this production for the community for years and although this was my first time seeing it, I have to say, they do a pretty great job (although there is definitely at least one over dramatic actor who preforms in it).
Anyway, as I was watching the play, a few things stuck out to me. For one, there is this scene in the first act where John the Baptist is talking to the crowd about Jesus and as they begin to break out in song (oh yeah...I forgot to mention this play was sort of a musical) people from the "crowd" began to come forward, one by one, proclaiming the things Jesus had done for them. There's a healed leopard and blind man, the centurion and his son, and then even Mary Magdalene. I think Mary stood out to me the most because she talked about how Jesus came to her...called her by name... and forgave her.
He called her by NAME. I find that so powerful for some reason. For one I think what people call you says a lot about how well they know you. Take my name for example, in professional settings or when people are just meeting me, I'm called Jessica. When I am among friends or family, people who know me quite well, it's Jess. And then you have those few people who call me Jessie, showing that they are trying to be friendly, but that they also don't know me well enough to know I absolutely despise that name! Thinking along those lines, I think it's so powerful that Jesus called people by name. With that one word (or two in some cases) He is saying... not only do i see you and acknowledge you, but I know you....I really know you! P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L......
The other thing that stood out to me was from the scene in thesecond act when Jesus is up on the cross dying and He screams out "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?". Now to be honest, I think in part this phrase stood out to me because of a discussion we had at my community group on Tuesday. The group I am a part of meets once a week to further discuss the sermon we all heard the Sunday before. This past Sunday our pastor preached on four of the last seven statements of Jesus...and this "why have you forsaken me" question was one of them.
On Tuesday the question was asked, "Why is Jesus asking Why?". Yes Jesus is fully human and in agony for taking on the sins of the world (something that I can't even begin to wrap my head around), but He's also fully God and He knows this is why He was sent to earth, He knows this is the only way and He knows what's going to happen in the end. So why ask why?
Watching the play and hearing these words spoken only seemed to bring up the question again for me, this time with a little more umph. I thought about the fact that Jesus is dying here....He knows what He says here will be the last memory people ever have of Him (until His return)....and instead of spewing out another sermon or parable, He seems to be choosing His words wisely and His statements very carefully. This leads me to believe there's some significance to why He would say them and why He would word them the way He did (I mean He could have just said, "God has forsaken me", but instead He asks God why have you forsaken). I don't really know the answer....believe me people tried to explain it to me on Tuesday, so I would understand it, but I don't. But it's still interesting to me none-the-less.
And I guess that's the point of a play like this....to stir up questions and perk up interest in you that leads you to seek God for yourself! And...well....if that is the point....then it definitely did it's job! So if you live in the Hartford area and are interested, you should totally check this play out....of course, you'll have to wait until next year since it's completely sold out now (sorry!).