We sat there, mesmerized by the three actors on stage—Peter, John and Mary—so in character, so caught up in the reality of the drama, so in the spirit on the Lord’s day, that they managed to transport a whole audience back in time, back through the centuries, in fact, until there we were, standing in Pilate’s courtyard hearing a rooster let loose in the early hours of the morning . . . and then back a little more, right into the temple precinct. . .
It’s the only moment in the whole play when all three actors stand full-face to the stage and cry out in unison, a powerful depiction of the evil that gets set in motion when human voices unite not only with each other but with the entire cohort of fallen angels, and now there’s no stopping what is about to be unleashed.
If Lucifer had known that Jesus’ death would culminate with a torn curtain and heaven thrown open to one and all, I’m not so sure he would have been as intent on seeing Jesus die. I love how God kept that trump card hidden for so long. He must have been hankering to tell someone, don’t you think? But no, the winner takes it all, and Satan needed to believe he would triumph. Needed to be convinced that the cross was the end for Jesus and His Glorious Kingdom. I can’t help but smile broadly at the masterful hand God was playing all along.
But I digress.
Let’s hone in on Jesus, standing silent before his accusers.
There’s only one word He speaks, and it’s in answer to this question ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’
‘It is as you say,’ says Jesus, and somehow I think he wasn’t just finding a convoluted way of answering ‘Yes,’ because there’s more to the answer, isn’t there?
The truth is, He’s always been whoever people say He is.
If you say He’s the Healer, He’ll heal you.
If you say Jesus is Lord, He’ll be your Lord.
I am who you say I am.
It is as you say.
If you call me Saviour, I will save you.
If you say I am your Provider, I will provide.
If you say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd,’ I will lead you.
And so today I want to reach out for more of Him than I have yet known. I don’t want to speak of Him only in terms of what I already know of Him. I want to speak of all I long for Him to be to me. You see, He’s asking more than, ‘Who do you say I am?’ In effect, He’s calling us out. Drawing us out. Drawing us closer and deeper and higher and more intimately. He’s essentially standing before us and the real question of the moment is: ‘Who do you need to say I am?
‘If you’re all bound up and addicted and fearful and floundering, you need to call me your Deliverer. If you’ve got all used to me, if I’ve begun to seem commonplace to you, you need to say it out: ‘You are my Glorious Lord.’ To those who are scared, say this: ‘You are my refuge'.’ If you need care and protection and love and somewhere to belong, you’re invited to call me your Father. Say it. I am who you say I am.’
If you’re fighting a losing battle, your answer needs to be: ‘You are my mighty Warrior.’ If you’re all confused and you don’t know which way’s up or what’s true and what’s not, at least say this with confidence: ‘He is my teacher!’ And if you’re drowning in grief, say it in faith: ‘You are my Comforter.’
Today He stands before us with the same answer He gave Pilate.
‘It is as you say.’
‘I am who you say I am.’