God’s Word for Today: Evil
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Evil is such a harsh word. First thoughts when one hears the word evil might be the nemesis of your favorite superhero. Or, it could be those who gave and are still giving, their best shot at eliminating a chosen group of the human race. Evil is no good and a preferred word to be kept stuffed away somewhere. No one wants to really even talk about evil. Even when someone mentions a “necessary evil”, that has a ring to it that is less than pleasing.
Last Friday, Good Friday to be exact, I had the privilege to witness the reenactment of what Jesus went through on that particular day. We followed the group of actors and participants from the church, down the streets, and stopped at a chosen area, in the middle of the highway, that passes through town. Once any disorganization was addressed, and the local police in place to reroute traffic, the presentation began.
At first, I was simply trying to get a decent view, as the crowd pushed their way closer to the scene. Jesus was on trial. Evil had already arrested Jesus and hauled him to court in chains. Just like our little crowd on the highway, more and more people were gathering to watch. You really couldn’t feel the evil. And, the words spoken were just more of an argument than evil. So what was the big deal.
Next, the criminal Barabbas is released and Jesus sentenced to death. Evil was starting to take over a portion of the crowd. Did they even know what they were saying? Did the crowd who were shouting “crucify him” have a clue that evil had penetrated their common sense?
We then had to shuffle our positions to allow our little group of actors/actresses move down to another area where Jesus was stripped and flogged. Evil was in the soldier’s arms and hands as they wielded their whips. Evil gained strength as the soldiers put a robe and crown of thorns on Jesus and mocked him. Tears began to stream from my eyes. I could see. I could feel. I could recognize myself as the one who inflicted pain on an innocent man. I felt the weight of my own evil being laid onto a broken and bleeding Jesus.
As the rest of the Good Friday story unfolded and we watched as Jesus dragged his cross down the street, I couldn’t help but wonder where I would have been in the crowd on that day. Would I have been the one who let the crowds influence my decision to sentence Jesus to death? Would I have been one of the soldiers simply obeying orders and carrying out my duties of evil? Would I have just been part of the crowd who followed? Would I have been one of the disciples who followed in the shadows afraid I might be next? Would I have been Simon, father of Alexander and Rufus, who just happened to be passing by and was forced to carry the cross for Jesus? Daily choices. Where would you be?
Today, know that you have the choice of how you will participate in the crucifixion of Jesus. The easy choice is to just stand by and watch. Follow the crowd. Let life do its thing. Or, is today a day you will put the whip to Jesus’ back? It might not be a deliberate choice, but it is still a choice. Or, will you choose to overcome evil with the good of carrying the Cross? Jesus could certainly use your help……………….
Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for my tears. You made me realize the pain I myself have inflicted on your Son. Forgive me for letting evil choose my path. Today, I pray that good may be my direction. Even if my evil is just a simple little bystander of life thing, I know that you want more from me. Help me today God, to do my share of carrying the cross. In Jesus’, who keeps carrying my weight of evil, name I pray. Amen and amen.