We've been studying Christ's ministry and crucifixion in Matthew as a family over the past month. I've been baffled by how when Pilate brought Jesus before the crowd they all shouted "crucify him". I thought where were the 5,000 that followed him to listen to his teachings? Where were all those he healed to shout "set him free"? Where were they??!! And how could Peter deny him 3 times! I've always been someone who marches to their own tune and didn't mind standing out or apart from the rest--choosing my way even if it departed from the rest. When I was in college I thrived on that fact. I've often thought I wouldn't be able to deny him, but would I have had the strength to speak apart from the rest? If I did I probably would have been stoned or spat upon or who knows as the people back then were brutal.
This past Sunday I got a better understanding of what it must have been like. I direct the children's choir at my church. I am always looking for creative ways to teach the music so that the kids will enjoy singing. This past Sunday I borrowed someone's idea to play tic-tac-toe. I made a giant board with different song titles in each square. I divided the two halves of the room into x -team and O-team and let the game commence. Near the end of one round one child chose not to block the other team to prevent them from winning so that they could sing a particular song. I asked him if he knew how to play and what the object of the game was and he said "yes". There immediately was an uproar from his teammates to change the square. He was holding his ground and starting to turn red in the process. Again the crowd swelled with "NO! CHANGE IT!!!!" The boy about burst into tears and at the last second changed it despite his original desire, sat down and cried while attempting to sing the new song--not of his choosing. My first thought was, "boy, was this a STUPID idea!". My second thought was, "Wow...this is what it must have been like". You could see the shame in his face as he tried to hold his ground and go against what everyone was telling him. The pressure was too great.
As our society grows further and further away from Christianity I wonder if it will again get to that point. In all the films I see whenever there is someone religious they are always painted in a poor light. As someone who is judgemental and self-righteous--imposing their "crazy" beliefs on everyone else. Joseph smith believed in Christ and that He visited him and what happened to him? He couldn't deny what he saw--what he believed and as a result was teased, beaten, thrown in jail for no good reason and eventually murdered. What did he have to gain by sticking to his story? Nothing. When he heard the crowd and how adversely they reacted to what he saw and heard he could have easily caved and denied it all. But, he didn't. Believing and following Christ has never been a "popular" idea and I don't know that it ever will be. I hope I am never put to that test and have to choose like that.
OK, so this is quite a lengthy post so I'd better quit. Don't know if it led anywhere, but there's my food for thought for the day..... This morning we'll be reading about Christ's resurrection. At least, there is always a happy ending to the story of Christ's life. I think that's why I like happy endings. I believe in Christ and that we all will be resurrected someday and that is good news!