“And sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.” (Matthew 27:36) This verse is tucked in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion. It is a verse we are tempted to miss if we are read the Scriptures carelessly. Yet, this verse relates something about the nature of humanity to all who pay attention.
Jesus is dying and they are watching. They seem to be wondering what is going to happen. Jesus always had a way of surprising people. Perhaps they were watching for the unexpected or maybe the religious leaders at the cross simply wanted to be sure that Jesus would die. For whatever reason, they watched Him.
Folks had watched Christ throughout the entirety of His ministry. They watched with wonder at times and they watched with disdain at times. Some believed and some would reject Jesus, but, they couldn’t ignore Him.
The same thought is true today. People are still watching Jesus. But how do they “watch Jesus” today? They watch Him by observing the lives of His followers. Jesus is no longer here and you and I have been given the command to be His witness (Acts 1:8) and His ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). They watch Jesus by watching us.
How do we represent Jesus best? We exalt Jesus best by being people of grace and truth (John 1:14). Loving people and sharing the good news of the Gospel are good ways to start. Seeing folks the way Jesus saw them is also an important thought to keep in mind.
When people look to us as Christians, what are they seeing? What are our lives revealing about our Lord whom we follow? Are we giving an accurate representation of Jesus to those who observe our daily lives? These are sober and haunting questions. These are questions we should consider carefully during this Holy Week and every week of the year.