While we are rightly focused on what happens to Jesus today, He Himself turns the question on to us:
“Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.”
It may seem like a simple response of Jesus during His trial, but there is a powerful implication in it: we have some answering to do as well.
To claim Christ as our Messiah and Lord – which is the proper response to hearing what He says to us – we must be willing to stand up and be counted among His own. What have we heard and seen? Can we do the same?
The Passion of the Lord, which we just heard proclaimed, includes a judicial process – a trial – which is featured rather prominently. Jesus is on trial – as are His teachings. Here, before us, Jesus is the witness. In Greek, the word is martyrion, whence we get “martyr.”
In light of Jesus’ trial – and, in particular, in light of His suggestion that His questioners ask those who heard Him – what sort of witnesses are we?
Are we like Judas, who was lost, failed to understand Christ, and ultimately despaired?
Are we like Peter, who eventually fell silent and cowardly denied Jesus?
Are we like the beloved disciple, who needed to be near Christ and followed Him into the high priest’s house?
Are we like His Mother Mary, who compassionately and faithfully shared in the suffering of Her Son?
As Christians – as disciples – the Cross stands at the intersection of our life with God and our life with others. It is there – in the Cross – that our witness is made too, just like Jesus. This is His ultimate “hour,” and it is ours.
As we have seen recently in places like Egypt, this witness can involve pain, sacrifice and suffering; but this is the way of the disciple. Our witness must flow from Jesus and what we have seen and heard.