A sinless man, chosen to carry the crude wooden cross, half naked and bleeding from the thorns pushed into his skull, is still kilometers away from being crucified. “Agua!”, he cries out as his body trembles under the weight he carries down the dusty road. The sun bears down on him with unrelenting heat, for it is the hottest time of the year, the dry season, yet no one offers him a drop of the water he begs for- until he is hanging on the cross.
His mother falls to her knees weeping. A bittersweet moment of pride and anguish. Her son was chosen; his desire since childhood fulfilled. She will be known as this years mother of Christ.
The account is televised live. The days following claim him more than a hero; in fact, he is believed to have become Jesus Christ. That is the only balm he cares for as the holes in his feet and hands are tended to in the local hospital. The medical attention lasts several days, then he is sent home to recuperate.
“What faith”, they say of him. Already young men wait in anticipation to see who will be chosen the following year.
This is the Mexico we live in.
Every year a man is crucified on Good Friday in Tlalixtac, a pueblo within a ten minute drive from our home. In fact, the hill where the crucifixion takes place can be seen from our yard.
We were invited to go, but I don’t think I’d be able to handle it. If we did go, it would be to pray…and weep for the lostness and ignorance of a people who want so much to love God but have been detoured on the way by false teachings.
How can they not know this is unnecessary? How can they be so deceived? Their minds are fully convinced this is a holy act that highly pleases God.
“How can the man chosen be without sin?”I asked Natividad, the lady who excitedly recounted the annual event to me.
“Because he’s a boy; he is still a virgin. They have medical proof of that”. Except it’s not a boy as you and I would think- it is a teenager, or young man, since obviously he has to be physically developed enough to carry the cross those several kilometers from the center of town to the foothills of the Sierra Sur. (Her answer also lends insight into this culture’s belief of how exactly boys become men!)
“Nati”, I said, “The Bible says that all have sinned, in fact we are all born into sin.”
“Todos, except for this man is without sin. That is why he’s chosen”, she replied with a very confident nod of her head.
“But Nati”, I continued to another point, “when Jesus died on the cross, he said ‘It is finished’. That meant no one ever had to go through that again; he completed the payment for sin.”
“Si“, she concurred, “and this man proves his faith in Christ by enduring this. It is wonderful! He becomes Christ for all to see. Everyone can live in faith on that day because of this.”
No matter how I tried, she was convinced of only what she has been raised with. The most curious thing was that she would agree with me as I shared Biblical truths, but then would tag on to them traditional customs born of false teaching, which ended up nullifying the very truths being shared!
I can’t describe the heaviness I feel inside me as a sincere people miss it completely! How can we convince them of the truth? We must intercede for them- that God would reveal the simplicity and purity of the Gospel to them; that their blinded hearts would know the truth and be set free.
And we must continue preaching the Good News, then make disciples for others to go and do the same.