Today the church remembers the death of Jesus on the cross. As we read the story we often denigrate the Roman soldiers, the Jewish religious leaders, Pilate and even the followers of Jesus.
How could they not know that this was the Son of God we ask? How could they mock Him as He hung on the cross and died?
I recently read an article by Steve Cordle in his book A Jesus-Shaped Life which I would like to share here.
A forty-year-old white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap found a spot next to a garbage can near the entrance of the Washington metro station. He pulled a violin from a small case and placed the open case at his feet. As most huskers do, he threw in a few dollars as seed money and began to play.
He spent the next forty-three minutes playing immortal classics by Mozart and Schubert as a parade of people streamed by. This violinist was no ordinary street musician, however, and he didn’t need the money. His name is Joshua Bell, and he is one of the finest concert violinists in the world. The violin he was playing was a Stradivarius made in 1713 and worth over $3.5 million.
The Washington Post newspaper had arranged for him to play at the metro as an experiment in whether people would recognize greatness and beauty in unlikely places. That day, 1097 people passed by Bells concert. Seven people stopped to listen to him play. Only one person recognized him.
That same week, Bell played to capacity concert hall crowds paying at least $100 per ticket. At the subway Bell collected a total of about $32 from the twenty-seven people who stopped long enough to donate.
It is understandable that most people did not recognize Bell. Even if they were classical music buffs, no one expects to come upon a world-renowned virtuoso playing in the subway.
No one expected that God would appear on earth in the form of a servant either.
But are we any different today? How often do we go about our busy lives – doing our own thing – and take little or no time to communicate with Jesus? How often do we make decisions without even bothering to seek His direction? How often do we fail to see His mercy, His love and His grace all about us? How much of our time is devoted to our own pursuits with little time left over for Him?
As we reflect on His death so long ago, help us to not be guilty of giving Him a few moments this weekend and then go back to our own routines with little or no acknowledgment of Him.