three words

by Zach Kincaid

I never liked coming here. It’s something about the mood in the streets. There’s a wandering caution, a guarded angst. I always hear a careful whisper that plots through marketplace and dinner table until some sign confirms its truth. It happened not so long ago when those Eastern stargazers aroused worry about a usurper-king. The gods know I don’t ever want to awaken these people and have Rome question my leadership...

...Maybe I can go unnoticed by Caiaphus and his priestly cohorts. No. I see him winding through the streets even now. His letters have assaulted the carriers with their frequency, talking of some man, some problem they tried first throwing off a cliff. And then they attempted to lose his scent by slicing a prophet’s head.

Oh, over-confident Caiaphus - is he the man who ransacked your temple and let loose your golden purse? You walk with great determination. I suppose there is no escaping your plans, your claws, your posturing lest Rome find out how loud you can whine.

I can’t cut clear of this place, its customs that stop suns and destroy whole cities by trumpets.

So this is the man, a king to the Jews, a god that wears human feet! Ha! Their god has jumped from that temple box to a walking man. What next? A pillar of fire? Bread and wine? Look at him! I see nothing of his threats or his guilt. But the people, their chants may bear wings to Rome. Well, this clown has begun this bazaar. I will not be the conductor.

My wife brings warning? Her dreams demand I have no dealings with this man. (Why? Could it be…) I will allow the people to decide. That is most wise. I have heard of this people’s Solomon, his wisdom that found the baby’s mother. This is their king! Let them cut him in half or embrace him with their freedom. Barabbas or Jesus, yes, that’s a fix. Barabbas has killed and has stolen. Surely, if this be their king, they will override these holy priests and demand justice.

I wash my hands. I am innocent. This is one man, one death that will pass with the coming of tomorrow. I will take no comment on his injuries and no place in his pitiful plight. I wash my hands. I am innocent of this blood.

Three words, I am innocent, mocked the I AM, the God of Moses, and charmed all the devils of hell. Three words struck the wrists and ankles of the Almighty. These three words keep most of humanity at bay while this man, this king, this god whispers, “I am the way, truth, and life. You need not perish.”

Wash your hands if you’d like, but until this Jesus washes your feet you will not be clean.