The question posed was “How were you affected by the video portraying Jesus’ execution on a cross?
Over the several years that students have responded to that question, their answers have ranged from “The Passion of Christ” sort of prepared me for what I thought I might see” to “I had to stop the video several times to allow my emotions to settle down.” Since I have seen it many times while teaching Life of Jesus courses, I can sympathize with the gamut of the students’ self-disclosures.
But, the following response * caught me by surprise, as I realized she had gone to the emotional impact and beyond it to the stage of critical self-evaluation. I’ll let her speak for herself:
“When I worked for a college on the West Coast about seven years ago, I attended a convocation for students and staff that really hit home with me. It was presented by theology students and included the use of a large sledge hammer, railroad spikes and a railroad timber. Four times the students pounded spikes into that timber, each time reminding those in attendance that Jesus was lying on a timber much like the railroad tie and hearing the same sounds of those pounding nails. I cried because I knew that my sin put Jesus there and I didn’t deserve his suffering and death to save me.
“I had the same reaction watching “How Jesus Died”. How much suffering my Lord went through to save me and the rest of us sinners!
“I am glad Jesus thinks we are worth the price. I don’t.”
Her final two words were not at all what I expected to read. At the same time, I sensed that I was in the presence of a student whose candor and self-awareness were a refreshing act of worship. She loves Jesus so much that she is not afraid to say, “God, I still haven’t arrived. I still am unable to see either the world in general, or myself in particular, the way You see us. God, heal my unbelief.”
* permission granted by the student