I found an interesting resource on-line that spoke about the different types of people in the crowd that day. There were the Pharisees who were tied to the law. They were focused on protecting the law, and believed that the key to all the good things in the world rested in obedience to the law of Moses, and the laws set forth by the rabbis. They were watching everyone else in the crowd, on the look out for obedience – or disobedience – to the law.
Then there were the Sadducees, the folks who believed you got what you deserved. If you were/are sick or poor or unemployed it must be because that’s what God wanted for you…who can question God’s will?
Another group was that of the Zealots. They were looking for a way to overthrow those in power. Whatever will stir the pot and lead to a new order was something they supported. Their methods were deadly…
And then finally there were the common folk, the crowd. They were just hoping for some small measure or word of hope.
It seems to me we all wear one of these masks on occasion. I grew up – on into adulthood – believing much like the Pharisees. I believed in following the law, obeying the rules, unable to think outside the lines, to respond spontaneously and know that sometimes rules need to be broken for the sake of compassion.
Who among us has not thought or behaved like a Sadducee? Seeing someone dirty and grungy, or a family stuck in the endless cycle of poverty…. “If only they…” This is the easy way out – the harder way is finding some way to end the cycle, to find some redeeming quality to the individual life in front of us.
Oh my, have I ever been a Zealot on occasion, thinking I know a better way. I am happy to report that I have never moved to the edge of being dangerous to those in power, but certainly in my idealized youth I thought I had more insight than the ruling elite, and even today, those feelings arise. Oh yes they do…
But most of the time you and I are members of the crowd, patiently waiting, working and praying for some hopeful turn of events. We share inspirational messages, we support worthy causes, we speak up for those who are not empowered to speak for themselves. Maybe this is not a mask at all, but our true face, the reality of our being. We can hope so.