A Present Crucifixion

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.

6 thoughts on “A Present Crucifixion

  1. All I have to say is that I believe only love can change peoples hearts not accusations or degrading their moral and ethical beliefs. Just a thought…

  2. oh my goodness.

    i am at a loss of words.

    intercession is the only thing that brings Truth to the light.

    I agree with you Ilona. Truth stands alone. Truth alone will prevail. Keep on sharing Truth. Keep on asking questions. Eternity itself will declare Truth the victor.

    blessings – and many prayers!

  3. I do think Mary was without sin though.
    But, I didn’t want to come on your blog to start an argument. (Now I think of it I have no idea how I ended up here, tag surfing probably)) but just lately I have been studying the issue of popular piety and I just find it so beautiful. And I wanted to share that side of things too, even though you probably won’t listen.

    A friend of mine said that one should never try to destroy something that one does not understand the value of, or even love. I’m not saying you are off in Mexico trying to destroy popular piety, but if you ever think to yourself of destroying such things, make sure you know the value of what you take.

  4. Well I can’t say what is inside peoples minds that I never met. But maybe they just mean he has not sinned since his baptism or since his last confession or something?

    Ok I admit the whole idea of his actually being believed to be Jesus Christ is… off.
    But I think the whole reenacting the Crucifixion thing is a really beautiful custom. They do it in the Philippines (even though the Catholic Church has told them they are taking the way they do it to too great an extreme!). It’s the kind of thing that I find really beautiful and inspiring.

    When I think about Christ’s Passion, again and again I think “I have no idea” I try and imagine what it is to actually see, feel, taste, smell, hear the sounds of it all… and I can’t grasp it. But to see this kind of re-enaction gives a real concrete and powerful reminder of the depth of the reality of what Christ did for us.

  5. What is the purpose of what these young men do?

    How on earth do they think anyone could be without sin? It is this ignorance we must pray that God open their eyes to. Only with God calling them and giving them faith can they walk with Christ.

    I have quit starting conversations using the word sin when speaking with Mexicans. I use the words faults and failures. Only once they admit they are imperfect do I use the word sin. It is only then can we begin to break through the many different folk beliefs my people have (my mother was from Mexico).

    I realized one day while discussing sin with a woman that she could admit to sin but not to moral failure. Once I got her to admit to making choices she knew she should not have, and having done things she knew were wrong (especially rebellion), THEN she could see what I meant by sin. THEN she could admit she could not enter heaven on her own. Then I was able to help her see even Mary was not without sin. After that, it was easy to how her her need for Christ and that if she had a close relationship with Him, she had no need to pray to Mary.

  6. I think “necessary” is looking at it wrong.
    What is so wrong with popular piety? I think when people do stuff like this it shows how much they love and want to imitate God. What is so wrong with that. Sometimes we need a bit of crazy zeal as a reminder for the rest of us.


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