“Jesus Christ, Superstar” is my Lenten tradition. The 1970’s musical gets me into the Easter spirit the way carols get me into the Christmas spirit. So when I read his name in today’s gospel, I hear the deep bass voice of Caiaphas as he was portrayed in the film. Composer Andrew Lloyd Weber sets this biblical passage as “This Jesus Must Die,” a song/conversation between priests about how to solve the problem of Jesus. It’s a critical moment in the film, contrasting the priests minor key voices and arrhythmic banging on scaffolding with the naïve major key harmonies of the followers of Jesus.
The surprising difference between the musical and the gospel according to John is that the Evangelist describes Caiaphas justifying why Jesus had to die:
“he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation,
and not only for the nation,
but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
So from that day on they planned to kill him.”
Caiaphas believes his duty was to have the “king of the Jews” unjustly murdered. The Evangelist takes this opportunity to show that, out of this crime, something beautiful would result that would change the world – and us – forever.
The same perspective can apply to important moments in our own lives; since sometimes you need to destroy something good in order to achieve something great.
Occasionally you need to tear your house apart, destroying plaster and wiring maybe entire walls in order to make it really work for you. It can be a difficult process, but when the sawdust settles and the paint dries your home will be better than it was before. Planting a vegetable garden usually starts with tearing up the best, sunniest patch of a lawn. By the end of the season, instead of grass to mow you will have vegetables to share. Sometimes you need a good cry before you can pick yourself up and move on.
Pain can be a part of growth. Pain can be redemptive. And in the end, you will be better for having lived through it.
Q: What pain (physically, emotionally or spiritually) have I journeyed through and came out the other side better for it?