Even though the sun is shining today, it’s cold in this pit. I knew it would be. I already had the chills when I read the sign announcing One Way Crypt.
We’re underneath the house of Caiaphas. descending into its lower depths by the stone circular steps. But this is not the way Jesus came in here. There was only one way in for him. And only one way out.
Jesus was lowered through a narrow hole in the roof. There would have been nothing careful about it. He was dangled on a rope, dropped in the darkness on the cold stone floor. And left. Alone.
This is the pit where Jesus spent the last evening of his life. It’s just one of the many prisons underneath the house of the High Priest. But it’s the deepest. And probably the darkest.
And as I run my hand over these rough, icy stones I wonder…if they could speak, what would they tell of a young man from Galilee?
Did he run his hands over these same stones too? Because those were powerful hands!
Weren’t they the hands that first molded the mountains and swelled the seas? Weren’t they the hands that scooped up dirt to give sight to the blind; that commanded a storm be still; that healed the lame with just one touch?
And if all that is true, then surely this pit did not need to be a One Way crypt at all. There would have been several ways out for Jesus. He could have dissolved the stones with his little finger; molded a stairway in an instant, or commanded the pit disappear.
But he didn’t.
I doubt if he even curled those powerful hands into fists and pounded on these walls, as I surely would have done.
In a moment I’ll climb those steps and leave this horrible place. I will probably sip on a cappuccino and maybe browse the gift shop, as tourists do. I’ll sit in the sunshine where it’s light and warm. My escape from the pit will be an easy one.
And his could have been too.
But instead Jesus chose to wait until they hauled on that rope, and dragged him through that narrow hole, his body banging and scraping and bleeding against those icy stones….on his way to the cross.
And it’s not until I’m actually here, in this horrible pit, that I realize the enormity of the choice he made.
The one way. The only way.
And that it was for me.