What If I’d Been There?

So often, when I read my Bible, I wonder how I’d think and behave if I were actually present in the story. Would I act in the same way as the original participants, or would I choose to be different? It’s hard to know for sure. We’re living in a modern era now, far removed from life as it was in the days of Jesus, or King David, or Moses.

At the moment I’m reading King Solomon’s book, Ecclesiastes, and it’s amazing how his words fit our times. Take this verse for instance:

Wisdom is better than warheads, but one hothead can ruin the good earth ~ Ecclesiastes 9: 18 – The Message Bible.

Here’s how it reads in the Good News Bible: Wisdom does more good than weapons, but one sinner can undo a lot of good.  

In these days of the pandemic, most people are being sensible and acting for the benefit of all the members in their community. But a few careless ones are pleasing themselves, making life difficult for everyone else. There will probably be pundits in the future who’ll have an opinion on how we’ve behaved in our time, and they might be right. But they could also be wrong!

As Solomon said, The quiet words of the wise are more effective than the ranting of a king of fools ~ Ecclesiastes 9: 17  (Msg).

Below is a poem I wrote years ago. Maybe you can get into my head as you read it and wonder along with me: ‘What if I were there when Jesus lived among the people in Jerusalem and faced challenges that would test his disciples as well as him?

What If I’d Been There?

When they gathered for the special meal that evening in spring,

what if I’d been there;

not merely on the sidelines,


but into everything?

When they argued who would be the greatest of them all,

what if I’d been there?

Would I nominate myself,


I had the highest call?

When Jesus knelt before each one, began to wash their feet,

what if I’d been there?

Would I have drawn my legs away,


his servant heartbeat?

When the Master opened up the truth, exposed the stark betrayal,

what if I’d been there?

Would I have searched my heart for hate,


all that would entail?

‘My body for your life’, said Jesus, as he passed around the bread.

What if I’d been there?

Would I have understood his words


us his sacrifice was in our stead?

His blood, like wine, the seal upon the covenant, would lie:

a new one that he made with us,


And like the Egyptians’ eldest sons,

God’s first son would also die.

When the others said they’d never leave, would even die his death,

what if I’d been there?

Would my voice be raised with theirs,


‘…alone he would be left?’

Before they walked into the night, a holy hymn was sung.

What if I’d been there

and heard his voice, like a prelude,


accompanying my own?

In the garden would I have stayed awake to hear his dreadful prayer?

What if I were there?

Would I comfort him and wipe his tears?

What if I followed after him and braved the leaders’ ire?

What if …? What if I …?

What if I were there?

But now I know he prayed for me.

In his mind I was there.

He ensured this meal would take me back,


he’ll return by God’s decree.

© Lyn Thiele

Luke 22: 14-46

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4 Responses to What If I’d Been There?

  1. Jacqui Conlon says:

    Beautiful, thoughtful, brought me to tears.

    • Thank you, Jacqui.
      It’s amazing how your last phrase doesn’t make me feel bad. In fact my response is gratitude. What a wonderful gift God has given us in tears.
      Love, Lyn

  2. Adele Palmer says:

    Thank you, Lyn. Amen to Jacqui’s reaction.
    This post fits like a glove with my recent reading of Walter Wangerin and Anne Rice. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but the fictionalisation of Jesus’ life definitely had a ‘What if I’d been there?’ impact.
    Love, Adele

    • thielelyn says:

      Thanks, Adele. I guess God gave us imaginations for a good reason – to realise how we might feel if we were there. That makes me think that I shouldn’t just feel as if I’m with Jesus – I am!

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