I read the passion as a story of what happened to Christ, but I am flattering myself. If I were alive at the time, even if I followed Jesus I would have seen his passion as a story of what the Governor and religious authorities did. Christ would have only been- at best- a secondary character of personal interest to me. The Pharisees and the Procurator had all the prestige, the degrees, the power, and benefit of cultural reverence. I would have envied and been cowed by them just as much as I now envy and am cowed by tenured, well published philosophers at prestigious universities. I think about how hard it is for me not to see Brian Leiter and P.Z. Myers as the primary figures in stories which feature them (especially about religious topics).
Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying I would have agreed with what the Governor or the Pharisees did. I might have thought it was a terrible crime. I’m saying that while looking a the events of passover weekend, I probably would have seen them as “What Caiaphas, Pilate, and Roman Legion X (now forgotten) did”. Christ would have been, even to those who loved him, the supporting actor in a tale of injustice or mixed motives, not the lead role in the passion play.