Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Cross

My husband wrote a story about the cross that I think is perfect to share right before we celebrate Easter.  I hope it touches your heart as it touched mine.  What a great sacrifice Jesus paid for us.

The Cross (by Kevin)

She was at the market purchasing bread when she heard a tumult coming up the street. As the large group approached, she came to realize that it was another criminal being marched outside of Jerusalem to be crucified. She supposed it was another lazy vagabond who was caught stealing from a tax collector. Why wasn’t this solved per Moses’ command she thought as she gripped the sack of food tighter. She turned away from the barley loaves she was looking to purchase and turned towards the center of the market. A large group surrounded the parade of soldiers escorting the criminal.

Wasn’t it bad enough that this criminal stole or killed someone? To be tortured on a cross by the Roman soldiers was more than she could tolerate. It was inhumane to die that way. Couldn’t they wait until the Passover was finished before executing judgment on this man? With anger rising within her she became distracted from her well laid out plan of obtaining food for the feast.

The crowd came up the alley where she was standing, and the man dragging the cross stumbled to the ground. It was very loud, with yells and cries from all around the criminal. She heard a man yell “Crucify him!” and an old woman say “He made himself out to be the Son of God”. She also saw a group of women crying at the back of the group. A young religious leader lunged toward the condemned and spit on him. The moisture hit the cross causing a red sparkle of light to shine from the wood as the spit mixed with blood.  This act caused the procession to stop. The young leader was standing near with his chest heaving with each breath and his face red with rage. The criminal looked at him and stared deeply. He didn’t show anger. He looked on the young rabbi in a way that reminded the woman of her father’s look before being embraced with a hug.

This reaction caught her off guard, as she couldn’t fathom what she just observed. She found herself following the group as they slowly moved out of town. When she realized where they were heading she felt a shiver of fear come upon her. They were going to the place known as “The Skull”. She looked up the hill and saw two crosses standing in the distance. What was she doing? Her family would be wondering what was taking her so long. She wanted to go home but she couldn’t stop following the group.

At the top of the hill the malefactor again collapsed to the ground. The soldiers quickly rolled him onto his back and placed the cross member under his head. They forcefully grabbed his hands, extended his arms and tied them tightly to the beam. Then another soldier knelt down with a large mallet and metal spikes in his hand. He swiftly swung the mallet, hitting the spike, and driving it through the man’s arm. She heard the muffled thud of the strike. Then the man cried out in pain as the crowd quieted. The woman nearly collapsed from the shock of the brutality. For the next few moments all that was heard was the strikes of the powerfully swung mallet. Each thud echoed in her body louder than the last blow. She dropped her bag and tears began to flow down her face.  She couldn’t control the tears and sobs. There were cries for mercy from the edge of the crowd but the soldiers were indifferent to the pleas. They methodically completed their task and hung the man on the cross. Between the tears, she noticed that this man didn’t fight to get off the cross, as the criminals he was between. The nails weren’t tearing through his flesh as she expected. It was as if something else was holding him there.

She then noticed a sign that was affixed to the cross above the man which stated “This is Jesus the King of the Jews”. She couldn’t believe that this was the mighty prophet and miracle worker that she had heard so much about. Why did the sign say he was the King of the Jews? Did he claim to be the Messiah? While she thought on this, the crowd began to taunt Jesus saying,”If you be the Son of God come down from the cross.” He didn’t reply to the accusation. He didn’t even beg for mercy as the two criminals around him pleaded to get relief from the tortuous pain. He acted as if he was ready to die. It was as though he acknowledged his crime and was stoically accepting a just punishment.

The sky darkened and it appeared as if a storm was forming. A cold gust of air blew over the hill and she moved towards a windbreak with some of the women who followed after Jesus. She could still see the cross, with Jesus’ silhouette at the skyline. The sky grew darker and she was afraid to leave the safe location between the rocks. Then she heard a loud cry at the top of the hill. Jesus called out and all of the onlookers hushed to hear what he was saying. While looking towards Jesus, she heard the wood of the cross crack and groan. She saw the beams bow as if a tremendous weight had been hung on them. Jesus was writhing in pain and she could hear the anguish in His voice. He cried out again, but this time His voice was followed by a sound of distant thunder. The noise increased in intensity and she realized that the ground was shaking and the sound was the earth breaking below her. She moved away from the rocks as they toppled into each other. She was frightened and ran towards her home.  Before reaching the road to Jerusalem she turned back and saw Jesus hanging lifelessly from the cross.

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