We normally don’t post fiction here on Wonderfully Odd, but we decided to do something special for Easter. Thanks, Becca, for the short story!
I HAD NEVER SEEN anything like it! I mean, the Romans crucify people frequently, but he was different somehow. There was something about his character and nature. The way he spoke to people, even when he was dying… but let me start at the beginning.
This man called Jesus of Nazareth has been around for some time now. He travels, heals people, and gives amazing sermons. The Pharisees do not like him at all, though. They allege that he was a blasphemer, but I never thought they would actually arrest him. Had he done any wrong? But, nevertheless, he was arrested and put on trial. I don’t normally go to those sort of things, but I was curious how this would all turn out.
Early that morning, Jesus was dragged onto the great stage in front of Pilate. He barely could stand, and the poor man looked as though he had been kept awake all night and beaten many times. His clothes were ripped, his arms and legs bruised and bleeding. Behind and all around him stood the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes. They called out different accusations towards Jesus, the main one being that he claimed to be the Son of God. As their condemning shouts became louder, the crowd grew larger.
Pilate didn’t look too pleased with this whole ordeal and finally confronted Jesus himself. “Art thou the King of the Jews?”
Jesus meekly replied, “Thou sayest.”
Then the band of his accusers erupted, each with their own punishment for the imposter. Some even demanded death. Then the crowd around me began to murmur among themselves of what they thought should be done. One old woman turned to me. She was missing several teeth and her breath smelled putrid. She pointed a bony, old finger at me and said, “What do you think of this blasphemer?” I didn’t know what to say. My mind was spinning. I thought that he was innocent, really, but if I suggested that, the crowd might turn on me.
“He should be punished for his sin”, I lied, “to the fullest extent that the law will allow!”
After I uttered those words, Pilate spoke up. He authoritatively explained to the crowd which was now turning into a mob that he found no fault in this man, and then announced he would release him for the Passover celebration, as was custom.
Then once again the people all around me started shouting “No! We want Barabbas instead. Give us Barabbas!”
Pilate, looking annoyed, asked the multitude, “What shall I do then with Jesus?”
“Crucify him!” came the shouts. The old woman who had questioned my opinion moments before started to join in. She nudged me with her scrawny elbow as if to say, come on! “Crucify him!” I raised my voice with the rest of the crowd. “Crucify him!”
Later that day I showed up to see if Pilate would truly listen to our angry chants. I really felt bad about the whole thing. I mean, had this man really done anything wrong, let alone anything worthy of crucifixion? But his fate had now been decided. I followed the stream of people up to Golgotha where most crucifixions took place. On top of the hill, the stench of death mixed with sweat and animal feces lingered in the air. A parade of Roman soldiers mixed in with beaten prisoners carrying heavy crosses wound through the crowd. One by one a soldier would yell for a prisoner to stop and have him drop his cross. He would force the beaten and half dead prisoner to lay down on the rough piece of wood. Then he would pull a hammer and long metal nails from his satchel and drive them through the convict’s wrists and feet. I flinched with every hit.
Then my attention was turned to a different prisoner, the one who was there by my screams. The one who really had done no wrong, and most importantly, the one who claimed to be the Son of God. He was so weak that he couldn’t carry his own cross and a man was pulled from the crowd to carry it for him. His back was covered with stripes that could have only come from the cat-o’-nine tails. Blood was dripping from his head, where out of mockery had been placed a crown of long thorns that cut through Jesus’ skin.
The hatred that was pouring from the crowd was horrific. The foul old woman who had placed so much pressure on me to yell against this man was standing across from me on the other side of the road. She spat as Jesus passed and hissed that if he was a king he should save himself. A tear escaped my eye as guilt and pity welled up in my heart. I didn’t understand why I felt this way about someone that I wasn’t very close to and hadn’t known for long.
Then later that afternoon I finally understood. Jesus had been hanging on the cross for several agonizing hours. His face was truly the face of despair and humiliation. All these hours Roman soldiers had been mocking him. They had even placed a sign above his head saying, “This is the King of the Jews.”
Jesus spoke of how He loved us and how the whole point of the cross was to give us forgiveness for our sins. He then said it was our job to share His love and forgiveness with others.
Suddenly Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
At that moment I did know! I knew that man was truly the Son of God. He was not the criminal that the public had made Him out to be. He was, in fact, the opposite. Jesus of Nazareth was love and mercy and forgiveness. He had asked God to forgive the people, like me, that put Him on that cross. He finally breathed His last and died. As soon as He was no longer breathing, the earth shook and rocks split in two. I think everyone knew at that point that a huge mistake had been made.
The last couple days I have felt so much guilt I could barely stand it. I haven’t eaten much and have suffered sleepless nights. Then yesterday, three days after Jesus’ death, rumors were everywhere. Jesus’ body was missing. Some said the disciples stole His body; others that He had never really been buried in that tomb. But the only one I believe was that Jesus rose from the dead! I am now convinced that He is truly the Son of God!
Last night I was invited to a meeting of His close friends and disciples. I went not quite knowing what to expect, but when I arrived the room was full of others who were also searching for answers. As we gathered in and settled down, one of the disciples stood up to speak, but then, Jesus walked in! The room was full of happiness, excitement, and questions. Then Jesus started to speak. He spoke of how He loved us and how the whole point of the cross was to give us forgiveness for our sins. He then said it was our job to share His love and forgiveness with others. As He talked though, I couldn’t help but notice the scars in His hands, and the deep wounds and deformity right where the nails had pierced His flesh.
After He finished speaking, I went up and told Him what I had done and said in His trial, and I begged for His forgiveness. His response was, “All is forgiven.” After I had accused Him and called out that He should be put to death, He still forgave me! His pardon took all my guilt away and made me feel clean inside. His love and forgiveness to me has thrilled me and given me a joy, a peace deep down, and a love for others I can’t describe! I praise His precious name for forgiving me of my sins! The Son of God has changed my life! Will you let Him change yours?