– by May Joseph
The crowing of the cock resonated yet again, which made the man warming his hands by the fire gaze fearfully around him and as his brows furrowed, he remembered. He remembered his friend saying to him, ‘Peter, Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me thrice’!! With guilt written all over his face, Peter bowed his head and wept bitterly.
As the saying goes today ‘ there’s a Judas among us’ was positively appropriate in the following situation and I guess it was here that the saying was born.
Judas committed suicide! The realization hit him after the deed was done which brought to remembrance the words of his master when he said, ‘Judas, you will betray me!’ Which he did for thirty pieces of silver. When reality kicked in, he threw down the tainted money and hung himself.
When questioned by the authorities as to what did he do to his own nation that they wanted him dead?
He replied, ” My kingdom is not of this world”. Another asked, “Are you a king then?” His replies to them just caused them to be more mystified than ever. Eventually after some deliberation – The die was cast! He had to die!
The Judge and Jurors
The saying ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ is really not applicable in this story. The man was accused, judged and sentenced all at the same time.
The leader had him whipped and a crown of thorns placed upon his head. Throwing a purple robe about his shoulders, they mockingly saluted him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’
Pushing and prodding they led him away to begin his fateful journey. Oh the horror of it all!
The Uphill trudge
It was a long, long way to the top of the hill. It was even more so as he carried what looked to be a huge log. As the word spread throughout that land of the events to unfold, a pulsing excitement could be felt mingled with the throbbing of intense fear.
Toiling and sweating, he trudged through the beaten path, bearing his burden without a word of complaint.
The crowd following him were beyond control. While those dear to him were there to offer moral support, there were those who came solely to mock and spit upon him as he passed by. When the chorus went up to ‘ Crucify Him’, the already massive crowed danced and cheered with morbid delight.
Faithful to the End
As his friends silently followed, Mary stood out from the crowd as one his closest friends. Tears of sorrow and pain pouring down her face, she gazed at him while he was being spat upon, scorned, mocked and beaten. I’m sure he could gauge the palpatating sadness of his dear loved ones. But, there was nothing he could do or say to ease their pain.
But, to his advantage, being the son of a carpenter and of course working for his father gave him an added edge as his arms and shoulders were able to bear the brunt of the heavy load. But even the strongest of persons’ will eventually get tired in the face of these adverse conditions that he was subjected to. So with muscles rippling and veins protruding, he solemnly makes his way to his destination with nary a word being uttered.
While some were privately weeping, and others openly rude, not a sound issued from his bruised and parched lips.
At last to the place of the ‘Skull’ they arrive. I’m sure the man’s tired, beaten body was throbbing with the many beatings he had received during his long walk to what he perceived correctly to be his destiny. Roughly handled by the soldiers as they prepared him for his fate he quietly submitted. The shouts of the people crowding around drowned out everything. The prayers of those dear to him perhaps soothed his mind but also made him aware that ‘His fate was decided many many years ago!’
A caring Son
Knowing his mother will be sorely overcome with grief by this time, he did what any loving son would do. He lovingly places her hand into the hand of his dear friend John while saying to her, ‘Mother, please take a hold of John’s hand as he is your son now”. Trying as she must have done on numerous occasions to accept the fate of her son, she must have still felt a gut wrenching fear knowing her son is about to die. Turning to John he said, “There! Take a hold of her as she is your mother now!” Anyone listening to this exchange would have felt the mother’s loss on the one hand of a loving son and a sense of gain on the other hand at having yet another son to love and cherish.
They nailed him to that piece of log which they made into a cross! My guess is that by this time the jeering had gotten louder and louder as the weeping of his loved ones must have grown a lot more and more intense. Lips filled with dust and grime, he cackled out through parched lips, ‘ I am thirsty’. On hearing this, someone in that awful crowd sponged his lips and mouth with vinegar. The utter heartlessness of these people!!
When he tasted the vinegar he said, ” It is finished!; then bowing his head, he died”. Not satisfied that the man had died a cruel death, the soldiers took a spear and pierced his side to ensure that death was a certainty. Pouring out of the wound was blood and water depicting a surety of death.
Oh my word! It grew ominously quiet! But I can assure you that this is not over! no way! not by a long shot.
The Delivery and Burial
His body was taken down and delivered to a rich man who had begged to be given his body for burial.
Joseph, the rich man of Aramathae’a, wrapped the body in clean linen, placed it in a tomb and shut the opening with a huge stone.
” He is not here” was the frantic cry heard. Crying uncontrollably, Mary peeped into the tomb to find that the body of her dear friend is not there. “Why are you crying Mary, and who are you looking for?” someone asked. Not recognizing her friend as the one speaking to her but thinking him to be the gardener, she enquired of him, “where have you taken him, tell me please so I can go get him and take him away.” The man again called her by name saying “Mary”. Turning to him and recognizing him she said “Master”.
The above is not a story as told by many a story teller of fables, its in actual fact a reality. The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is perhaps the most listened to story that’s ever been told. Its the most preached about story at this time of year being Easter. Its the most heartbreaking story ever told but also the most heartwarming as we have come to understand the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross. We know and believe that in order to meet God in heaven one day we have to be saved by believing that the story above is true! We need to accept that Jesus died for us when he died on the cross. And that through His death we are free from the bondage of Adam’s sin. We also know that to accept Jesus as our Savior mean that we have eternal life.