The first thing that I noticed was his eyes; piercingly intense, visible even through the thick brown hair that was wet with sweat and had intermingled stains of red. Those eyes could have been wild with anger, or hate, we would have understood, but instead they were sincere, full of compassion and knowing. His eyes were kind – even today.
He was kneeling in thick dirt, dried mud from sweat and blood covered his hands to the elbow; his feet and calves were equally stained. The crowd roared with approval when the soldier raised the whip high to the sky. He yelled for the beaten man to “get up now.” Idiot. Didn’t he know that whipping a hurt man will not make him move any faster? I wanted to look away because he was my friend, my master, but I could not. The whip came down hard; his cry was muted by the force of the approving mob. He had been beaten, but he wasn’t beat. He moved his right foot slowly, dragging upward to a kneeling position. The cross was balanced on his right shoulder, with the cross member in front just past his knee and the end reaching ten feet behind. Weighing 200 pounds, it was a massive killing staff designed with only one purpose. The crowd continued screaming for more, hoping for another blow from the guard. But the guard was tired from a long night, so he rested, hoping for selfish reasons that the prisoner would stand up soon.
Jesus looked up to see the throng of humanity come to witness a murder. He could see past their clothing, through their skin and bones and into their souls. In the crowd of ignorance screaming for his death, he saw only beauty; he felt only love. Amazing! The guard was losing his patience and raised the whip once more, however he stopped when Jesus look directly at him. The whip slowly came back down, the crowd calmed momentarily; Jesus knew it was time.
With great effort, and through crushing pain, Jesus lifted the cross, moving to a standing position. He squared his shoulders, inhaled deeply, and looking past the city gate to the hill which was his final destination, took the first step towards the event that humanity had been waiting for since the garden and the apple.
Many in the crown that morning thought the story of the rebellious Rabbi would end that day. They could not have been more wrong; their error was greater than the east is from the west. He completed his assignment on earth by dying, and then he accomplished his heavenly mission by living again three days later. Never before, and never again will there be someone in whom we can place all of our trust, all of the time and never be disappointed. His story has no end.
Have a wonderful Easter.
Thanks for reading.