A fictional view on the crucification of Jesus Christ
I wrote this text some years ago in a tent when spending a week at Taizé (France). Somehow it was a result of the daily bible studies, but I can’t remember the complete circumstances. Today I turned on my laptop for a different reason, I found the text when trying to clean up my harddrive. So I spontaneously decided to put it on my blog. Think of it whatever you like, comments are welcome.
The man in the middle
I was working in my open shop (I am a blacksmith) that remarkable day. Between and even over the clangs of my hammer transforming a hot strip of iron into a horseshoe, I heard somewhat like a riot coming from outside. I heard shouts of „crucify him!“ and sensed great anger.
I was curious what was going on, left everything in the shop and stepped out into the sunshine. After I managed to make my way through the crowd I saw the target of the angry shouts and accusations. Almost naked, his body marked with countless bleeding wounds and carrying his own instrument of torture and death was a man, rather creeping than walking.
I had heard of him, I realized that when I listened to his shouting offenders. He once had been feared by pharisees to bring down their orders and make way for change in some way. Others wisperd of wonders he worked, turning water into wine, healing the sick, silencing a storm. There were even rumors that he was the messiah…
And here he was. Defeated. Bleeding. Beaten up. And wearing a crown of thorns. A wave of pity struck me. How could people make him suffer so badly? As fas as I knew, he was a peaceful man who never harmed anyone. But though my whole self wanted to help the man, fear interfered and disabled me completely to do so.
So I followed the crowd to The Skull where the cross was lifted from the man’s shoulders and erected in the middle of a group of three. The man was bound and his torturers had driven nails through his hands and feet. They had turned a hammer, the tool I used every day, into another instrument of pain, every beat hurt me so badly as if it was me being nailed to the cross. I wondered if I ever could use a hammer again.
To the left and the right of the might-be-messiah, two criminals were also being crucified. Though all of the three man must have been in terrible pain, I heard them change some words but did not get the message. The crowd was still growing, and people still shouted accusations to the man in the middle, their faces drawn into stone-like masks. Some roman soldiers still had not have enough of the torturing, they offered him a sponge soaked with sour wine and mocking at him, if he was the chosen one, he should just come down from the cross. I knew some of them, they had been my customers.
For a while, nothing happened. I stood there, just hoping for the man in the middle to die very quickly so he would be freed of his suffering. Or maybe, if he in facr really WAS the messiah, I was partly expecting to witness a micacle first hand. Some really awesome display of devine power, involving thunder and lightning all the way through.
But instead, I heard Jesus, who’s name I suddenly remembered beeing told, cry out loud, and this time I clearly understood every single word: „Father, in your hand I commend my spirit.“ Then every bit of strength that was left in him, left his body which now just hung there because of the binds and nails and with no sign of live remaining.
The skies turned dark and shadows fell across my soul as well. Just when I started to wonder if I would ever be able to smile or even laugh again, I heard the centurion who led the charge on this day, say something extremely extraordinary: „Certainly this man was innocent.“
It was not only the meaning of his words that completely puzzled me – for why did he even care, having witnessed some thirty crucifixations or so allready – it also was something special in THE WAY he had spoken. I sensed a deep belive and certainty in his voice like the words were engraved in a large marble monolith. Somehow he seemed to know a secret truth beeing kept away from his men and the rest of the crowd – except me in some way.
I was still burdened with a deep sadness when I finally went home, but the words of the centurion kept echoing and somehow comforted me like a faint beacon far away in a foggy night.