CRUCIFIXION I WAS THERE THAT DAY
by Ethel C Pechman
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Yes, I was there that day. I was there in Jerusalem; I was in Jerusalem that day. I am a Roman Soldier. I was charged to watch the crowds, to help nail the prisoners to the Cross. One of them was Jesus. It was hot that day in Jerusalem. There were many people there in the square. I saw Him. I saw Jesus. He looked weak. And His bleeding face was all crusted heavily with spit. His hair was disheveled and he was barely able to stand. On his head was a wreath; there were thorns surrounding it, pushed into His head to make it stay. His back had been so beaten with whips that it was laying in strips, bleeding profusely.
I was a Roman soldier, and I saw Him. He had been carrying a large cross, but there was another person there who helped him carry it because He was too weak to carry it himself. He could barely stand; his body was quivering; I could tell He was in horrendous pain.
He was brought to Golgotha which meant, “the Place of the Skull.” (Mark 15:22
I was one of the Roman soldiers who had to pound the nails into his quivering hands and feet. You could tell he did not have control over his wretched, disfigured body. He gave us no trouble. He did as he was asked. He lay on the rough boards, stretching out his arms on the cross beam. The wreath was still on his head. I saw him wince as he tried to settle himself. I could see he was in intense pain. I was ordered to pound in the nails on his hands. I lifted the heavy metal weapon and rammed and pounded the nails; one, two, three blows. My arm hurt; sweat poured from my brow.
What was I doing? I was nailing Jesus’ hands to the Cross. Could this be that I was nailing Jesus to the beams? I shuddered to see him so pliable, not fighting back. How could he allow this? He has done nothing wrong.
Now he was being raised up. I and two other centurions helped lift up the heavy beams. When it was raised and inserted into the ground, it thumped into place and jarred his body un- mercifully. During the crucifixion, a person’s lungs are crushed; no air can fill them. A person has to adjust his body to push up on the wooden plate under his feet. He takes a deep breath; you can hear the lungs take in the air –whoosh is the sound, and you can see the pain in the person’s eyes. Some cry out in agony; some scream There were two other men being crucified alongside Jesus; one on his right, and the other on his left.
I was there. I saw the agony of them on the cross. It was about noon when they were crucified. The sun was out. I was writhing in fear for them. I could see they were in violent pain. I was there; I saw them, Jesus and the two thieves. I helped nail Jesus to the cross. I was sweating; I was shaking.
Jesus cried out: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. He was asking his father to forgive them. I was there. I heard him. There was writing over the cross of Jesus. It said in three languages, Latin, Hebrew, and Greek, “This Is the King of the Jews.”
The crowd was jeering them. One of the thieves cried out to him, “If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us.” But the other on the right said, “Don’t you fear God, seeing you are condemned? We indeed justly, for we receive the reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” I was there. I heard him.
Then he said to Jesus: “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
I heard Jesus say: “Verily, I say to you. Today shall you be with me in Paradise.” I was there. I heard what he said.
It was the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. The sun was darkened and the veil of the temple was rent in two, and at the ninth hour, Jesus said: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34.
I saw a man run to give Jesus a sponge filled with vinegar and put it into a reed and gave it to him to drink. And the man said, ”let him alone! Let us see whether Elias will come and take him down.”
Then Jesus cried with a loud voice: “Father, into thy hand, I commit my Spirit.”
When I heard him cry out and saw Him give up the ghost, I said, “Truly, this man was the Son of God.”
I was there. I saw him. The crowd just stood and looked at what had happened.
When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus, they took his garments. His coat had no seam, so they said, “Let us not rend it, but let us cast lots for it. This is what the soldiers did.
I saw what happened. I was there.
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I give credit to my friend, Marian Pledger for a drama presentation before our church group, the Seniors of Parma Heights Baptist Church in Parma Heights, Ohio on Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
This rendition is Marian’s contribution that day as a testimony to our friends and neighbors. It was a startling performance and I feel it is a fine example of how we can worship our Lord Jesus Christ.
I have tried to remember how she presented it; she did not have a copy of her dramatic presentation, and I have tried to present it to you in the best way I know.
I believe this Roman soldier was truly saved.
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