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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)

TITLE: Of Nature's Mourning and Signs of Warning
By K.D. Manes


Father bustled through our humble abode, sweeping us into a warm embrace. “Quintus, sit down and drink.” Mother handed him a cup of wine. We hadn’t seen him for three days since Jesus’ controversial crucifixion. He looked as though he’d been through battle, but clinched the victory. Father made us promise to stay away from the fervent crowd during the Passover frenzy. If only I could’ve been a mouse amongst the throngs of people.

Father inhaled deeply, weighing his words. “Jesus was tossed from Pilate to Herod, and back to Pilate again. Enemies in the past, their commonality of humiliating and abusing Jesus sealed their friendship.” Father’s face reddened in anger. “Here I am, a Roman centurion, upholding Roman authority. But, after today, I don’t want to be affiliated with these leaders!”

Mother gasped, “Quintus, you mustn’t say such things!”

“Nothing leaves this room.” His tired eyes bore into mine. I reassured him, “of course not, father.”

“Herod and Pilate knew Jesus didn’t deserve the death crime. They knew all the false accusations from the jealous Jewish leaders…spineless! Cowering under political pressure! Pilate failed in persuading the crowd to release Jesus. Their cries grew angrier and intensified, ‘crucify him!’

Pilate surrendered, shouting, ‘I am innocent of Jesus’ blood!’ He released Barabbas instead.” He paused momentarily, shaking his head in disgust. “Jesus was ordered to be beaten with the leaded whip.”

Although used to seeing cruelty from Roman soldiers, this case affected father deeply. His friend and colleague, Marcus – who befriended many Jews by aiding in building their synagogue - played an important role in our partiality to Jesus. Marcus’s words and deeds were as gold.

During a past dinner visit, Marcus confided his stance. He believed Jesus was sent from God; and that the Jews possessed God’s message for mankind. He told of the many miracles Jesus performed. He shared of Jesus love and compassion. Marcus said Jesus was an excellent teacher; relaying the kingdom of God, and the importance of loving God and others. He said the religious authorities constantly tried to trap Jesus in his statements, but couldn’t weasel him into a corner. In fact, many of the people who had seen and heard Jesus believed he was who he claimed: the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, the Son of Man and Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, Teacher and Master, One with authority to forgive, Lord and Savior.

A few days after Marcus’s visit, one of his servants fell ill. He sent a messenger to seek Jesus’ help. When Marcus told Jesus he needn’t bother coming all the way to his house, but to just say the word, Jesus commended his faith. He said He hadn’t witnessed such faith in all of Israel – and then Jesus healed his servant.

Father’s words brought me back to the moment. “I was stationed at the foot of Jesus cross.” His eyes misted as he recalled the horrific events of the day. “His body was badly beaten… they struck him with fists, spat in his face, shoved a crown of thorns into his head, then forced him to carry his own cross to Golgotha until he fell to the ground…after nailing him to the cross and hoisting him up, the soldiers divided his clothes by casting lots. The taunts continued, right in front of his mother! Pilate placed a sign above Jesus head that sarcastically read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Father’s face paled. Tears slipped down his leathered cheeks. “In his agony, Jesus prayed, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ One of the criminals on the cross beside him said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus replied, ‘…today, you will be with me in paradise.’ Trying to choke back his sobs, father continued, “Jesus loved till the very end. Finally, he cried, ‘Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit! It is finished!’ Then he died.”

“Darkness fell for three hours in the middle of the day! I believe nature mourned the death of God’s son. Then, the heavy curtain hung in front of the Jewish temple room – the Most Holy Place – tore in two from top to bottom.”

“Wow!” Mother declared. “Surely, Jesus was the son of God!”

“That’s exactly what I concluded!” Dad’s countenance brightened. “And, just this morning, after Jesus body was sealed in a tomb by a large stone with soldiers guarding, his body is reported missing. Praise God! He has risen, just as he said!”

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This article has been read 506 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp03/18/10
Loved how you wrote this! I have often thought about those who served under Rome and yet did believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and the spiritual torment they must have endured. Well done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/20/10
Jesus is definitely a Wow story, there's some minor editing problems, punctuation mainly, but those can be easily fixed. The intense emotion with which you told the story gave me goosebumps. Great writing.
Jan Ackerson 03/21/10
I really love when people write stories from the POV of someone who was present at a biblical event.

The only "off" note here--ironically--was the word "wow", which seemed out of time. The story itself definitely had a "wow" factor, and would have been on topic without using the actual word.

Great title, and a really well-written story.
Amanda Brogan03/21/10
I love the behind-the-scenes feel that you gave this story, including the friendship between these two Roman soldiers that we hear about in Scripture who believed Jesus was the Son of God. Beautifully written and an especially great story to share with Easter so close. This is one of the best entries I've read in this level for the week. :)
c clemons03/24/10
Although this was written in a conversational tone, there was no conversation, just telling. The tellling was stilted and not natural. I did not get the "wow" factor, and I agree, "wow" would not have been used in Biblical times. Keep writing.
Beth LaBuff 03/25/10
Kelli, super congrats on receiving "highly commended" for this lovely entry!