Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)
TITLE: No More Little Lambs
By Tim George
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... “Son, it is time to prepare for the Passover.” said my father.
“Yes father, isn’t it wonderful.” I spoke those in words in honesty. They carried with them the trust only a child fully knows. Everything about Passover was wonderful. It was a time of remembrance. A time of redemption. It was a somber and yet joyous experience.
“It is indeed marvelous son. Now go get Isaac. It is time to take him to the temple.”
All the joy and wonder of my heart was overshadowed by those few ominous words. Isaac was our paschal lamb; raised in our home like a child. Perfect and spotless. The only kind of lamb acceptable for Passover. He was just now a year old and had become my constant companion.
In spite of my training my heart rebelled. “But Father, Isaac is my friend. He is the only one who plays with me without making fun of my crooked legs. Can’t we use one of the other lambs in the fold? There are plenty there that will do just fine.”
Father frowned, his usually kind eyes burning with astonishment at my uncharacteristic questioning of his word. “It is the way son. You know that. It must be a perfect lamb and one dear to our hearts. No other will do. It is the way.”
I bowed by head in submission afraid my face might give away the plot already hatching in my head. Isaac would not die at the temple. Not if I could stop it.
To this very day I do not know how I managed the resolve to do such a thing. While father was away for a while I grabbed Isaac and forged my way into the milling throngs that flooded Jerusalem like the Wadis in spring. A crippled boy, holding one little lamb might as well have been invisible with all that was going on around us. I had no plan except to prevent the one dear to my heart from being slaughtered by people I didn’t even know. Through the night and into the early morning I wandered through the streets trying to come up with my next step.
After some time I noticed a fire near Herod’s court. How strange for a crowd to be there at this time of morning. Whispers told of a man claiming to be the Messiah. He was somewhere near. Imagine my excitement. The Messiah! Could it really be? Perhaps there would be no more need for little lambs to die for lame boys. But childish hope is often dashed by the insanity of those who claim to be mature. This day was no different.
Clutching Isaac to my chest I followed the growing throng from Herod’s court to Pilate’s palace. At each stop the scene made less and less sense. These people weren’t glad to see the Messiah. They were angry. They wanted nothing to do with him. They ... they wanted him dead.
Something told me in my heart he was indeed the one sent from above. Even Pilate declared he could find no fault in him. He was perfectly man and perfectly God. But it did not matter. The man was sentenced to die and made a laughing stock. Isaac and I were swept along with the throng to the place outside the city where the stench of garbage and death never cease. The Romans nailed the man to one of their crosses as our own leaders cheered in approval.
And then it happened. On the day I turned twelve years old, light was swallowed by darkness. When it shone again I understood. I was too selfish to obey my father but the man on the cross was not. That perfect lamb died for a crippled boy like me.
So here I am; timeworn and more than ready to meet the Lamb face to face. And then, what’s left of the darkness will be swallowed up by his light.
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