Cross of Christ
Title: All in a dayís work
ďSurely this man was the son of God,Ē I heard him say.
Sure doesnít look like that to me.
My job is to get the bloody mangled corpse off the middle cross.
Talk about a dirty job. Trust me, you canít imagine.
I couldnít stand to look at his face. He didnít look human. Blood that dripped from a thorny crown was matted into his hair and his ragged beard.
His ribs jutted out over a distended belly. Crucifixion does that, you know. The severe angle of the arms raised past shoulder height puts so much pressure on the chest, the guy suffocates.
They had made a foot rest for this guy and nailed his feet to it, so he could keep pushing himself up to get one more breath.
Beats me how they can stand the pain. Seems like it would be easier to just give up and die. But, they donít. They keep pushing themselves up ó for hours, and sometimes for days.
Whew! Getting that cross up out of the ground and down flat really takes it out of you.
Now, getting him off there, well, thatís a whole new gut-wrenching job. Itís easier just to tear the hands off by just pulling on them really hard. The nails are big enough to leave pretty big holes, but the swelling of the hands makes it harder to get them loose.
Getting the feet loose is even harder, especially if one has been nailed over the other. Itís hard for me to believe someone sat down and thought out how to torture criminals this way. Iím not sure even the worse criminal deserves this kind of punishment.
Finally, I get him loose. My job is done. Someone else will take him away.
Now, I have to deal with the cross itself. What a mess!
The thing is heavy, and the rough wood is hard to handle. Itís soaked with blood. This guy was only up on it for six hours, but the stench of dying flesh makes me wretch.
Once I finish my work, I scrub myself for a long time, but I canít seem to get rid of the grime and the smell.
I go to bed, but I canít sleep.
Iíve taken so many of them down from crosses, but somehow handling this one has bothered me more.
I saw him around town a lot. He was always helping people. Healing the sick ó and he could really do it, too. I checked it out. No ringers in the crowd. This guy had power. Blind people saw. Lame people walked. I was there. I know.
He got in trouble for claiming to be the Son of God ó not just one son, like Caesar, but the ONLY son of God. Claimed he was sent by his Father to save the world by dying on a cross for their sins. Thatís hard stuff to swallow.
And, yet, his power was so different. Especially when he was on that cross. Believe me, he was different. Most of íem swear and curse their tormentors. They scream in agony. They plead for their lives.
Not him. He was worried about his mom. Told some guy to take her in as his own mother, and reassured her she would be cared for.
The thing that really got me was when he prayed for the people who nailed him up there. He actually asked God to forgive them. He took up for them. Said they didnít know what they were doing. I wouldnít believe it if I hadnít been there myself.
I looked up at his face when he said it. There was true pity in his eyes. Even with the blood dripping down into them, I could see it. He really cared about those people ó all of them.
His gaze focused on me, and I had to look away. With all that pain agony ripping him apart, he looked at me like he really felt sorry for me. He felt sorry for me! Can you believe that?
I had heard him tell crowds they ought to love the way God loves and to forgive the way God forgives, but I had never seen anybody do that ó until now.
I canít stop thinking about him. I believe that centurion must be right.
Truly, he was the Son of God.
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