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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: He Bore My Cross
By Allison Egley
02/15/07


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I’m a woodworker by trade, though I doubt many people would want my job. I work for the Roman government. I help with the justice system to make sure criminals are given their fair punishment. You see, I make the crosses used in criminal executions. It's not a glamorous job, but someone has to do it. I used to take so much pride in my work. Too much pride, I'd say. I'd watch the executions, satisfied that I had a part in brining the criminals to justice. There was one case, however, that changed my life.

I remember when the Man came to town. He came in riding on a donkey. The people were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" Many claimed this was the promised Messiah. They called Him Jesus. The Man Himself claimed to be the Son of God. I just scoffed. The Messiah? Riding on a donkey? The One to save the nation? I would have thought He'd come in on a horse, or something a bit more... majestic than a lowly donkey.

Some claimed He could heal people. I never witnessed any of them first hand, and I never saw any of those people after they were healed, either. Where was the proof? Besides, they were probably part of His cohort anyway. This Man called Jesus probably planted those invalids to try to convince people He had real power. Please.

This Man did many things that irked me, but one of them that I couldn't stand was how He blatantly refused to follow some of the Jewish laws; "healing" on the Sabbath, eating with unclean hands, eating with the outcasts, the list goes on and on. Why would the Messiah, or someone who claimed to be the Son of God not follow the laws His Father put in place? Oh, sure, I'll admit, the religious leaders added a few things here and there, but nothing significant.

When I heard rumors He would be arrested, I was overjoyed. I knew He'd be found guilty of blasphemy, the severest of crimes. I got right to work on His cross. I purposely didn't sand this one as well as the others I make. I wanted Him to feel every inch of that cross.

The day of His execution finally came. There was the cross I made, standing on the hill. They brought Jesus to the cross. I could hardly tell He was a man, because He was so badly beaten. Even I turned my head and cringed as I heard the pounding of the hammer against the nails.

As I looked at Him up on the cross, I thought He looked right at me, like He somehow knew of my part in His death. At that moment, something changed. I still didn't believe He was who He claimed to be, but I did feel a bit sorry for Him. Even the hardest of criminals doesn't deserve the beating He received, and I wished I had taken the time to sand the cross a bit more.

I wanted to turn away; walk home. But I couldn't. Something kept me there. The sky darkened, and it was only noon. I stood with my eyes fixed on that cross. I heard the Man speak with a great struggle, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." At first, both criminals were taunting Him, but later, I heard one repent. Then this Jesus said something I'll never forget. He said "Today you will be with Me in Paradise." Finally, His breathing became labored. I could tell He was about to breathe His last. With all the energy He had left in Him, He cried out in a loud voice, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'"

At that moment, a wave of grief and understanding flooded my heart. This Man was the Messiah. With deep sobs, I fell onto the ground and cried out, "Father, forgive me, for I know what I have done."

Jesus did rise from the dead three days later, just as He said. I, along with many others, saw Him. Some people claim that we must have had a mass hallucination. I know what I saw. I still have a memento from the day of His death: a piece of the cross made by my own hands. It's now worn smooth, as a constant reminder that my Savior bore my cross for me.

**********
Author's Notes:

Direct quotes in order of appearance:
John 12:13 (NKJV)
Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
Luke 23:43 (NKJV)
Luke 23:46 (NKJV)

Other details from the life of Christ are taken from the four Gospels.


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This article has been read 1090 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Terry R A Eissfeldt 02/15/07
Well done...I can't say anymore cause the scene is so fresh in my mind...well done
Marilyn Schnepp 02/16/07
A beautiful story, well written. Due to it's content, it's difficult to say that I enjoyed the read - but I enjoyed the sentiment, the thoughts, and the craftsman's repentence. Nice work.
Jan Ackerson 02/18/07
Oooh, your last sentence gave me chills.
Julie Arduini02/18/07
You have a great talent for putting us right there. A haunting scene, but a very well written one.
Phyllis Inniss 02/19/07
A powerful entry. You gave this story life and made it so personal. Your account gives us an insight to the thoughts of the unbelievers of the time and the cross you made for him is symbolic of our sins for which he died. Splendidly done.
Jacquelyn Horne02/19/07
What's left to say. Good work, although I, too, did not "enjoy" the reading, it was very real and told a great story.
Betty Castleberry02/21/07
Oh...wow. When I realized what this was about, part of me didn't want to finish it, but I had to keep on reading. I liked this very much for its message. Well done.
Joanne Sher 02/21/07
Wonderful - I was right there.
Patty Wysong02/21/07
Wow! You captured his feelings well. His repentance gave us something 'better' to focus on and leave with. Wow.
Joanne Malley02/21/07
Despite having such a grim job of carving the cross for Christ, God used this man's abilities and experience to help him see the Lord as well as his own sins. I just love when He does that! Terrific job!