Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Expire (08/01/13)
TITLE: Centurion's Story
By Tim Pickl
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Just a little background: This is how I ended up in Jerusalem during the Hebrew’s colossal holy celebration they call Passover:
“Here are your orders. I will read it for you:
Gather your hundred and gear up for a long journey. You are being dispatched to the Hebrew city called Jerusalem. Multiple reports have come to us regarding a Hebrew uprising, threatening the great Roman peace in the entire region. We need your men there to help keep the peace, and continued allegiance to the Emperor. You will leave at sunrise on the morrow.”
“Orders received sir.”
“Hail Caesar! Marcus, now wait just a minute. I know your have just returned from a hard fought battle in Germany, and I am sure your family is so elated to see you, but—”
“It is my duty, and a privilege and honor to serve Rome and the Emperor, sir. I have no hesitation or doubts about leaving again.”
“You are a dedicated solider and leader, Marcus. One of our finest. Good fortune to you.”
Amazingly, my tribunal commander embraced me before I left his presence.
The journey through the mountain passes of Syria was especially treacherous that year. The numbing cold winds and snow blasting down the mountain side almost cost me one of my men. I saw him struggling, so I left the ninety-nine and went to the back of the line and encouraged him, and gave him one of my animal furs. I care deeply about my men and did not want any of them to expire.
Somehow, we all made it through to the warmer climate of Judea.
When we arrived, the governor asked me to dispatch my men to surround the Hebrew city of Jerusalem; twenty-five to the sides of the north; twenty-five to the east; twenty-five to the south and twenty-five to the west. The governor explained that he wanted me to personally oversee the trial of the one who was causing all the trouble in the area—one called Jesus.
Of course I agreed.
To my amazement, I could not believe what I witnessed in the trial of Jesus. Accusers were brought forth, but their stories did not match. Finally, Pilate washed his hands of the whole ordeal and brought it before the people. It was a tense scene. Over and over again the Hebrews screamed “Crucify him!” when it was so obviously clear to me that this man was completely innocent. My mind rushed. I tried to logically think everything through.
How could they hate this man so much? Why does he threaten them?
Truly this was not a logical trial. It was simply bloodlust. They wanted him to expire—end of story. Pilate offered the Hebrew crowd a choice: to crucify Barabbas the thief caught-in-the-act—or Jesus, the innocent one. The mob—blinded by madness, driven by bloodlust—chose Jesus.
We did not want a riot on our hands, so I hurried to grab Jesus and he looked at me.
He looked through me.
It was as if he could read my mind. There was a peace about him that I could not understand. He was already covered with blood from scourging and the crown of thorns jammed into his skull—the physical pain alone must have been overwhelming—but the rejection by these people obviously exacerbated his heartbreak.
I did my job: I cracked my whip and forced him to trudge through the Hebrew city streets, dragging a cross, and compelled him get up when he fell. Finally, when he could not get up on his own, I called over someone to help him carry the cross. Painstakingly, we made it up Golgotha Hill, where we pounded his hands and feet into the cross.
More excruciating pain.
More shedding of innocent blood.
We hoisted the cross and stood it up toward the heavens. Crucifixion was designed to deter crime throughout the Empire, but to watch this innocent man go through this needless torture stirred my soul.
The skies darkened to the point where it looked like midnight. I stood there in amazement as I witnessed lightning flashing and thunder booming. Finally, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!”
And with those words, he expired.
When I saw him expire that way, I said to all who could hear me through the wind, “Really, this Man was God’s Son!”
Fifty-four days later I was born again on Pentecost.
Reference, inspired by:
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit! And with these words, He expired. Luke 23:46 (Amplified)
And when the centurion who stood facing Him saw Him expire this way, he said, Really, this Man was God’s Son! Mark 15:39 (Amplified)
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