Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gossip Mill (05/08/14)
TITLE: Destination Death
By Sharon Eastman
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“What’s going on?” Ezekiel asked his friend, Luke. “I’m trying to get to the market, but the street is a mess!”
“Rumor has it that Jesus of Nazareth is being crucified today and that the Roman soldiers are escorting him down this road,” Luke answered.
“But why? He was such a kind, gentle, and loving teacher. How could they do this to such a man. He committed no crime!”
‘The Pharisees asked Pilate to crucify him. They said he was an apostate, blasphemer, and a danger to society.Some said he was the Son of God,” Luke said with raised eyebrows and questioning eyes.
“God, Wow!!!” Ezekiel exclaimed.
“He was always teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, just like he knew it personally.”
Luke continued, “I heard it through the grape vine that Josiah, the rich young ruler from the countryside, asked Jesus about heaven. Jesus told him to give up all his wealth and prestige to enter it. Josiah thought that keeping the law and doing good works was the key.”
“I can’t imagine Josiah giving up anything. He’s as stingy as a dog eating his dinner.”
“Well, you’re right. He became hard-hearted and wouldn’t change. He wouldn’t give up anything temporal for the eternal.”
“What ever happened to him?” asked Ezekiel.
“He kept his wealth and position, but only Jesus really knows.” Mark 10 NIV
Booming thunder threatened the sky as more blood thirsty crowds lined the road to see the suffering Messiah-still no rain. The air was buzzing with rumors, jeers, and heckles. Ezekiel and Luke lingered in the hot, humid weather to see this potentially gruesome sight.
Luke continued, “Jesus was a man of many miracles. A friend of mine witnessed the healing of a demon possessed man in Gadara. He was so invaded that nothing could hold him down.
“Really?” Ezekiel was bewildered.
“Yes. Jesus commanded the man saying, ‘Come out,’ and the demons entered a herd of swine. The swine jumped into the sea, drowned, and their owners were at a loss. Afterwards, the man calmed down, dressed and sat there in his right mind.”
“Incredible!” Mark 5 NIV
Luke couldn’t stop talking about Jesus. “But, the most amazing miracle I ever heard was when Jesus raised his friend, Lazarus, from the dead!”
“I never heard of such a thing. Wow! Raised from the dead!” Ezekiel was astounded.
“Yes, Lazarus had been dead for four days. He was dressed in grave clothes, and a huge rock sealed his tomb. Mourners removed the stone, and Jesus said, ‘Come out, Lazareth,’ and he did-fully alive and breathing.”
“His family and friends must have been amazed.”
“Yes, his sisters, Martha and Mary rejoiced, praised, and thanked Jesus graciously.” John 11 NIV
“There he is; there he is,” the crowd chanted. Ezekiel and Luke looked curiously down the road. “Crucify, crucify,” shouted the onlookers, and Ezekiel and Luke just looked in amazement. They saw a shadow of a man stumbling down the pathway. A cross bearer was carrying a rugged, old cross.
When Jesus stood before them, shock crossed their faces. Jesus’ face was covered with sweat and blood as the crown of thorns jabbed his head. Black and blue coloring ringed his eyes, like a raccoon’s. And, his back was bleeding from the whip’s slashing that the Roman soldiers perpetrated. He was bent over like a swaying palm tree; he could hardly walk. He was the epitome of the suffering Messiah, the Sacrificial Lamb of God. Still black clouds covered the sky; thunder rolled without a drop of rain.
Luke turned to Ezekiel and said, “I can’t stand this! This is horrible! And the crowds are reveling in it.”
An embarrassed Ezekiel retched. “I’m sorry. I can’t take this anymore either. Jesus looks dead already.”
“What if he truly is the Son of God?! We’re doomed! Let’s leave! It’s unbearable!” Luke advised.
As they were leaving, a blood curdling cry resounded from the cross on Golgatha. Hammer and nails crushed bone and shed precious, innocent blood. It was Jesus’ blood-shed to save mankind’s sins. Yes, he truly was the Son of God!
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