Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)
- TITLE: What I Have Written
By Erin Brannan
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A loud grumbling swept over the crowd before someone bellowed back to me, “If he were not a criminal we would not have handed him over to you.”
I hesitated then as my eyes flickered over to the man standing next to me. I cleared my throat and replied, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
Wanting to be done with the situation I began to turn before the Jews yelled back at me again, “But we have no right to execute anyone.”
I gathered my robes and walked back into the palace, beckoning the man over to me. I did not understand why this man was here. There were far more dangerous men that should have stood before me. Yet the crowd wanted him. His eyes seemed to pierce through me. I looked down at my feet and asked, "Are you a king?"
He thought for a moment. “Is that your own idea," he asked, "or did others talk to you about me?" Truthfully, everyone had been talking about him. Some loved him, most hated him. I myself was intrigued. Who was this man? “What is it you have done?” I asked.
He closed his eyes for a moment. “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." I was taken aback. This man was a king. How could I execute him when clearly he had committed no crime?
“You are a king, then!” I exclaimed. His eyes met mine. “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Suddenly my position of power became undesirable. My mind raced as I tried to think of a way out. Surely I could not send this man to his death. I walked slowly to the edge of the balcony. The horde below me looked up with anticipation. “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews’?” I cried down to them. An angry sound rose up and a man from the middle of the crowd barked, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” The rest of the mob roared and raised their fists in approval.
I had no choice now. I sent the man to be beaten. The sound of the whip reverberated through me. I tried to ignore it. I did not agree with these people, but I had no choice. Who was I to question the masses?
The man was sent back to me, bloody and limp. A wave of nausea broke over me and I had to steady myself on the railing. “"Here is your king," I said regretfully, my eyes downcast. The crowd began chanting, “Take him away! Crucify him!” I swallowed hard. “Shall I crucify your king?" I asked. "We have no king but Caesar," they shot back.
I looked to the guard at my left and gave a slight nod. He grabbed the man violently and began leading him down the stairs. I followed behind, keeping my eyes on my feet.
We arrived at the hillside just as the sun reached the center of the sky. With shaking hands I prepared a sign. The writing said, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
A group of men approached me as I nailed the sign to the cross. “Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews,” they scolded.
My eyes darted to the man on the cross. Remorse gripped me and I whispered, "What I have written, I have written." Then, before they could protest I walked away. I could not live with myself if I watched this man die. For I knew then in my heart he was not just a man, not merely the King of the Jews. There before me hung Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.
Note: All Scripture quotations taken from the NIV Bible.
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