Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: End (02/13/06)
- TITLE: Not the End
By Debora Dyess
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I had observed his crucifixion with only a sliver of attention. My heart was fine tuned to another. The Nazarenes was not the only crucifixion that day. His small group of faithful was not the only mourners on that hill. On one side of him was my brother, Caleb.
The first time the man spoke I glanced at him, and looked upward, to the sign detailing his crime. “King of the Jews” it read. I felt shock, even through the horror of the day. I had expected to read ‘insurrectionist’ or ‘murderer’ or ‘thief’, like my brother.
I realized that I’d seen this man before. I’d heard him speaking recently in the marketplace near our home. I’d wanted to stop and listen, but ever-impatient Caleb had been with me.
“He only wants an audience,” he’d said with a smug smile. “His words have nothing to offer us.”
Caleb had always been wild. He’d run
with the wrong boys as a child, getting into more trouble as he grew older. Our family had watched helplessly as he made one wrong decision after another. We were heartbroken to be on this hill, but not surprised.
The Romans and Jews alike taunted the man on the middle cross. When Caleb turned his face toward the tattered man next to him I bit my lip. What would my brother have to say?
“Leave him alone,” he managed. “He’s innocent…”
I listened to the brief exchange between Caleb and Jesus in amazement, touched by Caleb’s defense of a stranger.
This man, this Jesus, promised my Caleb life forever in Paradise. And peace settled into Caleb’s pain filled eyes.
“This man is the son of God…” The words, a strangled confession, came from a huge Roman guard. He appeared truly frightened and took a step away from the crosses. I’d never seen guards afraid of anything.
“It has ended,” the King of the Jews breathed, and died.
So many things happened then, the darkness, the earthquake. We all cried out in terror. I could hear Caleb’s cries as I struggled for balance.
My emotional balance was not as easy to recover. I watched Roman soldiers break Caleb’s legs. I watched him die. The memory of it haunted me.
The words of the Nazarene came to me. “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” he’d promised.
Was he? Could Caleb have been forgiven his sins by the man called the King of the Jews? I decided I had to find out more about Jesus.
I’d heard of the miracles, the healings, the feeding of multitudes, even resurrections. Everyone had heard. And such bizarre rumors since the crucifixion! Tombs opened, dead men come to life, the Temple curtain torn from top to bottom…But did that give Jesus power to forgive my brother?
Two weeks passed. I was in the market when I saw a man I knew had been standing beneath Jesus’ cross. I ran to him and clutched his arm. “Please, sir, tell me about Jesus! Was he the Messiah?”
The man smiled. “He is the Messiah.” His voice was calm, his face radiant.
I shook my head. “I saw him die. The same way Caleb died.”
“Not the same,” the man began. “He is the beginning of a new beginning, the end of the old covenant. Just as sin is death, Jesus is life. He—“ he stopped and smiled at someone behind me.
“John,” an almost familiar voice said. “Hannah has found you, with so many questions.”
I looked and gasped. The face of the man on the cross! I didn’t know him, and yet he had called me by name. I stammered, “I don’t believe it…”
John smiled. “I didn’t believe it either. But it’s true. He has conquered death!”
I realized people were gathering around us. Excited whispers shot through the crowd like lightning strikes.
Jesus smiled gently.
“Hannah, you don’t need to fear for Caleb. He is where I promised he would be.”
“God forgave him?”
“Yes,” Jesus said. “When he asked, with a sincere heart, he was forgiven.”
“And you are Messiah?”
“Yes. Everything was done to fulfill the prophets. The sacrifice is complete.”
I listened to him teach that day and found truth for the first time. I believed in him as Lord and my life began.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.