by Steve Jake
I was just a piece of dead wood.
I was just a piece of dead wood.
I was just a piece of dead wood lying near a lake. I was lying all alone there, in the quiet and calm environment, with the shrubs and bushes around, listening to the chirping sound of birds and the croaking of frogs. One fine day I heard the hoofs of horses, and heavy footsteps of men walking around. As I looked up, I saw Roman soldiers clad in heavy armory walking around. One of the soldiers pointed at me, and few men walked towards me.
They touched me, and with their swords hit me. One of them took his sword out and with it's pointed tip tried to pierce me to see how hard I was. Another one commented that the wood is sturdy. A soldier among them, whose armory and head gear looked a bit different from others (might be a General) commanded that I be taken and kept on the wagon.
Soon some men arrived with ropes and they tied it around me. I was dragged to the horse wagon and they all lifted me up and placed me on the wagon.
As we rode on the wagon, I passed through the busy streets where people sold their goods, and passed by the synagogue, and was finally taken to a cabin where some carpenters worked. The soldiers showed me to a carpenter, and ordered that I be made into a cross. The carpenter bowed his head in obedience and acknowledgement.
He along with the other workers started working on me with saws and chisels. The cut off my branches, chopped me into two, and chiseled and finally made me into a cross and left me at the corner of their cabin. I was overwhelmed being in my new avatar.
After many hours passed by, I heard the footsteps of many soldiers and they came to me and carried me outside. Within a short while I reached an open arena. There was a huge building made of stones on one side and many men were standing right in front on the portico, and a huge agitated crowd was facing the building. Among the men standing in front was a dignified man in elegant clothing who looked like an emperor, surrounded by many Roman soldiers, and few other men. Right in the middle a stood man who was wearing a purple robe. He had a crown made of thorns placed on his head, and from his forehead blood was oozing out of the wounds caused by the thorns. He looked wearied, tired, & lethargic and seemed to have been beaten mercilessly by the Romans. His eyes bore an innocent look, and he looked at the people with love and compassion. There was another man beside him who looked like a thief whom I heard the people call as Barabbas. Right in front the building a huge crowd was gathered. They were agitated and were shouting. In the din, I could hardly hear anything distinct, and as I listened hard, I caught few words like "Away with HIM. Crucify HIM. He is not our King".
I saw the emperor (Pilate) reluctantly giving in to their demand, and finally washing his hands in a basin of water.
The soldiers brought down the man whom they called as Jesus towards me and they lay me on his shoulders. The entire weight of my wood was upon the shoulders of this innocent man. I could feel myself resting on his soft skin, as he walked ahead carrying me. I moved along through stony and congested streets with people crowded on either sides staring at us. Among the piercing glances of people, some were curious & inquisitive stares, some glances with compassion and sympathy, while some others were scornful ones. Among the people gathered, some were shouting, some lamenting. At times the soldiers used to whip him with their cord.
As he walked on carrying my heavy weight, he got so exhausted that he collapsed, and I fell down to the ground from off his shoulder with a thud. The soldiers beckoned a person from the crowd to carry me, and I was lifted up and kept on the shoulders of this new man. As I looked back, I could see Jesus walking with gentle strides, as he was too wearied and wounded by the brutal beating of the soldiers.
After walking a long while, we climbed up a small hill, which the people around called as Golgotha.
I was laid down on the ground, and the scorching sun was right above me. As I looked up from the ground, I saw the soldiers remove his robe, and was horrified to see the wounds and stripes on his back.
The soldiers pushed him and made him lie down over me. They stretched his hands wide apart and on both his wrists, they pierced huge iron nails, which was driven on to my wood. Also his foot, they placed one over the other and pierced a nail there.
The nails pierced through my wooden body. I could feel his warm flesh and blood on me. They lifted us up, and made us stand erect on the ground with the bottom part of me dug in the ground. As I stood up, I saw the huge crowd gathered there, the soldiers and centurion, and the city ahead down from the mount of Golgotha.
On me was clung the Son of GOD. His entire body weight suspended from atop me and was clinging on to me on three nails. I could feel the rhythm of his heart beating. He was in great pain, as his entire body was suspended in air, his body weight pulled down by gravity, but at the same time held on the wood by just three nails. The pain in the three wound where the nails were driven would be excruciating, as his body weight was pulling himself down. Blood oozed down from his wounds, from both hands, and foot, and also from the wounds on his back. The blood that dripped from his body, ran down my wooden surface and dripped down to the ground.
He was hungry, thirsty, half naked, in great pain and agony. He was mocked upon, humiliated, spat upon, slapped and whipped. He taught the people to love one another, and to show the other cheek to the one who slaps you on your face. However, he was beaten up, and slapped on both cheeks and he has no other cheek to offer.
There were two others who were crucified and were on our either sides.
Someone came forward with a writing on a wooden tablet, and a ladder was leaned against me, and he climbed up the ladder and nailed that tablet on top part of me, right above Jesus's head. I had no idea what was written, but after he got down someone else read it aloud and said that instead of writing "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews", it should have been "Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the king of Jews". He shook his head in dismay and said, "what I have written I have written", and made no attempt to change it. Among those who had gathered, many were in tears, and some women were weeping.
Jesus cried out that he was thirsty, and a soldier brought a spear with a sponge immersed in water mixed with hyssop, at the edge of spear and held it to his mouth and he drank a bit, but due to the bitter taste he drank no more.
Later he cried out from the cross with a loud voice "My Father, my Father, why have you forsaken me", and in an instant his head dropped down and I felt his body motionless on me. I could no longer feel his heart beating. He had let go of his spirit, and in an instant he was dead. The ground beneath me started trembling and everyone panicked and people started running helter skelter. The sun turned dark and darkness settled in across the entire land.
I saw the centurion staring at us in disbelief. He remarked, "Truly this was GOD's son", and with the spear in his hand, he pierced the side of Jesus and blood and water oozed out and trickled down my wood.
There was lot of commotion and after quite a while, many men arrived, and took the body of Jesus down from me and wrapped him in linen clothes and took him somewhere.
I stood there on the mount of Golgotha, overlooking the great city, all alone with two other crosses on either sides. The bodies were removed as it was the Sabbath day the next day. Everyone left the place, and I along with the other two crosses were left alone on top of the mount, silhouetted against the horizon, too tired after witnessing the greatest event in the history of mankind - the great sacrifice of the son of GOD for the redemption of sins !!!
I was just a piece of dead wood, but by the blood of Jesus that washed me, I gained eternal significance, life and value.
In ancient times, cross was a symbol of execution, just like the blades in guillotine, or the rope meant to hang convicts to death, or the electric chair, which are various types of capital punishments. But after the crucifixion of Christ, cross became a symbol of love, hope and faith. It symbolizes the great sacrifice of the Son of GOD, and is a hope for eternal life for those who put their trust in Jesus.