Hope in the Heartland
On a hill, far away
(Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series leading to Easter.)
Pastor of Peabody Bible Church
He kicked a pebble with the toe of his sandal and started to pace back and forth, tapping his spear on the ground with each step.
A small crowd had gathered, but none dared to speak to him. He threw a condescending glance their direction, aware that as a Roman soldier in full armor, his appearance carved an intimidating silhouette into the desolate scenery. And he found sordid pleasure in the realization that he stood out quite effectively against the skull-shaped hillside.
He raised a muscular arm to shield his eyes from the mid-morning sun that reflected off the tip of his spear.
When will they get here? He thought, irritated by the abnormal delay.
It usually didn’t take this long. But then again, most prisoners marched from death row hadn’t attracted the type of public interest and attention that one of the three was getting in the city. The centurion in charge had told the soldiers to expect a more spirited crowd than usually attended these executions. Some of the leading Jews had stirred up quite a commotion in the city, he had said.
“Justice” had freed a known murderer as a trade-off for dispatching a troublesome Jew from up north; really nothing more than a famed peasant was the rumor.
This displaced soldier hated the Jews; the feeling was mutual. But now they needed him to do their bidding.
To be continued …