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Hope in the Heartland

On a hill, far away

(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series leading to Easter.)

Pastor of Peabody Bible Church

Bewilderment swept through the soldier’s mind and he shook his head. He stared at Jesus and tried to make sense of several conflicting thoughts.

This is the man that has the important Jews so troubled? This is the Rabbi from Nazareth about which so much has been said? He glanced again at the notice written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek: “This is Jesus of Nazareth; The King of the Jews,” and wondered if the statement was a sarcastic declaration or a political condemnation. He returned his gaze to Jesus and scoffed.

“The king looks half dead already,” he said, his attention riveted on the bruised and battered face of Jesus, which seemed covered with a mixture of blood, sweat, dirt, and spit.

His concentration was interrupted when another soldier yelled, “Drop the crossbeam here, Simon.” There was a dull thump when the rough timber hit the ground, sending up a cloud of dust.

A voice from the crowd shouted, “The Nazarene has no kingdom, but, look, he has a crown.” A strange mixture of haughty laughter and loud weeping erupted from onlookers who had followed the procession of suffering up the hill.

“Quite a crown indeed,” the soldier responded as he pointed to the twisted wreath of thorns surrounding the wounded head of the peasant who would be king. Some of the thorns were buried in the forehead and scalp of Jesus, causing blood to run down his face and mat in his beard.

To be continued …

Last modified Feb. 3, 2010

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