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Hope in the Heartland

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

Pastor of Peabody Bible Church

While the two other condemned men had to be forcibly constrained while being prepared for crucifixion, Jesus offered no resistance. His torn body was stretched out upon rough timbers that dug into his lacerated back. The soldier joined his comrades and placed an iron spike below the left wrist of Jesus and pounded it through his flesh and into the wood, eliciting groans of pain from his parched throat. They repeated the action on his other wrist and then his feet. Curse-laden screams from the other two victims revealed that the same torment was theirs also.

The three crosses were then raised, each displaying its helpless prey. The solider stepped back and sneered as Jesus struggled to raise his head. Spasms of pain shook Jesus’ body and He looked toward the sky and said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Then he dropped his weary head until his chin rested on his bare chest.

The soldier glaring up at Jesus said, “Since you won’t need the clothes that we stripped off of you, would you mind if we poor soldiers gamble for them?” The others laughed, squatted down on the ground and began to gamble for the garments of Jesus.

As the soldiers divided up their spoils, loud voices shouted at Jesus. “Ha. You threatened to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, and look at you.”

Another said, “If you are the Son of God, take yourself down from that cross.”

To be continued …

Last modified Feb. 18, 2010

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