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Hope in the Heartland

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

Pastor, Peabody Bible Church

As the soldier surveyed the remaining crowd, his eyes were pulled to a silent group of women who were standing motionless, as though paralyzed by grief and petrified by what they had just witnessed.

Their watery eyes spoke of shattered dreams, unfulfilled hopes, and perplexing uncertainty. A familiar looking man approached the women and stood beside them. The soldier recognized him as the one who had been there earlier with the woman that he had assumed was the mother of Jesus.

A dull cracking sound followed by screams of pain caused the soldier to turn quickly to see that another soldier had just used a heavy iron mallet to break the left leg of one of the crucified thieves. Another powerful swing broke his right leg. Then the soldier carried the mallet to the other thief’s cross and repeated the excruciating duty.

“You can thank Pilate and the Jews,” he said as the thief’s body convulsed in pain.

The soldier carried the mallet toward the cross of Jesus but hesitated when the centurion said, “No need to break his bones; he is already dead,” as he gestured to the limp body of Jesus. “Confirm it for the record.”

“Yes, sir,” the soldier said.

He raised his spear and stuck it into the side of Jesus and as he withdrew the spear, blood and water gushed out of the wound, quickly slowing to a drip.

“Prepare to take these bodies down and dispose of them before sunset,” ordered the centurion.

To be continued ...

Last modified March 18, 2010

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