As I raised the lash for the last time, He was nothing but a mass of torn flesh. Each slap across His writhing body was accepted willingly. Any other person would be near death by this time, but He endured more than His share of punishment.
One of my fellow soldiers wove a crown of thorns to press into the man’s head. Another covered His bloodied shoulders with a cloth made of purple. They mocked Him as the King of the Jews. Later they would cast lots over His garments.
I was the one who pierced His hands and feet. It was the way Rome carried out corporal punishment. It turned me inside out, but it was my job. As each hammer blow crushed through muscle and tendon, He looked at me with eyes that would continue to haunt me for the rest of my life.
That glance was one filled with utter pain, yet it also held an appearance of mercy. It was as if He knew this wasn’t my choice. Without speaking a word, I knew He wasn’t blaming me – He was forgiving me.
I watched as He suffered on the cross. I heard the words He spoke – words that made no sense at the time. The crowd dwindled to only a few when He took His last breath. The sky filled with a darkness uncommon for that time of the day and the earth shook. I saw two men carry His body away to be buried as a small group followed.
My mind was cluttered with feelings I had never before experienced. I didn’t know this man and still felt a connection to Him. His eyes – so filled with compassion for me as He suffered.
I carried out my orders. The man was dead and I would never be the same again.