(A fictional story of what might have happened on that original Good Friday. Many were moved by crucifixion of Jesus. Many came to follow Him. Many prophesies were fulfilled. The truth of the story is that He lived a human life – suffered an agonizing death – and rose again in a transfigured body so that we may live with Him in eternity forever.)
By this time, Jesus was a pitiful sight. He had been hanging on that cross for three hours. His body was weak from attempting to catch His breath. Blood flowed from every part of this shell of a man. The crown of thorns we placed on His head during His arrest, cut sharply into His scalp creating even more blood. Mixed with the sweat and spittle from the riotous crowd, His hair became a matted mess. We, the soldiers in charge of the crucifixion detail, had just finished casting lots for His robe. It was nothing special – a seamless piece of woven cloth that would fetch a fair sum back in Jerusalem.
As we entertained ourselves, the man hanging in the center – the One who called Himself the Messiah – uttered a few sentences here and there. Most of His words remained slurred or difficult for Him to speak. When He said, “I thirst,” one of the other soldiers prodded me to offer him a sponge filled with vinegar. This was just another form of mocking of this criminal and His ridiculous claims. You wouldn’t believe how many had come before Him, claiming to be the promised Messiah and descendant of King David.
I reluctantly filled the sponge with vinegar. Another soldier gave me a hyssop branch to attach to the sponge. I then lifted it to the dying prisoner. Being on the cross for so long had obviously dehydrated Him. Thirst was one of the side effects of crucifixion. Someone from the audience recalled using hyssop in the Passover celebration, as a reminder of the painting of the door posts with the blood of an unblemished lamb. Those Jews and their traditions. I suppose they thought this was the Lamb of God they always talked about.
As the man sucked in the vinegar, I couldn’t help but notice His bruised and blackened eyes. Below the swollen lids, I could see compassion as well as a spirit of forgiveness. I had never seen this in a dying criminal before. It was as though He was fighting through the pain just for me. When I saw that His life was drawing to a close, I removed the sponge from His lips.
After many years passed, I began to learn more about this man, Jesus. In reading the scriptures of old, I came across a Psalm that referred to giving vinegar to the Messiah to drink. I later discovered that this was another prophesy about the Messiah. Jesus was the Messiah. It was like a revelation of the truth of the man and His life – His death – His resurrection. I recalled His eyes and a feeling of relief fell over me.
Reblogged this on clydeherrin.
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Indeed! The Messiah fulfilled Scripture, right down to his thirst and final drink. When I pause and reflect on images from the final hours of Christ’s earthly life, I always feel overwhelmed that our Savior endured the agony of all agonies to save someone like me.
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I know what you mean. Good Friday always intensifies my unworthiness.