The King of the Jews looks down at the dirt about twelve inches from His face. He has fallen and the weight of the
cross is pushing Him to the ground. His eyes are almost swollen shut; He can see, but barely. He looks down again and sees
the blood that has dripped from His face. The whip rises; the guard swings and slashes His back. The pain shoots through His
body, He starts to shake a little more after each blow.
“Get up King or I will whip you to death right here!”
With the strength He can only get from His Father in heaven, Jesus struggles and finally gets back on His feet. He grabs on
tighter to the cross and starts dragging it up the stone path to the hill. One of the other guards looks back and stops where
he is. He thinks to himself, “How is this man still alive?” The trail of blood was too much for him to look at.
He turns back and watches the man pulling the cross. The guard thinks back to what he had just witnessed in the town circle
at the whipping post. This beating was not like the ones he had been to before. He was there when they made the crown of thorns
and forced it on His head. You could hear it rip through His flesh and pierce the bone. This man they call Jesus groaned in
agony and received the pain. Then they found a purple shawl, wrapped it around Him, mocked Him and spit in His face. “Look
at the King with his crown, the King of the Jews!” They beat him with their fists and with their whips, then they put
Him to His death. This is his account of what he witnessed that day.
The guards had brought this man Jesus to the town circle. Shackled
and already beaten, they shoved him up to the whipping post. They ripped off the shawl and shackled him down. The crowd was
mixed; some had hatred and some had great love for the man before them. His family and the people that had come to believe
in His word and his Father’s commandments were there. Jesus had told them He would be betrayed into the hands of man.
Mary stood with the crowd and looked upon her son. The tears had been rolling down her cheeks for hours.
This was the first time she had seen Him since the guards arrested
him. Her heart was torn apart at the pain he was already in and the pain to come. She knew this day would come, but He was
still so young. She had to watch as they whipped her earthly son. She wept uncontrollably but knew this was, as it had to
Jesus looked up to the heavens. “Father, I am ready.”
He bowed his head and closed His eyes. The guards looked at each other in puzzlement. Someone yelled, “He is crazy;
He talks to himself.” Some laughed, but not many.
The guard in charge finally spoke. “Begin”. Two
guards walked up, each with a whip. The first guard raised his whip and brought it down with all the strength he had. The
whip slashed across Jesus’ back. He groaned as his back arched and His fingers rolled into fists. The first is always
the hardest, a shock to the body. The second guard came down and whipped His back. The first guard struck again, then the
second. They had developed a sick rhythm. Back and forth, back and forth--they did this for what seemed like forever. Finally,
a guard yelled, “HALT!”
The two guards stopped to look at Jesus, who was down on one
knee. The Son of God could not stop shaking. Even though the blood and the sweat rolled down His back, His mind was still
clear. He kept telling his Father in heaven how much He loves Him and how much He loves the people doing this to him. Someone
yelled to me, “Get him back on his feet!” I walked over with another guard and pulled him up by the arms. He looked
at me with his swollen eyes. I looked back, into the slits He had left for eyes. There was no hate when He looked at me--only
love. Then I backed away. I could not participate in this torture. The guard in charge eyed two of my fellow guardsmen and
commanded them to continue the beating.
There is a whip called flagrum that has multiple
leather straps with metal and glass embedded within a small ball at the end of each thong. The guards each picked up a flagrum
and walked over to Jesus. They were told to begin; the whips were raised again and the beating continued. The whips sank into
His flesh. Jesus’ skin looked shredded. Some had to leave; it must
have been too barbaric for them to watch. Some cheered. I had to look away. His body twitched in agony, His legs gave
out and He fell. His hands were still shackled as He lay on His side. One of
the guards kicked Jesus over onto His back, then continued to whip Him from the neck down. By then He had quit moving. Finally the guard in charge gave the command:
Jesus lay there, barely breathing. They had whipped Him to the
edge of death. I had heard that this was the man who talked about loving one
another. The human form of a man was still visible, but His body was broken. The shackles were taken off and His arms fell
to the ground. I knew this journey had only begun and wouldn’t end
until He was crucified. The guards grabbed Jesus by the arms and dragged him out to the street. He was put to His feet and
a cross thrown onto His back. Jesus clutched the cross and began to drag it up the stone path.
I looked back at the blood trail again. I was one of the guards
that helped Him get up at the whipping post in order for this horrible beating to continue.
I will never forget what I saw that day. Any man would have begged for mercy or cried for freedom. But this man they
call Jesus said nothing. I looked down at the whip in my hand. I know in my heart I could never use it. I dropped the whip
where I stood and looked at the Man with the cross. Jesus stumbled again and fell. I wanted to help Him but did not.
The weight of the cross causes Him to fall, knocking the air out of His lungs. A whip sliced at the back of his legs. “Get
Shaking and trembling, Jesus tried to get up but couldn’t.
He collapsed and His face hit the ground. The guard that had been whipping and yelling stopped to look through the crowd.
Simon of Cyrene was in the midst of the people watching. The guard’s eyes
fell upon Simon and ordered, “You! Over here now!”
Simon slowly walked over to the guard. He wanted nothing to
do with this.“I appoint you to help this man carry his cross to the hill.” Simon replied, “But I am only
passing through. I do not want any trouble.” “Do as I say or we will do the same to you.” Simon looked at
Jesus, then reached for the cross and pulled it onto his left shoulder. With his right hand he reached down. Jesus looked
up at him. “Give me your hand. I will help you.”
Jesus reached for Simon with a shaky hand. Simon helped Him
to His feet. “Hang on to me and the cross.” Simon wrapped his right arm around Jesus’ waist. The two stood
looking at each other for a moment, then Simon looked ahead and started pulling Jesus and the cross to the hill. Some were
weeping as they watched their Savior being helped to his Crucifixion. These were tears of love. But there was something else
here: Hatred. Some hated Him, without even knowing Him. For these, there were
no tears, only Sin.
Finally, they reached the base of the hill. Simon looked up
to see two men already on crosses. There was an empty spot in the middle of them. Simon was drenched from sweat. His arms
were weak and his legs were heavy. He looked at the man beside him. “We will make it to the top.”
Together they did reach the destination. Simon laid the man
down gently, then the guards ripped the cross from his left hand. Simon fell to his knees. He looked exhausted and seemed
surprised by all the blood everywhere. Simon watched as the cross was laid flat. Two guards walked over and grabbed Jesus
by the hands and feet. Simon had to know. He asked someone in the crowd, “Who
is this man? What crime did He commit?”
“They call him Jesus. He claims to be the Son of
God!” Simon could only look on now, but his life would never be the same. The guards carried Jesus to the cross and
laid Him on it. They stretched His arms out and tied them down with rope. The mallet and nails were brought over. I watched
as His hand was held open against the cross. The nail was placed in the middle of His hand. Jesus watched as the mallet came
down. Metal to metal, the nail went through His hand and into the wooden cross. His fingers curled up and He groaned in agony.
The same was done to His other hand. Without hesitating, the guards then reached down to hold Jesus’ legs still. One
foot was put on top of the other and a nail was set on the top foot. Again the mallet came down, then again, until the nail
finally found wood. Jesus almost lost consciousness from the agony.
The pounding above His head aroused Him. A superscription was
being nailed to the cross that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” Then the cross was dragged to the spot between
the two thieves. The end was lined up with the hole in the ground. Close to Jesus’ hands on each side a rope was tied.
Two guards pulled from the front with the ropes. Four grabbed the cross and started to raise it up. The cross hung on the
edge of the hole until a guard walked up and kicked the bottom of the cross. It slid into the hole, then dropped three feet
before it slammed to a stop at the bottom. Jesus’ body jerked violently, His head fell forward as His chin rested on
His chest. He drifted in and out of consciousness. The force of the cross slamming had dislocated all his upper body joints.
The crowd was yelling at Jesus, mocking him. “King of
the Jews, save yourself, come down from the cross.” Even the chief priests and the scribes mocked him. “You saved
others but you cannot save yourself. Come down that we can see and believe.”
One of the thieves crucified with Jesus taunted Him. “Are
you not Jesus? Save us and yourself.” The other thief yelled in anger and rebuked him. “Do you not fear God? We
deserve what we receive. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Jesus pulled His head up and looked at the man talking. The
tears were running down his face. “Jesus, remember me when you get to your kingdom.” Then I heard Jesus reply,
“This I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
At that moment, darkness crept in and covered the sun. The day
appeared to turn into night. There was absolute silence--the sound of mocking
stopped. The three hung for hours in the darkness, then out of nowhere, the ground began to shake. Some ran from fear, but I had to stay. I later heard that
the temple was destroyed, split down the middle. After the shaking stopped, there
was quite in the darkness again. I heard Jesus cry out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I give my spirit.”
After saying this, He breathed no more. Another guard checked
to see if Jesus was dead. He speared His side but there was no movement. I walked closer and looked up to Jesus. The tears
swelled in my eyes. I understood. I whispered, “For He truly is the Son of God.”
The journey to the cross was over, but the journey with Jesus
has no ending. Only life. After three days, Jesus rose. I know He now sits at the right hand of God. He died for our sins.
Only the Son of God could do that. Because of His love, we have freedom. To be free is to believe in Him.