THE HARDEST CHOICE – Golgotha
By the time Jesus reached the top of the hill, they already hung the two thieves who were wailing in pain. The executioners quickly took hold of him, stripped him down to his loin cloth and laid on the cross. Cornelius had to fight the urge to not drawing his weapon on them, but instead stood there stone-faced as they drove nails into his wrists. He expected him to scream in pain, but as they pounded on the nails all he did was quietly moan. Once his feet was nailed onto the post, it took eight men to maneuver the bottom of the cross to the hole on the ground and lift the cross on a standing position.
The north-road and the environs around the execution hill were filled with people. Many of them were the chief priests and their lackies. When a soldier climbed a ladder to mount a sign on Jesus’ cross that said ‘Here is Jesus, King of the Jews’, they protested loudly. They demanded that the sign be changed to ‘Here is Jesus who claims that I am King of the Jews.’
Cestus was quite disgusted about the festive mood of the passers-by and those who came to watch Jesus on a cross.
“Just last week, they hailed and welcomed him to the city. Now, they celebrate him hung on a cross. Disgusting!”
The chief priests and their lackies fed this festivities by continually hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” Others were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” [Mark 15:29-32]
The people laughed.
The soldiers too were enjoying themselves by dividing up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take.
Then Cornelius heard Jesus speak as he called out, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34]
Cornelius’ heart broke to hear him who is in agony think kindly of those who are mocking him and even those who are killing him.
Even the thief who hung on Jesus’ left was mocking him, calling to save him from the cross. But then the other thief rebuked saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he looked at Jesus and said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
Then Jesus weakly said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:40-43]
The story continues on in my next post.
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