His Voice from the Cross #6

STORY HEARD & BELIEVED
by J. Quisumbing

Guard duty can be quite tedious at most times thought the Praetorian especially when he is tasked to watch over anyone who is not the emperor. However, for the past few days, he and his squad of men were ordered to guard a most unusual man who came from the farthest eastern part of the empire. This man is from a strange people that only had one god. There was a small population of them in the poorest quarter of the city of Rome. Except for this man, he had very little interaction with them.

What made this man interesting to the Praetorian was that though this man was scheduled to be executed, he chose to spend his last hours spinning an incredible tale to him. Chained to the Praetorian, he told him of how the son of this one God made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Then, how he purposely became a prisoner condemned to die on a cross.*

[* Philippians 2:6-8]

This man was a master storyteller. He captured the Praetorian’s imagination by transporting him back in time to that hill with three crosses. He watched the prisoner suffer cruelly more than any other condemned on a cross. He could see his battered body; his face swollen from a beating; his back shredded by a scourging; and a crown of inch-long thorns driven painfully into his scalp. With all that had happened to him, he glimpsed the true heart of the son of this one God when he pleaded for forgiveness even when those that caused him pain deserved divine punishment (Luke 23:34). Afterwhich, he learned a lesson of grace poured out through faith, when the prisoner reassured the thief who hung on another cross that he will be with him in paradise (Luke 23:43). The Praetorian was even touched by the prisoner’s concern for his mother’s earthly needs when he entrusted her well being to his disciple’s responsibility (John 19:26-27).

The storyteller then brings his tale to the final moments. In the darkest hours of his suffering, the prisoner cried out with a loud voice inquiring why God his father had forsaken him (Matthew 27:46). The Praetorian asked if the prisoner was regretting his choices and was casting blame to the one God. The storyteller explained that the words uttered was him calling out for all to hear that prophecy was being fulfilled here. He explained that everything that the prisoner went through was planned by the one God.

He thirsted and was given a vile drink of vinegar and gall. After which he declared that it was finished (John 19:30).

The Praetorian asked, “what did he mean?”

The storyteller explained that what was finished was not only the prisoner’s earthly life, not only his suffering and dying, not only the payment for sin and the redemption of the world—but the very reason and purpose he came to earth was finished. His final act of obedience was complete as is according to the Scriptures.

“Afterwhich,” said the storyteller, “the prisoner looked up at the sky, then said…

‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’

Luke 23:46

…And with those words he breathed his last.”

The storyteller’s head slumped forward on his chest. The Praetorian thought he fell asleep. As he gazed at the storyteller’s slumped head, his mind raced. Somehow, he was not satisfied with what he thought was an unsatisfactory end of the story. How can a God of justice doom His son to death? It made no sense to him. Then the storyteller spoke while his head was still slumped.

“Praetorian, I can guess what you are thinking,” he said. “When the prisoner spoke his last words, he showed his complete trust in his Father. You see, he set foot into death in the same way he lived each day of his life, offering up his life as the perfect sacrifice and placing himself in God’s hands. He knew with certainty that he will not be left in the grave.”

“How?” asked the Praetorian.

The storyteller’s head came up smiling. “He knew it because it was written in our Scriptures. ‘For thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol (hell); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.’** And sure enough, on the third day, He rose from the dead!”

[** Psalm 16:10]

“Three days! What happened to him during that time?”

“It is not easy to comprehend. Do you recall the story of Lazarus and the rich man? (Luke 16:19-31)”

The Praetorian nodded though he didn’t really understand its significance.

“That place where all dead go is called Sheol. You know it as Hades. It is written that during those three days, he went and released those who were in Abraham’s bossom. He called it paradise which was a place of comfort and rest for those that lived by faith in the old days since Adam to the thief who died on the cross beside him. After he resurrected, he eventually ascended to heaven and brought them (the ransomed dead) with him, so that now paradise is no longer down near the place of torment, but is up in the third heaven, the highest heaven, where God dwells. There, they wait and look forward to when he returns again not as Savior but as Judge to make the world right forever.” (2 Corinthians 12:2–4)

“Storyteller, I desire to be with him… with him who gave his life for me and for all of us. What do I need to do?”

He smiled and said, “You are already doing it. You have listened attentively to the story and already believed (Romans 10:17). And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Eternal life is yours because you believe.”

Then, they both heard voices approach the chamber they were in.

“Praetorian. My time is very close. Soon, I will be taken from here and my life will be poured out like a drink offering. You need more understanding. Go! Seek out other believers and learn from them God’s words and be blessed.”

The doors opened and other guards entered to lead the storyteller away. As they were almost out the door, the Praetorian asked, “Storyteller, what was the prisoner’s name?”

The storyteller smiled and said, “His name is…”

JESUS CHRIST

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved. [Acts 4:12]

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. [1 Timothy 2:6]


Author’s Note:

We finish my tale on His Voice from the Cross. This 6 part story, though creatively written, was based on the Bible accounts on Jesus Christ’s last few hours on the cross. The first 5 parts were from first hand perspectives but then I chose that the 6th part be from the perspective of a Roman guard hearing about Jesus’ story some 40-50 years after the crucifixion event.

The storyteller, by the way, is my imagined character of Paul who biblically shared the Gospel to his Praetorian guards even while chained to them.

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me here at Facebook MESSENGER by audio from 3-5pm Monday to Friday. Scheduled small group chats can be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.

His Voice from the Cross #5

REPRIEVED & PAID IN FULL
by J. Quisumbing

It is now the ninth hour. The day had been long and tortuous. The prisoner had suffered personal humiliation from his own people when they unjustly tried him under the cover of darkness. He was abandoned by those that were closest to him except for one. He endured a punishing scourging by a wicked whip. Mocked cruelly by foreigners then crowned with an entwined ring of thorns into his scalp. Though found not guilty, he was still condemned to death as a political pawn for the corrupt. He was paraded through the city while bearing the heavy tool of his execution on his bruised shoulder. His wrists and feet were impaled on a rugged cross. And for hours, he hung there in constant torture.

As his body lost so much bodily fluids, extreme dehydration caused him to be delirious. in opening his eyes, the world began to spin until everything became very blurred. He closed his eyes but the sensation of spinning continued. He didn’t know when he lost consciousness but when he again opened his eyes, he was standing in the midst of a very bright light. It was familiar and comforting.

Then he heard an echoing voice… “Behold… the long awaited court is in session. Assemble all…”

His vision cleared and he found himself in a vast bright arena. All around him, he felt the presence of a multidude but he could not see them. Instead, his focus was at the center, where another figure waited. Though he knew this figure was of spirit, he chose to appear as a human male. The prisoner knew him as the Accuser. Then, in the middle of a round platform appeared two human beings, a male and a female. They both stood there with blank eyes. They were not aware of their surroundings nor of where they were.

The prisoner then moved to another platform that was much higher and on it was a golden bench which he knew for certain is the Seat of Judgement. With no hesitation, he sat and knew it was his rightful place. Upon sitting, he felt another presence… a much greater and familiar presence.

Then, the Accuser launched into his tirade about the human creatures before him. He spoke like he was reciting from a long long list of transgressions made not by these individuals but by humanity as a whole whom these two represent. The Accuser spoke of deeds from humanity’s past, present and future. Since time was not a factor here, the droning of his voice seem endless. However, the Accuser would, on occasion, return to the act of the first sin that started it all.

“All they had to do was not to eat of the forbidden tree. It was an easy commandment to follow. ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’* But yet they did. These are creatures that Thou hast made in Thine image. They were so easily swayed by my trickery to believe that they could be like Thee. Even when they were discovered in their sin, they cowardly blamed everyone else including Thee, Lord. The court demands that Thy justice be done here.”

[* Genesis 2:16-17]

The prisoner again felt the loving warmth coming from the greater presence that surround him. A gentle voice whispers into his ear, “Thou knowest what to do, my Son.”

The prisoner then spoke, “Accuser, you are right to say that all of humanity have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are without excuse and have earned death… eternal damnation.** As the righteous judge sitting on this holy seat, we have come to the decision… to give them the opportunity of redemption.”

[** Romans 3:23; 1:20; 6:23a]

“How, Lord?”, cried the Accuser. “Only the righteous may enter Thine own realm.”

“Again, Accuser, thou art succinct to say that there is none righteous, ney, not even one.”***

[*** Romans 3:10]

The prisoner stood up, came down off the high platform and went to stand before the man and woman. He studied their blank faces for a few moments. Then, he turned to face the Judgement Seat to find that it was filled with another who was so bright that he could not see His face, but he knew who He was.

He nodded to him and said, “I will take their place.”

Then he woke up gasping for breath. The excruciating pain is back and in full force. But he felt it no more and knew. One more prophecy to fulfill. He called out…

“I thirst.”

A soldier poured a mixture of gall and vinegar on a bundled mesh of hyssop. He secured the mesh on the tip of his spear and raised it to the prisoner’s chapped lips. As he sipped on the sickly sweet-sour drink, all he thought was ‘done’.

Then he said…

“It is finished.”

[John 19:28,30]


Author’s Note:

When the prisoner said ‘I thirst’, he fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 69:21 which says, “For my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

And…

When he finally stated ‘It is finished’, he used the Greek term Tetelestai which means in essence that the debt of sin was paid.

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me at Facebook MESSENGER by audio. Scheduled small group chats can also be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.

OCEANUS ADVENTURE #8

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 3 continued…

Before he can say anything, Merlie picked up his bags and proceeded to the stern where he thought she was going to deposit them in a cabin but instead she went straight to a spiral staircase that he didn’t even notice before. Then, a bigger surprise still, she disappeared downstairs. The admiral quizzically looked at Mae and Jona.

“Surprise!” They both said.

“Starting tonight, you’ll be sleeping with the fishes,” smiled Jona, “…so to speak. Come! Let’s go down.”

The admiral was a submariner and he was used to sleeping in tight quarters under fathoms of water, but when he went down just 9 feet down, what greeted him blew his mind away. It was a bedroom with an incredible view. His first thoughts was on an old Disney movie, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’. The bed… a king-sized bed was facing a large round plexiglass window about 7 feet in diameter.

The admiral was automatically drawn to it. Because it was already evening, he could not penetrate the darkness except where the light of the room spilled on a bed of corals just under the window. A school of jacks swam by then disappeared into the depths afterwhich several crabs came crawling out from their crags and crannies. Then, a colorful parrot fish came by to graze on patches of algae on the rocks. Other marine life that one can find in a reef made their appearances.

“What do you think?” asked Jona.

“I’m thinking that you made friends with a certain marine architect that built all those houseboats in Dubai with underwater cabins.”

“Yup. Ours are not exactly as fancy as those in Dubai, but each of them can survive a stormy sea in a pinch. These 3 guest boats are designated as emergency lifeboats complete with solar panels, rations and a desalination system for freshwater. Each boat can handle 20 to 25 people max.”

“Excellent, Jona.”

“Meanwhile, we have a dinner to go to. Merlie will finish unpacking for you. You freshen up and we’ll see you there.”


“I don’t know if I want to go tonight,” said Tess Ramiscal. “She’s going to go wild when she sees that you married me.”

“Well, you can’t hide from her for the next 6 months,” Robby said. “Besides, I laid down the law with her. She’s here to do her job and I’ll be too busy to even deal with her.”

“I hope you’re right, but if she is the same like she was in college, we are in for a rough year.”


The reception dinner is going to be held in the second floor level of the residential island’s community center. If seen from a distance, it looked almost like a giant flying saucer. The center was essentially the food commons and recreation area for the residents of the island and the executive officers of the project.

Bree Grover was looking over the entire reception area. She was satisfied with the decorations that her students and the village women put up. The room with it’s round panoramic windows were beautifully decorated with local flowers and colorful paper streamers made from dried seaweed. The fifteen round tables on the other hand were elegantly adorned with pearly white table cloths with its embroidered hems, silverwares, crystal glasses and beautiful flowery centerpieces. Mae Quimby is really pulling all the stops. She strolled over to the buffet tables which were laden with food mostly of Filipino fares. Then she realized that she was still in her grungies. She dashed off.

To be continued…

PREV


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.

His Voice from the Cross #4

FORSAKEN FOR OUR SAKE
by J. Quisumbing

The disciple whom the prisoner loves was hot and sweating profusely. He slowly scanned the sky. The sun should be shinning a quarter down from it’s zenith at this ninth hour, but the sky was unusually dark due to heavy cloud cover. The heat should be normally dry which he preferred, but the humidity in the air was thick and heavy. If it felt bad for himself, (looking up to his master on the cross) how much more worse for him.

Since midnight, the disciple tried to stay with his teacher, his master… his proclaimed friend… after his arrest in the olive grove garden by the Temple guards by order of the High Priest. He followed them to the grand house of the high priest and managed to get in because he was kin to his household. It was hard for the disciple to just standby and watch him go through a contemptable farce of a trial that the religious leaders held against his master through most of the night. He hated it most when they mocked him, hit him on the head, spat on his face, then handed him over to the foreigners for execution, who nailed him to a cross on execution hill. This was where he found him when he went to fetched the prisoner’s mother.

Looking up again at the master, he saw a look that he had never seen on him before. He saw a desperate look of despair and forlorn, like he was carrying the weight of the world. Then he watched him look up, take a rasping breath and shouted out to the heavens…

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?
(My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?)

Mark 15:34

The disciple heard scared voices from the crowd behind him. Some thought that the master was calling for Elias (Elijah). Elijah was a great prophet of old who called out for fire from heaven to smote his enemies and was carried into heaven in a fiery chariot. They searched the skies for Elijah riding on that same chariot to destroy them and save him. The disciple knew otherwise.

He recognized the master’s words from the Scriptures. It was from a psalm written by King David long time ago (Psalm 22:1). Somehow, he knew that his master, who hung on the cross in such agony was not calling out blame, but instead he was calling out for all to hear that prophecy… The Prophecy made by Isaiah (Isaiah 53)… was being fulfilled here.

The disciple understood. Many a times, the master had predicted that he would be handed over and put to death. He and the other disciples strove to prevent this from happening but to no avail. He realized that this was what the master wanted to happen. For months, the master challenged the religious leaders of their hypocrisy, daring them to act. They did act and had succeeded but it was not of their design. He gazed up at the cross. This was the Lord’s doing. This was his plan.

He now understood what the Baptist meant when he declared him to be the ‘Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world’ (John 1:29), except that unlike the lambs offered as sacrifices at the Temple, this lamb had a will. And he willed to offer himself to take our place. Tears pooled in his eyes. He thought of what his master truly had to endure. He realized that the words he uttered were not because of physical pain. The real pain was being truly cut off from the presence of God… his Heavenly Father. What was most incredible was that the Lord God turned his back on his Son for love of us. It was then he heard his master’s voice echoing in his mind saying…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16


Author’s Note:

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me at Facebook MESSENGER by audio. Scheduled small group chats can also be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.

His Voice from the Cross #3

MOTHER TO SON TO MOTHER
by J. Quisumbing

For the prisoner, it seemed like days that he had been hanging on the cross. In actuality, it’s been 3 hours since he was nailed to this cross. He had lost all feelings on his hands but his shoulders felt like they were out of their sockets. As to his feet, it was more a dull numbing ache until he shifts, of which, shooting pain would throb up to his knees. But it was his ripped up back that caused him the sharpest pain. For every breath, he had to push down on to his legs, making his torn back scrape against the rough splintered wood.

The hot afternoon sun was beating down on his brow, drying up the blood over his eyes, encrusting them shut. His hearing was picking up the sounds of the nearby guards and the occassional mocking insults from among the spectators.

Then, he heard an echoing female voice, like the way you would hear in a tunnel saying, “My son, my son…”

At first, it sounded distant. Then…

“My son, my son… what have they done to thee?” the voice said weepingly.

The prisoner recognized the voice right away and it was a lot closer. He cracked open one eye and had to wait for the blurring to clear. As it cleared, he saw that the guards allowed some women and a man to come very close. Amongst them was his mother.

Seeing her brought back a flood of memories.

He remembered seeing her smile as she held out her arms to catch him as he took his first steps. He recalled the many stories she told him of how the Lord’s angel came to her to declare of his coming and of how shepherds of Bethlehem came to see him newly born laying in a manger told to do so by the same angel. More memories came, but one in particular pushed forward.

It was at the time of his ‘bar mitzvah’, when his mother and step father took him for the first time to the great city to partake in the Passover. After the week long celebration was over, he seperated from his family as they ventured home, lost in his desire to seek more knowledge of his heavenly father by holding deep discussions with the religious teachers of the great Temple. They were astounded by this young boy’s questions and understanding of Scriptures. After three days, his mother and step father arrived looking for him. When they approached him, he remembered the look of worry and anguish on his mother’s face. His step father later explained about his mother’s anguish look to him that when he was a babe of 40 days, they brought him to the Temple for his dedication. They were met by an old man who was promised by God that before he died, he would see God’s salvation. He prophesied to his mother of the prisoner’s ultimate destiny which would be like a sword piercing her soul.

As the first-born, he determined to keep her safe especially after he was physically gone. His step father had passed away when he was a young man. His sisters were all married and would not be able to take care of her in her old age. His brothers… he knew with certainty… would die, one by one, by martyrdom. His mother should be spared from being alone. But who?

His eyes shifted to the man who accompanied his mother and the other women. He knew him so well and his heart lightened because he is here. He is trying to be brave but he could tell by the dampness of his cheeks, he is breaking inside. Oh, how the prisonner loved this man. He remembered when this young man first came to him. Once he was a follower of the Baptist, but after the Baptist identified the prisoner’s true identity, he eagerly sought out the prisoner. For three years, the young man followed him in his ministry through every village and every city, preaching the Good News. He became one of the chosen Twelve. From them, he was the one most beloved. And more importantly, because he alone from among the Twelve is here risking his life, he alone will not die by martyrdom. He will be perfect.

The prisoner braced his legs then pushed his torn back up against the cross to breathe. He looked at his mother and said…

Woman, behold thy son...

Then he looks at the one he loved and said…

Behold thy mother.

John 19:26–27


Author’s Note:

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me here at Facebook MESSENGER by audio. Scheduled small group chats can also be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.

OCEANUS ADVENTURE #7

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

Chapter 3

The lagoon in twilight reminded Admiral Harris about another lagoon in Florida. Except for the two superstructures, Oceanus’ lagoon was surrounded by foliage, the tallests of which were a grouping of coconut trees which is a feat considering they were successfully grown in trash. The admiral was amazed by the ingenuity of the Bajau Laut to enclose each root of the coconut trees with a honeycomb-like-cage stuffed with the plastic sand which is produced by the project’s recycling plant. It was said that the roots had so entwined itselves that the trees are impervious to extreme gusts of winds.

The zodiac with it’s quiet electric motor was approaching the residential island. The island had a mound on it that rose about 30 feet over the water. On it were more of the mangroves inbetween which were dome houses with warm lights glowing through the windows. Jutting out is a floating pier with a couple of zodiacs tied off it. The admiral thought they were heading for it but then the boat veered off to the right. Anchored between the two islands were three boat houses attached together with suspension bridges.

“Hey Jona… Mae… are you setting me up in those?”

“It’s a big surprise for you, Admiral,” said Mae. “I think you’ll love it.”

The zodiac sidled up to the port side of one of the houseboats. The admiral estimated it to be about a 50 footer. Most houseboats were motorized but these were just white rectanglar floating barges. He boarded through a side entryport and was pleased to find a comfortable open design with a plush lounge set, dinette for four and a modern equipped kitchen galley. At the front was a tall floor to ceiling window and glass sliding doors that open up to an open observation deck with no sidings.

As he looked around, he was surprised to find a little Filipino woman just quietly standing in the galley.

“Ah, Merlie,” Jona said as he came in. This is Senator Reese Harris.”

She approached and extended her hand to him and said, “Hallo, Senator Harris. I am honored to be serving you at last.”

“Merlie here… when she found out that you were coming, she volunteered… no… she insisted that you’ll need her as a cook and houseservant.”

The admiral shook her hand and replied, “Thank you, Merlie. Please call me Admiral.”

Nodding her head, she said, “Senator Admiral.”

“No, no, no… just Admiral.”

“Okey dokey… sir Admiral.”

The admiral almost laughed. “Merlie? Where did you learn ‘okey dokey’ from?”

“Oh, Ms. Bree,” she gave a toothy smile. “I hear her say that all the time. Can I serve you now, sir Admiral?”

To be continued…

PREV


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.

His Voice from the Cross #2

THE THIEF’S GOSPEL
by J. Quisumbing

The thief was getting less groggy now. He remembered drinking some offered wine that tasted sharp and quite acrid. This wine usually was offered to the condemned before the crucifixion to deaden the pain. It didn’t work fast enough.

Now, that his mind cleared, he had to cope with the pain. To do this, he busied himself by scrutinizing his surroundings. He did this very well, especially when he cased a place he wanted to rob.

Execution hill, he knew so well. He had watched the conquerors kill many of his people on this hill since he was a boy. He shook his head. He never thought that he himself would ever end up here.

He looked to his right. He saw no other crosses. He looked to his left and saw only two. He recalled more crosses on this hill and along the road in the past. He was situated on the farthest cross on the right facing the busy road that went into the city. He saw that his partner in crime was on the farthest cross to the left. The middle one was occupied by a man he could not recognize. By the look of him, the conquerors must really hate him. He was definately flogged and on his head was a makeshift crown of thorns. The thorns were at least an inch long and they clearly embedded deep into his scalp. Blood covered his face. He asked himself, why do they despise him so? And not just them, as well. From the big crowd below, he recognized the well dressed leaders and high level priests of his people hurling insults at him. The only other person that could irritate them so, was a roving rabbi from Galilee.

He quickly looked back at him with his eyes wide open. They are crucifying Him! He heard him teach a number of times in the Temple Courts about the Kingdom of Heaven. Oh, he so wished that he could go there, but because he was a career thief, the religious teachers would say otherwise. He believed them and felt that he could not change and there was no hope for him. Until he witnessed something incredible.

He was hiding in a robber’s hole in a quarry used as burial sites for the rich from a nearby village. He and his parter were being hunted by soldiers who almost caught them ransacking their quarters. The thief was holing up in his hole when he observed a funeral procession of a young man from a rich family. Four days later, a large crowd of people gathered around the the burial site of that young man. Among the crowd was the rabbi. The thief was intrigued and decided to come out of his hiding hole.

He watched the rabbi instruct his followers to roll the grave coverstone away even after the cautionary advice of decaying odor from a 4 day old corpse. After the stone was rolled away. The rabbi looked up and prayed, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 11:41-42)

Then he called into the tomb and commanded that the dead man come forth. At first, nothing. Then from the inside the darkness, he could just make out some slight grayish movement. He felt the hairs on his back stand up. The crowd was startled with women screaming as a bound hand came out of the darkness grasping the entrance wall. The rabbi reached in, grasped the other hand and helped the struggling bound man out. He brought this man back to life.

They say that the rabbi from Galilee may be the Messiah. He was never a good student so he was not exactly sure what a Messiah is. But if a Messiah does what this rabbi did, he is truly worthy of following. He could change for him. The thief did make the decision to turn a new leaf. He was so elated that he did not even notice that he was surrounded by soldiers. Apparently these soldiers already arrested his partner who told them where he was.

Then he heard his partner hurl insults at the rabbi, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

Then the thief bolstered himself up and called out. “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he noticed that the prisoner on the center cross was looking towards him. He did not say anything, but the thief felt that the prisoner was waiting for him to say something. The thief took a swallow and said, “Lord… remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Then the prisoner said…

“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)


Author’s Note:

The Bible does not really say what else happened to that thief on the cross except that before the day ended, his legs were eventually broken by the executioners to hasten their deaths. He died. And that’s it.

But allow me to surmise based on all biblical stories of those that believed in Him who gave Himself on the cross. I can imagine the thief dying with no fear and then waking up in the middle of a beautiful garden that he had never experienced ever. In that place of paradise, which I truly believe is the Garden of Eden, the thief and those that believe after would find the Lord there smiling. I confess that I myself had dreams of that place. But that is a subject for another time.

Take note that the story from the perspective of the thief is the product of my creative writing, however the quotes are from the King James Version Bible.

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me here at Facebook MESSENGER by audio from 3-5pm Monday to Friday. Scheduled small group chats can be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.

OCEANUS ADVENTURE #6

A Fictional Series by J Quisumbing

CHAPTER 2 continued…

“Jona, you’re one month late,” Mae chided while giving him a welcome home hug. Then she turned to the Admiral, shaking his hand. She said jokingly, “Of course, Senator Harris, I blame you for keeping him away from me.”

Laughing out loud, the Admiral joked back, “Well, Mae… how else can I keep you apart, so that I can steal you away?” He gave her a bear hug.

Then she looked at Tony Hallbright who came over and was vigorously shaking her hand. “Hello, Dr. Quimby… I’m Tony Hallbright… department of marine biology, University of Texas, class of 2023. I am so glad to be closely working with you…” He was still shaking her hand when she slightly shifted her gaze to Jona with a glint in her eye that told him that there will be words later.

A heavy hand patted his shoulder. “I sure don’t want to be in your shoes later,” Maj. Roque chuckled softly.

“Hello Alicia… welcome to Oceanus.”

“Hello Robby,” said Alicia.

“I’m here to set you and your production crew up in your quarters and work stations.”

Robby Ramiscal looked leaner than she remembered and his hair was much shorter. She recalled running her hand through those locks. And he seems more serious, not like those wild college days.

“Jona has assigned me to give you all the assistance you’ll need,” as an after thought, he added, “…except during my usual duty routines.”

“Now, if you all follow me, your apartments are in this superstructure.” He started to lead them toward a wide entryway on the side of the hull. “

“Ah Ms. Buenaventura… I mean Alicia,” called Jona. “Please join us for supper at the residential island. There’ll be a zodiac waiting for you.”

“Ok, I’ll be there tonight. Thank you,” she said. She waved at them, then jogged after Robby and her crew who already disappeared into the superstructure.

Alicia caught up with them on the second level. As Robby climbed up the steps, she gestured for her crew to hang back a ways so she can converse with Robby.

“So Robby, you are married now.”

“Yup. Seven years now.”

“Do I know her… maybe from school?”

“Nope. I met her in Ohio.”

“Jona said you have kids.”

“Twins, to be exact… about 6 years old.”

Alicia was a little miffed at him because all he offered so far were short quips. Robby paused on deck #3, waiting for the rest of her crew to catch up.

“Ok, here in deck #3 is our sick bay,” explained Robby. “We have 2 doctors and 7 nurses on staff. Since, you are going to be with us for several months, you’ll be joining our people in mandatory first aid training.”

“What!?” exclaimed Alicia. “Wait a minute! We’re here to shoot video!”

“Ms. Buenaventura, I suggest you check your contract.”

Alicia turned to her crew and said, “Can you go ahead up to the next level?” As soon as they were out of sight. “Ok, Robby. What is with this Ms. Buenaventura crap?”

“I prefer that any interaction between you and me, we keep it professional.”

“Why are you being so distant? Once upon a time, you and I were… very close,” she purred as she reached out to stroke his face, but he took a step back.

“Alicia, you have not changed,” he said shaking his head. “When I heard you were leading the NG group, my gut told me you would be trouble. Let me reiterate something. There is no more ‘you and I’. “

He then sidestepped her and went up the steps to catch up with her crew. Alicia stood there. She was not angry, she was smiling to herself.

“Are you trouble?”

Alicia was startled to find Hallbright, the marine biologist, a few steps down the strairwell with his bulky dufflebag over his shoulder.

“I tell ya, Ms. Alicia…,” he said as he walked up the last few steps to her, “it was like I was watching some kind of soap opera.” He chuckled. “And I thought I was going to be bored here.”

“Well, Tony Hallbright… a girl needs to have some kind of fun.” She smiled demurely.

“Ho ho ho… you are a bad girl!” He chortled. He picked up her bag and they both went up to look for their quarters.

To be continued…

PREV


Note from the author:
Oceanus Adventure is a fun effort on my part to enter the wonderful world of creative writing. It’s a story of a group of people who launched themselves into the Pacific Ocean on an artificial island to solve the Great Pacific garbage patch. My hopes is that this will end up into a TV series.

Comments and idea suggestions will be most welcomed. I hope you enjoy.

His Voice from the Cross #1

HIS INCREDIBLE PLEA
by J. Quisumbing

The prisoner’s back was on fire. More than an hour ago, he endured a scourging of 25-30 lashes. He lost count. The whip used was the cat o’ nine tails, an odious punishment tool made up of nine knotted thongs of leather with jagged pieces of metal and bones embedded in the strips. Each stroke was relentless especially when the one wielding it was so enraged because the prisoner made no noise above a moan.

His vision blurred again. By the taste of salt on his lips, he knew that more blood was profusely pouring down over his eyes from the puncture wounds on his scalp. Shutting his eyes tight and blinking a couple of times, his vision somewhat cleared. Looking ahead, he could just make out the infamous execution hill which he knew was north of the city about half a mile from the city gate. Some say that this hill looked like a half buried skull hence its name.

A little strength seem to be coming back to his bruised and cut up legs especially when the heavy burden that he was carrying on his already torn up shoulder was alleviated by the overseers. Earlier, they saw that the prisoner may not make it to execution hill because he was stumbling, falling and getting even weaker with every step he took. So, they stopped the procession, grabbed an unsuspecting spectator from amongst the crowd and forced him to carry the prisoner’s burden which was a roughly hewn cross.

The prisoner finally reached the crest of the hill. He was shoved to where the cross that he carried most of the way was laid out on the ground. Men in red tunics were busily preparing it. He turned his eyes towards a commotion on his left. Another prisoner was screaming out in pain as his hands and feet were impaled onto another cross. Hearing a grating sound to his right, he turned his head to watch another cross being erected, the bottom of which fell into a carved hole on the stony ground. It made a heavy thud sound causing the prisoner already nailed and hanging from it to scream out in agony.

He was then stripped of his outer garments leaving just a loin cloth to cover him. Then, he was roughly shoved down onto the cross. He winced as his bare torn back touched the rough surface of the cross. He braced himself with expectation as his arms were stretched out onto the cross beam. Strong calloused hands pinned his forearms down with his palms facing up. The executioners then simultaneously set the tips of nine inch iron spikes over the prisoners’ wrists. They then, simultaneously pounded those nails through his wrists, expertly missing the arteries with no bones broken. The pain was indescribable.

The executioners turned their attention to his feet. First, they tied his knees together. Then, they bent his legs a little to the left about a quarter of the way up. They rested his feet on an anchored triangle shaped wooden block. With one foot over another, they drove another long spike through, pinning them securely on the sloped block.

Just as he was bearing up to the pain of those spikes being driven into his skin, his own cross was lifted up and manhandled into position. The jarring effect brought even more excruciating pain bringing him to tears and then blacked out.

When he came to, he was gasping for air. He was not breathing properly. His chest felt compressed as he hung there with arms stretched up and his legs were limp. He realized that he can inhale but not exhale. He knew he had to put weight on his feet to exhale. But as he did so his torn back rubbed against the splintered wood, causing a constant stabbing into the open raw flesh. As painful as it was, he knew he had to do it regardless the pain he had to endure.

Then the taunts came.

From his high vantage point, he can see the north road busy with passersby going to and fro from the city. Most of them joined in with the mingling crowd that continued to hurl insults at him.

Someone in a rich robe shouted, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!” Many laughed and shook their heads. Others mockingly called him the king of the Jews and that he should come off that cross to rule them. It went on and on, and even the condemned men left and right of him joined in. (Matthew 27)

Then another voice said, “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

The prisoner recognized that voice. It was the same voice that tried to tempt him during his time of fasting in the wilderness some three years ago. He said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

In his ear, he can hear that same tempter taunt him. “Son of God,” he would whisper, “You have at your command, legions of angels just waiting for you to give the order to destroy those that have done this against you. These creatures are not worthy of your love. See how they mock you. Elijah once asked God to send down fire upon his enemies who mocked him. You command the elements. Reveal your glory to them and watch them grovel in the ground and beg for forgiveness. Do you not see these people?”

He does see them. He looks down at the overseers laughing among themselves and callously gambling over his garment. He cannot get himself to hate them. Then, he scanned the crowd who continue to jeer at him. He saw their pettiness & shallowness; their angers & fears; their ignorance, their frailty & many faults. He also saw inside their hearts and he knew they were lost and hungry for a better life. He once told his disciples that what he saw in people was a flock without a shepherd. He saw each of them as created in God’s image. No, he could not condemn them. He knew that one day, the time of judgment will come, but not yet.

He peered up at the sky. The sky was clear but in the distance he could see angry clouds forming. He knew that his Holy Father was angry and rightly so.

The prisoner braced his legs and painfully lifted his body up. He breathed in, looked up to Heaven and said…

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)


Author’s Note:

Holy Week is just around the corner. Every Week until Resurection Sunday, I will post a story on the last words of this prisoner who hung on a rugged cross and paved a way for you and me who believe to everlasting life.

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me here at Facebook MESSENGER by audio from 3-5pm Monday to Friday. Scheduled small group chats can be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.