The Last Breath
Blood still dripped from his previous wounds. I could see the splinters begin to dig into his fresh wounds, leaving the skin irritated. Scar tissue had already begun to form on the stripes given to him. Upon reaching Calvary, he laid down his cross; allowing the splinters in his sores and the wood to reunite. He stretched out his hands in preparation for the nails that were to come. His hands, his feet pierced in a matter of seconds. Lastly, the cross was lifted up. Positioned to be displayed for all the people to see.
Only hours before, this man, Jesus, was brought before me. I had heard about the betrayal that led to his arrest. Judas, his own disciple, with the exchange of 30 silver pieces sealed a deal with a kiss. The moment Christ came down from the mountain, his prayer sanctuary, the chief priests and elders of the people set out to arrest a man guilty of nothing. With swords and clubs in hand, the soldiers advanced only to be stopped by their own surprise; he came willingly.
He was then brought before me for judgement. In his trial, the chief priests and elders wanted to condemn him to death. Except, I could not find any fault in him. Jesus was questioned thoroughly, but no fraud or false testimony could be found. It was clear… he was not guilty.
Nonetheless, the people were determined. Even when given a choice, they would rather set Barabbas, a murderer free, while condemning Jesus to death by crucifix. The Jews who once called him teacher now cheered for his last breath. Out of fear, I let them have their way. A decision I would soon regret as I watched the soldiers take him away to be unmercifully scourged and beaten, while spitting in his face.
Once they finished abusing him physically and verbally, they presented him to the people for more. They made Jesus a crown of thorns and covered him with a purple robe. Mocking him they yelled, “Hail, King of the Jews,” as they struck him. Knowing that he was innocent it was painful to watch and seeing the unbearable sorrow in the eyes of his family was even more so. But, it was too late. The past could not be rewritten for he already hung on that cross; accompanied by a theif and a murder.
Even as he hung there on that cross, the leading priests continue to scoff at Jesus concerning his ability to save others, but not himself. They threw insults and taunts towards him, while he slowly died in the most humiliating and gruesome way. But all he did was plea to his father, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” One of the criminals beside him sought forgiveness and received a promise of salvation. The other joined the people in mockery. In a wave of agony, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Now a darkness covered the land at the sixth hour that lasted till the ninth, moments before his death. And when he thirst, he asked for a drink to fulfill the scriptures written long before I was born. It was after this that Christ hung his head, speaking the words, “it is finished.” I thought that was the end, but in a loud voice Christ calls out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Once those words left his mouth, he breathed his last.
Standing there, watching his lifeless body — one thing was made clear. Truly this was the son of God and it wasn’t the nails that held him to that cross. But the love he has for every man, woman, and child, who was, is, and will be on this earth. Witnessing an unspoken truth revealed; Christ Jesus willingly gave his last breath for me.