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Words from the Cross: narrative by Evalina Flory

Photo of a section of rough wood and a piece of white paper that has the shape of a cross torn out from the middle of it, wood showing through, the paper fastened by a nail, image by congerdesign, on Pixabay.

cross and nail, image by congerdesign, on Pixabay

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:

the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;

and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

If I’m not mistaken, we left our friend Jesus in the garden, where He was praying for

the removal of the cup. He prayed, “Yet not my will but yours be done.” He was anxious

about what was coming, so anxious “His sweat was like drops of blood…” Still in His anxiety, He kept God at the helm, never straying off the path laid before Him.

Jesus had stated at the Last Supper that one would betray Him. Judas, yes, the disciple,

a man who had eaten with Jesus, slept in the same camp, walked with Him, was taught

by Him, called Him friend, and witnessed countless miracles by His hand. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss on his lips; he identified Jesus to the Roman soldiers there to arrest Him. Even after this, Jesus was still so focused on the right way that he stopped his disciples from fighting the soldiers and performed a miracle for one of them who was leading Him

to His death.

Jesus could have stopped what was coming—how many others had he saved with a word?—but He chose to walk this path, a path paved with torture, humiliation, and death. Not for Himself did He walk this path, but for you and me. Tried by the people He had come to save. He was sentenced for his love and, because they could not, they sent Him to the Roman courts to be handed a death sentence. Even then, Pilate found no fault in Jesus, but the Jewish religious leaders would not stand for that. They yelled, “Crucify Him!” Again, Pilate found no fault and reminded them they could free one on this holy day. They chose Barabbas, a murderer, instead of the innocent Jesus to be freed that day.

The soldiers had their orders: take the condemned, scourge Him, nail Him to the cross,

and let Him die. They took Jesus and proceeded to scourge Him with a Roman whip. Those whips often had multiple tails that were braided with bits of metal and bone. We don’t know how many lashes Jesus endured for us, but with each blow, skin and muscle were shredded. Remember, please, that this was a condemned man; the only requirement was that He live long enough to be placed on the cross.

After this near-death beating, the Roman soldiers placed a purple robe around Jesus' shoulders, shoved a crown of thorns onto His head, and placed a reed in His right hand

as a scepter. They surrounded this near-dead man, spat upon Him, and ridiculed the King of the Jews. After this, they ripped the robe from his bloody back, took the scepter from

His hand, and proceeded to beat Him on the head. Jesus suffered greatly that day; by

this time, he was probably dehydrated from the lack of water and the loss of blood. I can’t imagine the amount of pain our Friend was in.

His ordeal was not over yet; with unbelievable cruelty, they placed Jesus’ cross onto His back, and our Friend took his first shaky step towards Golgotha. There is debate about whether it was just the cross beam or the entire cross. Does it matter? It was heavy, and

I’m sure it was not sanded for the user’s comfort. So, the wood and splinters dug into his bruised and injured body. Is it any wonder He stumbled, and Simon of Cyrene had to carry it the rest of the way? Each step was agony; it jarred His back, His head, and His entire body as life-giving blood leaked from his numerous wounds and stained the ground.

Finally, He arrived at the hill of Golgotha, the place of the skull, a fitting name, considering how much death it had seen. They took His cross and laid it on the ground, placed Jesus on the cross, and proceeded to nail his hands to the cross beam. Can you imagine? I can’t, and honestly, I am not sure I want to; tears are rolling down my cheeks. He did this for us, for you and me. This is not the end of His torture; next, His feet were nailed to the cross. There is another debate on how His feet were nailed, but again, does it matter? They took His feet and a spike or spikes and nailed them down.

Not done with the humiliation, they nailed a sign over His head in three common languages of that region, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, that read “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.” The religious Jews wanted Pilate to change this, but he would not.

Then, in a jarring of agony, His cross was raised and dropped into place. His battered

back slid along the rough timber, and He struggled to suck in His first breath on the cross. We know through His disciples’ words that Jesus spoke out seven times on the cross,

each time costing Him precious breath and causing Him pain. The first time was a prayer of forgiveness for the soldiers who had just hung Him on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” At this time, the soldiers were casting lots for Jesus’ clothing, at the feet of a dying man.

The second time He spoke was a message of salvation: I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” See, Jesus was not the only dying man on Golgotha. There were two others. They were both hanging on crosses close enough to read the sign over Jesus’ head. One chose to ridicule, the other chose to believe. You know, we have the same exact choice today.

The next words were to His mother, Mary, and His disciple John: “Dear woman, here is your son.” “Here is your mother.” This was an honor and an obligation of the oldest son to make sure his mother would be cared for. He was still caring for others despite the agony He was in. Some days it is hard for me to be nice because I had a rough day at work. The love of Jesus is so vast we can’t see all of it.

The fourth time, in my opinion, is the most complicated. These words were spoken because my sins and the sins of all of us were on Him, and God had no choice but to turn His back, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” There was so much hurt and so much pain, and still, we deny Him and turn our backs.

The fifth time was certainly understandable, “I thirst.” Bitter wine was what the soldiers offered, cruelty upon cruelty. 

Just two more times that Jesus spoke from the cross. He was nearly dead at this time, battered beyond measure and struggling for every breath. I don’t know how Mary stood watching her son slowly die; a strong woman. I can’t think of it without a knot in my chest. The following words were a declaration, “It is finished.” This has so many meanings: the taking of our sins was finished, His life was finished, His duty on earth was done, and

the turning away of God. I am no theologian, but the meaning here is very deep, probably deeper than I can swim right now.

Jesus’ last words, the words that would end His suffering, Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.” At the end of this, Jesus left His bruised and battered body.

Don’t leave the story yet; you see, a soldier pierced Jesus’ side, and blood and water flowed. With this, they knew He was dead and did not break his legs, a common practice to hurry up the death of a crucified person. A rich man gave Him his tomb, and Pilate allowed him to be removed and prepared for burial. They wrapped Him in burial clothes and put Him in the tomb. His disciples hid, broken and lost; their leader gone, having been betrayed by one of their own.

Three days passed, and the women gathered the burial spices and mournfully headed to the tomb. The tomb, however, was no longer occupied; Jesus was gone. Jesus’ body was not stolen, moved, hidden, or desecrated by the Romans, and it is gone. Jesus rose from the grave that day, defeating death forevermore. He left behind His burial clothes, His pain, and His humiliation. He came and spoke to His followers before returning to the right Hand of God, but even that is not the end of the story. He still comes and speaks to His followers. Maybe not in a flesh and blood body, but He comes. Stop sometimes and listen. You will hear Him. What will your answer be?



Scripture references: Luke, chapters 22 - 23, and John, chapter 19

Evalina Flory is currently enrolled at Colorado Christian University, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. As a response to the excessive commercialization of Easter, she

has authored this piece that illustrates the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

March 2024 issue

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1 Comment

Mar 29

Wonderful, though painful. How much love! Love the emphasis on the seven "words" from the cross. Happy Easter!

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