By Tara M. Farley
Published and distributed by Shakespir
Copyright 2017 Tara M. Farley
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
Thank you for downloading this ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to your favorite ebook retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.
Beaten, broken and betrayed, the man laid in the cold, damp cell awaiting death. Exhausted, he was unable to sleep because of the pain. His back was sore and bleeding from the whipping he received only hours ago. His muscles were torn and raw. The pain was strong and the wounds already infected.
Finally, the guard, a man so hardened to suffering he didn’t even flinch at the man’s swollen face, entered the room and said it was time for his execution. The innocent man lying on the cold ground had to use the wall and all of the strength left in his body to stand. The guard just watched and did not offer to help him. The appointed site was a long way from the prison and he must walk through the town while everyone watched. The guard thought he was doing the man a favor by forcing him to stand on his own.
Another guard walked in. This guard was just as jaded as the other, but crueler. He held a wreath of dried twigs from a thorn bush. The thorns were three inches long. The man shuddered as he looked at it. They lead him outside where new horrors awaited him.
“You say you’re a king… here, take this crown,” the second guard sneered. He placed it on the man’s head and shoved it down harshly.
The new pain was sharp and blood dripped down his face into his eyes. He was unable to wipe it away because, at the same moment, other guards placed a huge wooden weight upon his ripped, infected back. He had to hold onto the weight, lest he drop it and incur their wrath.
“Time to go,” the first guard said gently. The man took his first step on the path to his death.
As he entered the crowd, he heard a woman’s tear-filled voice, “Oh God, what have we done?” She turned away, unable to watch. There were others in the crowd who grew sick at the sight of his bruised and battered form. Some wept as the woman did. Others did not. Most of the crowd, in fact, was perfectly fine with the monstrous atrocity that was occurring before them. They laughed. They chanted and ridiculed. They openly mocked him and threw rotten food at him as he drug his feet slowly on before them.
There were two others being lead to death that day with him. They were not so badly beaten and the crowd mocked them less. They were able to carry their heavy weights as the guards whipped them if they took a reluctant step.
He was unable to carry it. He stumbled to his knees and collapsed. The weight dropped.
The angry guard raised his whip but, taking one look at him, stayed his hand. Instead, he raised his sight to the crowd. Resting his eyes on a particularly strong-looking man, he commanded in a sharp tone, “You! Carry it!”
Simon, for that was his name, did not hesitate to pick it up and begin his assent. He was one of those who pitied the man and was disgusted with the spectacle before him.
The guard helped the broken man to his feet. He followed Simon weakly. His love for those who had betrayed him was the only thing that kept him moving, for he did love them still, even though he was dying by their hands.
At last, they reached the hill, that fateful place appointed for the dreadful execution, but his torture was not over yet. His would not be a quick and painless end. Agony and horror were waiting him on this hill. Simon laid the weight down mournfully.
The guards held the man down on it, but it was unnecessary. He was too weak to fight back. The wooden weight was not sanded down and splinters tore through the thin flesh of his wounded back.
The extreme agony of the iron piercing his flesh and shattering his bones was so intense, he screamed. Then, when he was able, he asked God to forgive them.
Guilt colored a guard’s face, for he understood this man was innocent.
The guards nailed a sign above the man’s head. The sign was mocking and encouraged the crowd to humiliate him further.
This man was unused to guilt and shame. He was not familiar with the horrors of a rotten soul, but he felt it all as he hung, weighted down by the betrayal of his dearest friends. How he loved them… He loved them enough to go through all of this suffering because if he did, they wouldn’t need to go through it themselves.
The crowd looked on and laughed, teased, and demanded proof that he was who he said he was. Proof he could have easily given, but still, he did not give it. For he knew this was the inevitable end of a life well-spent.
The two men hanging beside him were both thieves, but they had very different attitudes. One joined in with the laughter and taunts of the mob. The other begged for forgiveness. The weak and battered man offered the forgiveness he wanted so dearly.
Not all the crowd was joyful at this humiliating display and among the mourners, he spied his mother weeping. He was the oldest son and supposed to take care of her in her old age. He looked around and saw one of his closest friends, a man he trusted and loved. He asked him, with a weak voice, to take care of her. His friend agreed.
After hours of suffering and shame, the man grew thirsty and asked for water. As a cruel joke, the guards gave him a sponge full of vinegar instead.
The last words this man said were, “it is finished.” Then, he died – beaten, broken, and betrayed… betrayed by you.
You, yes you, dear reader, betrayed this man and sentenced him to death, for this man was Jesus and He rose three days later. Even though his death means nothing without the subsequent resurrection, it was His death and the blood He shed that washes away your sins, your pain, and your fears. He loved you enough to go through this pain.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
An innocent man is betrayed by those he loves and sentenced to die. Walk with him on his final journey.