In the Shadow of the Cross 2016-27
The following post is about the time of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. It is after Jesus was tried by Pontius Pilate, scourged, and taken to Golgotha, the “Place of the Skull, and put on the cross. It is from the mindset of the man Barabbas who was set free from being crucified, when his name was offered in place of Jesus.
From the mind of Barabbas:
I was freed! I fully expected to be hanging on the cross along with these other men that I am looking at. I was freed and did not expect this to happen! I stand now in the shadow of the cross and know where I ought to be.
It is a fact that I should be up there and fully expected it; up until yesterday. When I heard that this man Jesus was to take my place and I was going to be set free, I could not believe it. I was let go with the warning that I would be soon hanging from a tree if I did not get out of Jerusalem right away.
I, being myself, decided that this would not be the case. But, I just had to know more about the man that took my place. I hacked my beard off, which changed my appearance greatly. I also stole some clothes from a yard on the outskirts of the city and I look much different. Just maybe, the Roman guards would not recognize me as I now appear..
The Passover was still going on and I blended in with the multitude of people reveling in the city. There were gatherings of people everywhere and I took advantage of them by selecting choice food to eat when they were not looking. I am a thief and know how to do these things well.
I am also a rebel and do not like the occupation of the Romans and their rules of governing. I cannot remember when I was not causing trouble with them and those that put up with their dictates of life. I hate them. I and others like me, are called zealots, and our goal is to eradicate them from our life in any way we can do so.
I was caught by a group of Roman Centurions after one of our group told them of our plans and we fell into a pitched battle with 3 or 4 of them. I killed the man responsible for telling them, and that is why I was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The fact that I was a rebel was enough for a death sentence anyhow.
So, I am now watching this man Jesus slowly die on the cross meant for me. As far as I could find out, He did nothing wrong that deserved his being put to death by crucifixion. He claims to be the Son of God and the religious leaders do not like his saying this, as it is blasphemy in their eyes.
I personally am not that religious and do not follow the Hebrew ways very much. I tell others I am a Jew, but in name only. Many of my group of zealots fill the same way, but we do ALL hate the Romans. In fact, as proclaimed zealots, we feel the Hebrew way is the ONLY way, and that makes us somewhat seem like hypocrites, but that is too bad.
One of the other Jews hanging with this man Jesus does not look good at all and I doubt if he will last very long. The other man yelled out to the man Jesus, ”Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”. But the other dying criminal rebuked him, saying to him, “Don’t you fear God, he said, 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.” He continued, saying “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Then I heard Jesus tell this thief, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
I heard all this and trembled. Who, really; is this man who took my place and is dying on this cross? Who is he, to promise this other thief on the cross that he will be with Him in paradise? This man Jesus has a sign above him on the cross that states, “Here is the King of the Jews”. If this is so, why then, did the High Priests plot to kill him? Why did they feel they had to put this man to death in such a horrible way?
There was talk in the dungeon, that a man named Jesus was upsetting tables in the courtyard where the money changers plied their trade at the Temple. They, the money changers, are the thieves if you ask me. Yes, word filtered down to us, but we made no stock to these sayings. We were waiting for our deaths by the hands of the Centurions, and it mattered not to us, who or what this man Jesus claimed or did.
Now I wonder! If this man Jesus did what he did and the High Priests were so concerned, did the claims have any validity? I then ponder why am I alive? I am a nobody! I have no family, few good friends, and live off the land and steal from anyone I can. I do not have an allegiance to anyone, let alone the Romans or even to those of the Temple where the High Priests reign. Yet, I am alive.
I look up at the face of this man Jesus and can see the pain of the crucifixion in his eyes. He is suffering. He thirsts. This man is dying for me. I feel for him, but dare not say anything. I am a coward in my eyes and feel so very sad. I did not get what I deserved and this man Jesus did NOTHING wrong and is dying for me. This man, Jesus, is dying for my sins. I have sinned, I still sin and he is dying for me; for me!!! What can I do for Him? What will I become? Can I eventually die and join Him in paradise for eternal life? How do I live my life now?
Now that I wrote the above I wonder, how many of us would leave “the shadow of the cross” and enter into a way of “carrying the cross” for Jesus Christ our savior. Easy to think about and yet, sometimes hard to do. We are busy with our lives and that is a fact.
We have priorities of living here on Earth, and to include “living for Jesus Christ”, is on the back burner of life of appreciating God in the essence of Jesus. This is just a fact, no more and I point NO fingers at anyone, just myself. You, and only you, can answer this question of how much you want to include our Savior into your life.