By Sarah Nixon
A simple monologue from an anonymous person in the crowd the day Jesus was crucified. What would a normal Jew do when they heard this man being called their King?
A person in the crowd (either a man or woman, any age)
There he stood. The man that claimed to be a king. The chief priests cared more about his other claim-that he was the Son of God. The Messiah! The chief priests were terrified. Not because of empty claims - no. Because of the masses of people that followed this man. His loyal supporters followed him everywhere. (pause) Everywhere but here. Here he stood alone, except for Pilate at his side.
I heard murmurs from the crowd. "They're going to ask Pilate to release a prisoner". But surely they weren't going to ask for - and then I heard Pilate yell over the crowd. "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
Pilate's words angered the chief priests, and the rest of the crowd. How dare he call this man a king? He certainly wasn't king of the Jews. Suddenly I heard whispers of a name I didn't want to hear. (whispering) "Barabbas". Like a snake the word weaved its way around the crowd until everyone was saying, and then yelling it.
Not Barabbas. Not him. He was violent beyond imagining, a zealot who went on killing rampages of Romans. It just gave the soldiers more excuses to mistreat us. They would kill innocent Israelite men as revenge. Barabbas was the worst zealot of them all. Before I could gather my thoughts I heard Pilate speak again.
"What shall I do then with the one you call king of the Jews?"
That only made the crowd angrier. We were standing there, tense but not disturbed, when the words were yelled (suddenly yelling, still fairly quietly).
Then another person shouted (yells "Crucify him" again, louder), and then another. Suddenly the crowd became violent. People were yelling with such anger I had never seen! It almost didn't seem human. It was if the crowd was compelled by something beyond them.
I was shoved into following the crowd as the soldiers led the prisoner to be flogged. I didn't want to watch. It was disgusting. Yet I couldn't look away. It was as if I had to watch. (Pause)
Every lash seemed like an eternity. Once it was all over you couldn't see a man. He was covered with blood - skin ripped off and barely hanging in shreds. But as he stood up and looked at the crowd, I could have sworn his eyes looked at me. But not into my eyes - into my heart. (pause thoughtfully) I'll never get that image out of my head.
The soldiers took the condemned man away into the palace and they didn't come out until much later. It was obvious they'd tortured him more. Then came the slow walk to Golgotha. I sometimes lost sight of the man, but I tried to stay as close as possible. There was something about that night…
After awhile, he couldn't carry his cross anymore, so they forced another man to carry it. The man from the crowd soon was covered in the blood of the condemned man. I remember wondering how he would ever get clean.
Finally they reached Golgotha. I couldn't tear my eyes away as they drove spikes into his hands and feet, then put him up in front of everyone. He was shamed with nakedness, and yet it was I who felt such deep shame. This man wasn't like the criminals that hung on either side of him; yet it was him that everyone mocked. The people cursed and yelled and screamed that he was a liar. They derided him with such anger, such venom.
The thing I noticed most was the sign Pilate ordered hung above the man. It was the charge against him. "King of the Jews" it read. There it was again. Why did people insist on calling him that? What king would be crucified?
The hours stretched by, but all I could see was the struggle this man was going through. I don't remember all he said up there - all I remember is that he suffered.
I don't remember what time it was - it had been dark for a few hours, when the prisoner let out a cry. It wasn't a sound I've ever heard before. I felt it. He cried from deep inside, and then he died.
As I looked at the dead body of this man, my eye caught the sign still hanging above. And it hit me. This man wasn't just the king of the Jews. He was the King of Kings.
And He died for me.
Copyright 2005 Sarah Nixon, all rights reserved.
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