When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t expecting this.

My commanding officer decided that I needed to lead this ragtag of soldiers to the execution this morning. He slashed my face with a bucket of water, then started screaming to get myself together. Something about today going to be a crazy day, and he wanted all his men on the streets. So much for my day off this month. I thought he was just being a miserable bag, especially since his wife left. I didn’t realize what kind of day it was actually going to be.

We guided a handful of criminals through the mob. They were screaming and throwing things at them. Occasionally I had to rough up someone in the crowd just so they knew not to hit me, or my men. I didn’t care who these men, these criminals were. They were scum. Rome had said so. The people sure seemed to think so. That was enough for me. I didn’t like getting involved in local politics. But the one, the guy that was hanging by a thread, he didn’t fit. He looked like he had the been up for days, and beaten within an inch of his life. At first I thought he was the vilest of the three, but he sure didn’t act like it.

The other two were screaming, either claiming innocence or cursing the gods and the people. It was normal behavior. A couple punches to the face got them to shut up for a while. But the one, he didn’t say a thing. Not a noise.

At one point he fell down. I gabbed him in the side with my spear to get up. He looked at me, with such a look. I didn’t know what to do. I took a step back. I was about to apologize to him, when one of my men grabbed him and dragged him up the street.

What kind of man was this, that at a glance I would feel guilt? A level of respect was due him?

My company made our way out of the city. The time for execution was at hand. We lined the three men up. Then we crucified them.

I looked at the one, the man with those eyes. It was here he did speak, more like cries. What kind of man was he? No innocence claimed. No declaration that he was wrongly convicted. He simply called to his mother, his friend, and his god.

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – Luke 23.44-47

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t expecting this.

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