Could Jesus hear the clang of the hammer and nail above the jeers and taunts of the hateful crowd? As one soldier hammered, another prepared the feet of Jesus for a similar fate...while yet another laughed, only stopping to spit on the man who healed the bodies of so many. The soldier's saliva crawls down the side of Christ only to be quickly swallowed-up by pools of blood collecting beneath the crossbar Jesus is now stretched-out upon. Listen. Listen carefully now. The sounds are still haunting. Too exhausted to scream, the savior groans, weakly. When he can muster enough courage he breathes deeply...each breath brings excruciating pain. Listen to the steady rhythm of blood dripping to the ground. This blood prepares the landscape for violent tremors soon to come. The clang of the iron nail driven into his other wrist cues the sun that it's almost time to disappear...hide from view and be replaced with the eery substitute of darkness.
Can you hear the criminals scream on each side of him? Both cry out in pain being nailed to a beam. Three men are crucified on the mountain, only one will never see heaven. Do you hear the cry of Jesus' mother, as she stares at a son so disfigured he no longer resembles a man.
They lift him now. A new toture begins as his cross slowly rises and slams into an erect position. His crown of thorns digs deeper into his flesh and skull. With the exception of a few taunts, it grows quiet now. Jesus open an eye just wide enough to see soldiers gamble for his garments. He recalls the many who would reach through crowds simply to grab his clothes and ask for a miracle. Does he regret the hours spent on bended knee washing the feet of his friends just days before? He makes the answer clear as he gathers the strength to speak, "Forgive them...they know not what they do."
The smell of wine eminates from a jug beneath the cross, but Christ refuses it. Instead of clinging to even an ounce of comfort, he turns to the man hanging next to him and extends the comfort only the son of God can provide: "Today you will be with me in paradise."
We hear him speak one last time to his father, and he takes a final breath. The sound of thunder moves in, while the sun disappears. Down the mountain and across the road, the Roman soldier collecting the instruments of torture used on Jesus hours before is alarmed by the sudden darkness over the mountain above. Then he hears it as the thunder briefly ceases...the curtain of the temple torn in two from top to bottom. Then the very earth beneath him splits open.
The smell of death rests on the mountain. The body on the cross is still. There is no movement now. Just a continual streaming of blood. Drip by drip the blood of Christ falls and splatters on the ground. Each drop carrying the assurance that he loves us...beyond measure.