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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Good Friday — From Our Lord’s Perspective

Excerpt from In The Flesh – My Story: The first-person novel of Jesus

I wished I had fainted or blacked out, but anxiety-induced adrenaline kept me alert as they dragged me to the waiting cross. They flopped me upon the main log with all the care and attention of tossing a sack of feed into a trough. I did not resist their arms sliding me into position, the wood splintering my wounds. Surrounded by my executioners, I hardly heard the scattered voices of other soldiers keeping bystanders back.

A grieving woman crying my name drifted through the commotion. My mother? Mary Magdala?

The swarming, boisterous soldiers and the lingering wails from the already crucified victims drowned everything else. I again tensed in terror at the sudden vibration of hammer against nail as they secured a wooden pedestal to the beam for my feet. The Romans treated crucifixion as any engineering job — performed precisely with a process. Based on my height, they had carefully measured where to place my feet so that even when pierced with a nail, I’d be able to painfully support my weight, ensuring a slow death.

They then stretched my arms wide, dislocating my left shoulder, and quickly determined where my hands should go. Marked with quick notches to the wood, they bore starter holes, readying the timber to easily but tightly receive the nails that would drive through my wrists.

With preparations fully complete, they could now crucify me. A soldier pulled my hand to the waiting hole and clutched it firmly in place by my wrist. Two others held me down by my opposite arm. Another retrieved a mallet and a long iron spike. My chest heaved in dreadful anticipation of his obvious task. And although I held perfectly still, it was neither exhaustion nor the weight of the soldiers that kept me in place.

Love.

Love steadied me. My greatest expression of love for the world. Why would I resist? This was not surrender. God’s commitment to humanity culminated now in this ultimate act of self-giving.

I felt the stinging stab of the nail gouging my sacred flesh as the soldier pressed it into the very base of my palm, centered where hand met wrist. His mallet raised. It seemed to hang in the air forever before rushing downward and connecting with the large nail head. This single hammer smash propelled the spike through my hand—driving through nerves, cartilage, carpal bones and into the wood of the crossbeam. The iron sliced my wrist’s median nerve, roaring pain up my entire arm, exploding into my brain. I choked on the air that gasped and groaned from my lips. Three more pounds of the mallet shot waves of torment through my whole body.

They wasted no time wrenching my other hand over the wood, tugging my already pinioned wrist against the anchored spike. I clenched my jaw. Blood seethed through my teeth with every breath.

Again the hammer came down, and another nail fired into the bed of my palm and out the back of my wrist. Intolerable pain leapt through my arm, arching my back and thrusting the thorns further into my head. I hardly felt them over the screaming, searing nerves of my extremities.

In this insufferable state of mind-drilling torture, I could have easily howled for their immediate destruction. As it were, I did call loudly for my Father’s powerful actions upon them. I made an urgent demand regarding those who nailed me to this beam, as well as on those who condemned me to this fate and handed me over to such extreme evil.

“Father, forgive them,” I cried as they positioned my feet, one over the other against the pedestal. “They know not what they do!” (Luke 23:34 ESV)

The cold sound of mallet against nail carried the crunch of iron into bone and the agonizing pain of tender feet impaled onto wood.
 

Dear Jesus, when I contemplate the pain you must have endured as you were nailed to your sacred cross, I struggle to equate your unimaginable suffering with the words “Good Friday.” But then I remember why you submitted yourself to such agony … for me. You took my sins upon your shoulders, and by your wounds, I am healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)
 

This devotion is an excerpt from In The Flesh – My Story: The first-person novel of Jesus by Michael Gabriele. Copyright © 2017. Used with permission.

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