Finally, with two contemptible nails piercing his tortured body, Jesus’ entire weight is supported only by the thin steel and the bones at the bottom of his hands. Suddenly his muscles cramp and fiery pain shoots from his hands up through his arms, and finally explodes into his brain. Jesus writhes in agony.
His lungs beg for air, for now he cannot get his next breath. He gasps and struggles for some oxygen. He tries to raise himself a little by pushing up with his feet and ou8t with his arms, but finds that his arms are cramped nearly into paralysis. Yet he must get that breath. His will to live overcomes his fearful dilemma, he pushes himself up, and takes a sweet breath of air. His body sags again. But now he cannot exhale. His lungs once again beg for relief.
Blood gushes out in mocking pulsating rhythm from his new wounds, almost as if from the nails themselves. Most of it spills to the ground, but some of it streams treacherously across his arms as if in search of something, but finally stops, and it too drops silently to the ground.
“Father!” He groans and lifts his head toward the heavens. But a sharp pain again shoots through his body. He jerks, and for a moment he stiffens, then slowly gives over to a spasmodic twisting.
“Father!” he pleads, “forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
His head falls again. “Did you hear that? He even goes as far as calling God his father. Who does he think he is anyway ~ his son?”
Sometimes spectators stand eye to eye with him, spit in his face and walk away in triumph. He didn’t even strike them dead. He’s a nobody. And the hours wear on….
….Oh, the pain. The writhing, seething, shooting pain. How can another moment be like the last? It can’t. But it does. On and on, endlessly, each joint screaming, calling out for mercy. Relieve me! Relieve me! But there is no relief.
….On and on, deeper and deeper. Harsh, horrible, hideous, hanging on, never letting go. No relief, no release, no anything but this excruciating pain. Oh the pain….
“Hey, you! Son of God! Work some miracles, why don’t you~ that is, if you can!” ….Oh, my God, my God….
….Go away! Let this body die in peace! But no. It stays ~ the pain, shooting through his defenseless body….
“Is he king of Israel? Let him now come down from the cross,” someone mocks, “and we will believe in him then!”
….Merciless guile. Treacherous enemy! Persist in your evil, reign now. Twisting, turning, torturing. Have mercy! Have mercy! Have mercy….
The sun climbs higher and higher, hotter and hotter. It reaches its height. Oh the sun! That beating, scorching, feverish sun! Beating. Beating. Piercing its rays. Oh my eyes! If only I had a hand to set a little shade in front of my eyes. Turn your head! No, don’t! Remember your wounds. Look at those wounds! No, don’t!
Oh to relieve my hands….and my feet. How dry! Water! I want water! Water….please, some water for a dying man. Water! Please some water for a dying man. Water. My lips, they’re cracked, swelled, drying, oh so dry.
But even God doesn’t seem to hear. Instead, he hides his face from the one he loves ~ the one he gave up to all of this. Suddenly the sun turns black. The people stir. “What is it?”
Screams rise from the crowd. People stand, their eyes looking up into the black noon-time sky in expectant horror.
Three more hours pass. Three long, torturing, black eternal hours. The darkness lingers still.
It’s so cold ~ so cold. Where is your cloak. Where is it, Son of God? It’s so cold and black out there. Everything’s so dark, so cold, so empty. Oh, that writhing pain. Will it never leave? So gnawing, so numbing, so cruel. Isn’t there someone out there who can help you? Have they all left you ~ alone? A forsaken you?
With the sins of the entire world on him, the Savior’s eyes defy every pain-flooded muscle in his broken body. He looks up into the heavens wildly searching. Cracked, bleeding lips part and implore, “MY GOD! MY GOD!“ His voice horrified, his eyes wide, desperate. His thick tongue forms the words. “Why have you forsaken me?”
Still he searching, his bleeding heart beating desperately in search of the blood that is now so thick and scarce. Broken. His very soul bent low, the love it bears crushed and rejected.
His heavy laden heart struggles with his dehydrated, broken body to pump thick, heavy, sluggish blood to a resistant, barely living being.
“I thirst,” he whispers. One last request. Can they refuse? No! Look! Someone has had mercy on you, Son of God! He’s take a sponge dipped in vinegar to a hyssop stick. And now…and now…he is offering it to you, thirsty Savior. A drink.
His tormented swollen heart labors slower and slower. Gradually and increasingly surrounded by a contemptible mocking serum, his heart strains even harder as it struggles to pump just a few more drops of blood. Slower it pumps, and slower.
….Everything is getting so dim, so hazy, so blurry,….Where is everything going? Around and around. Spinning, spinning, back, farther and farther, faster, faster, faster!
He groans, “It…is…finished….” Finished. Your work all completed. And now, oh Lamb of God, die! The sacrifice is completed.
….Everything is getting so far away….so far away….so far away. It’s so lonely….no one here….so hazy….all alone….forsaken….desolate….
….Something drawing….something….something drawing you to it. What is it? Where is it coming from? Look up! But the pain ~ the cramping relentless pain/ So merciless. Torturing to the very end. But look up. Quick! Don’t you see?
He calls out. “Father!” Yes, he’s coming for you! “Father! Into your hands I entrust my spirit.!
….Just a little more now! Just a little closer….
Jesus’ head lifts up in all the defiance of death. His body jerks and writhes, his knotting muscles strain. Just a little closer now…. His heart swells….trembles….and bursts. And with a loud piercing cry that shakes the foundations of the earth, Jesus sends his liberated spirit rushing at last to the outstretched arms of God.
my son! My son!”
~~ Katheryn Maddox Haddad