“Blessed are they that have not
seen, and yet have believed”
It was a Friday. I was away from home since Sunday, working in my farm. I owned about fifteen acres of land in the countryside—beautiful, rich land. If you work hard, you could get enough grains for you and your family, and a good portion to sell in the local market, as well.
Back in those days there were no cellular phones, no Internet, no palm pilots, no pagers, no public phones, no newspapers, no airplanes, no cars, no metro transport services. All you could is walk, or run if you can. Some people owned donkeys. I had one too, but he was too old to carry me. My home was miles away, so I wrapped up and headed back. If I rush, I might be able to get back home by evening.
I was approaching the city, and as I was getting closer, I started hearing sounds coming from the distance. It sounded like a distant rumbling, but I could not make out the sounds. As I started getting within earshot, I realized that it was uproar from a multitude of people. I started wondering what the commotion could be all about. I had been through these roads several times before, and had never encountered anything like it. My curiosity peaked, and I began walking faster. As I was coming down the hill, I saw a great crowd of people walking towards the countryside. From this distance I could barely see the heads of the people, but I could see something that looked like a piece of wood moving along with the crowd. By now I started running towards the crowd, and as I approached the scene, I saw a man in front of the crowd carrying a huge cross. Soldiers surrounded him and the crowd was following them. I have seen criminals being taken away before, but this time the crowd was incredibly larger and very animated.
Suddenly the man carrying the cross fell on his knees and the procession stopped. The soldiers immediately started beating him. But the man was unable to get up. I could not see his face. His head was hung down to the ground. The crowd was getting agitated. Women in the crowd were crying.
The man on the ground slowly raised his head and looked at the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem…weep not for me but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore and the breasts which never nursed…Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us and the hills cover us, for if they do, these things in a green tree. What shall be done in the dry?”
I began to wonder who this man was, and began to think that he might be the person that was traveling all over Jerusalem preaching about the kingdom of God, doing miracles, and healing people. But why is he being taken in such a manner?
Then I noticed two soldiers discussing something with each other. One was pointing in my direction. I looked around and did not see anyone behind me. Then one of the soldiers approached me, grabbed my hand, and ordered me towards the man on the ground. I was reluctant but was not given an opportunity to protest. I was perplexed and wondered what they wanted with me.
Before I could say anything, two soldiers lifted the cross and laid it on my shoulders. I was so angry but was helpless to do anything. The man on the floor rose up slowly and painfully. As he was getting up he looked into my face. The wounded look on his face made me freeze. He was not saying a word but I got the feeling that he wanted to say something to me. His face was covered with bruises and blood. There was a crown of thorns that was pierced deep into his head. Blood was oozing from the wounds. His face was pale and crumpled with pain. His clothes were also covered in blood. I was shocked at his condition. I began to think that this man was tortured in quite a barbaric manner to result in the condition that he was in. I wanted to say something but I was speechless. My tongue felt dry and foreign in my mouth.
The weight of the cross was incredible on my shoulders and I could barely stand upright. The solders shoved the man in front of me and ordered him to start moving. The crowd started to move as well, with me forced to carry the cross behind the man.
I began to walk behind the man. All the while, the thought that raced through my head was, “Why did the soldiers call me to do this? With all the people following them, they could not pick anyone of them? The soldiers were well built and two of them could easily carry the cross. Why me? Why?” The rest of journey was slow and torturous. Finally the procession stopped when we reached the place called “place of skull”. The man in front of me just stood there motionless. I could hear the sound of each painful breath he was taking. The man stood there waiting for whatever was to come next, like a lamb led to slaughter. The sun was getting hotter. I was so thirsty. The soldiers ordered me to put the cross on the ground. I felt so relaxed when the cross came off my shoulders.
The soldiers then grabbed the man and threw him and spread him on top of the cross, and tied his hands and feet to it. They then started putting huge nails through his palms and feet and hammered them to the cross. I could not watch them doing this. “So many people against one helpless man”. Throughout all this, the man did not protest or struggle, but just suffered through this unbelievable torture without saying a word. The cross was then raised upright.
They took the rope off his hands and feet. The man’s body started bending down. Now he was hanging on three nails. I thought how incredible the pain must have been for him as he hung on the cross, on nails that were pierced into his hands and feet right through the bone and flesh. Then the man on the cross cried out and said, “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do.” They wrote a title and put it on the cross that said “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. I began to think why in the world they decided to kill a King.
Then the soldiers parted his garments and divided it into four parts, with every soldier getting a part. I felt like I was watching scavengers. They took his coat and cast lot among themselves.
There were three women standing a distance away from the cross crying. The man on the cross looked at one woman and pointing to another man said, “Woman, behold thy son.” And to the man standing nearby he said, “Behold thy mother.”
There were two other criminals also crucified on either side of him. The people that passed by reviled him and mocked him saying, “Thou that destroys the temple and rebuilds it in three days, save thyself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” The soldiers, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders standing nearby also mocked him in the same manner. The said, “Ha..ha..he saved others but he could not save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross and we will believe him.” They continued, “He trusted in God and he said he is the Son of God, so let God deliver him now.” One of the thieves who was crucified with him started cursing and accusing the man.
Upon hearing this, the other thief rebuked him and said, “Do you not fear God seeing you are condemned in the same manner? We received the due rewards for our bad deeds, but this man has not done anything to warrant this punishment.” He then turned to the man on the cross and said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The man on the cross turned toward him and said, “Verily, I say unto you—today you will be with me in paradise.”
It was about the sixth hour when suddenly the sun disappeared, and darkness fell over. I could only hear the voices of people around me but could see nothing. Then the man on the cross cried with a loud voice saying, “Eli Eli lamma sabbachthani…”. The people standing nearby heard this and said, “He is calling for Elijah. Let’s see if Elijah will come and save him now”. The man on the cross then started breathing hard. I could count all his ribs. He cried out, “I am thirsty”. One of the soldiers took a sponge soaked in some liquid, put it on a reed, and offered it to him to drink. He refused to drink it and said, “It is finished” and cried out with a loud voice, “Father, Father unto thy hands I commend my spirit”. Having said this he bowed his head down.
At this time the earth started shaking. I saw huge rocks nearby split into pieces. I thought the whole world was being destroyed. I felt so dizzy as if the whole earth was spinning before my eyes. The wind was blowing very hard. The crosses were shaking back and forth. I thought I was going to be blown away by the wind. I knelt down and grabbed on to some bushes. The crowd started running away in all different directions. The air was thick with dust. I could not open my eyes. Slowly everything came back to normal and there was complete silence.
There was no one standing nearby except the three women and the chief of the soldiers. After seeing this, the chief exclaimed, “Surely, this was the Son of God.” The women were still weeping. I looked at the cross. The man was motionless. I moved more closer to him. He was dead.
I walked over to the women and asked them who the man was. They said he was the Messiah. I asked them…but…why did they crucify him? They did not say a word, but just wept.
I turned around and started walking down the hill, my mind puzzled. I thought, “Am I dreaming?” I pinched myself. Oh…No, I am not dreaming. Everything was real. As I was walking down the hill, I was trying to put the puzzle together. I tried to recollect everything that happened in the past three to four hours, from the time I encountered the crowd, until the man took his last breath. Why did they kill him? I heard that he was a prophet. Was he really the long awaited Messiah? But if he was the Messiah, why did he die?
Why did I have to a part of this? I am a stranger to this place. I rushed back to the safety of my home. My wife and two sons (Alexander and Rufus) were worried because I was late. Seeing my sad face they asked me what happened. I told them in detail everything I had experienced that day. I could not sleep that night.
The next morning I was reluctant to go out. I began to think, “Was he really the Son of God? Was he the Savior of the world? Then why was he not able to save himself?” Then the miracles that happened at the crucifixion site began to pop up in my mind. There must be something to all this beyond my imaginations. I could not sleep the following night as well.
The next day was Sunday. I wanted to go back to the town to learn more about the man. My wife and two sons joined me. We searched and found the house of the three women who were at the place where the crucifixion happened.
There were more people inside the house. We entered the house with due respect as if entering a home that’s in mourning. But we noticed something different here. They all seemed ecstatic and overjoyed. One woman came running to me and exclaimed, “He is risen…He is risen…He is risen from the dead…Our Savior is risen from the dead. Go and look at the tomb…It is empty!”
We ran…and sure enough, found the stone was removed from the face of the tomb. We went inside…it was empty. We came out and inquired of the soldiers as to what happened. They said the tomb was properly sealed. They were trembling with fear. They said they saw angels coming down from Heaven. They were all frightened and fell down like dead men. When they woke up they couldn’t see anyone around…the stone at the tomb door was moved…they looked inside, but it was empty.
Immediately I realized that he was truly the Son of God. He is risen from the dead. At that moment, I felt a huge burden coming off my head. I started thinking, “How did a Gentile like me get the privilege to carry the cross of the Savior of the world? He is my Messiah too”.
At that very moment, my family and me devoted our lives to Him. We helped in the ministries of His servant Paul, who was a chosen minister for the Gentiles. Today I am so delighted to share this testimony with you. I hope this will bring new meaning to your lives.
In I Timothy 6:16 we see a true picture of God. There we read…”God who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see…” What was the use of a God like this? We were not at all worthy to call upon Him. We were once alienated, but are now reconciled by the finished work of His Son. Yes. His sacrifice was the perfect one. He has saved us once and for all. This is truly because of God’s grace.
The first man (Adam) was the representation of sin and through him all human beings became subject to mortality. But through the second Adam (who is Jesus Christ) we have been chosen for immortality.
God was so gracious to send His Son to be born as a child, who walked among us, and died for our sins. His first coming was for service. He has completed His service and now is seated at the right hand of God Almighty interceding for us.
He is coming again. Not to serve, but to receive service. He will come as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. His promises are everlasting. Do you believe in this Savior?
I believed because I have seen and witnessed everything. But you are so blessed. You will believe without seeing anything. As we read in the Bible, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”.