When Time Stood Still: Simon’s Story April 10, 2009Posted by Phil Groom in Lent & Easter, Short Story.
It was a day I’ll never forget.
I was coming in from the country for the festival with my two lads, Rufus and Alexandra. As we approached the city I could see that there was some sort of commotion around the gates, but there always is around Jerusalem – nothing new about that.
As we got closer I saw what it was – the Romans had got someone again, another rebel I guessed, and they were dragging him out to be crucified. Only the Romans could have dreamt up such a vile way to kill someone. I told the boys to hang back and moved in a bit closer – then I saw who it was!
They’d got Jesus – Jesus, the miracle worker, the teacher who’d been through our village just last week, who’d healed the boys’ mother from a fever. That’s why she wasn’t with us – she was fine, but I’d told her to stay home anyway. She didn’t like it but eventually she agreed, and I’m well relieved about that now.
I couldn’t believe it: Jesus! I could hardly recognise him – they’d shoved a twisted crown made of thorns on his head and there was blood running down his face, and where there wasn’t blood his face was bruised. Somehow – and I know this sounds crazy – but I remember being relieved that they hadn’t broken his nose. But they were going to do worse than that.
I looked back to see that the boys were okay then shoved my way to the front. This couldn’t be happening. Jesus! What had he done? He was struggling under the weight of the cross – the Romans made their victims carry their own crosses – then he lost his footing and collapsed. It was some sort of miracle, I guess, that the weight of the cross didn’t kill him then. The soldiers started to kick him.
I shouted – and then suddenly I was too close: one of the soldiers grabbed me and laughed viciously. “OK, you carry it then!” he shouted. I looked at Jesus – and suddenly the whole world froze. Time stood still. I hated the Romans: we all hated them. They were filth, evil, no better than swine. But Jesus, he looked at me – and everything was upsidedown. He felt sorry for me. He pitied the Romans. But more than that, he loved us. All of us.
He loved us. I don’t think I can say that loud enough so I’m going to shout: he loved us!
I was scared for the boys, of course I was – then I saw Jesus look across to them and I knew they were going to be okay. It made no sense – here was a man about to be killed telling me everything was going to be okay.
Then the soldier shoved me forward and everything started moving again. I put my shoulder under the cross and helped Jesus to his feet. He didn’t smile. No one would under those under those circumstances. But for just a moment, in the midst of all that cruelty and darkness, a light seemed to shine. And no darkness was ever going to put it out.
Previously published at stmatthews-yiewsley.org.uk/whentimestoodstill.htm