The first words spoken from the cross

Published 12:13 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

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On a donkey, Christ rode into the Holy City,
“Hosannas, Hosannas,” people began to sing.
Clothes and palm branches lined the pathway,
People were welcoming Jesus as their King.
But in a very short time, things would change,
The Scribes and Pharisees were not thrilled.
The cleansing of the temple and Jesus’ teachings,
Led the chief priest to say: “He must be killed.”
They thought of ways they might get rid of Jesus,
But Jesus presented them with a simple plan.
For a small amount, just thirty pieces of silver,
Judas Iscariot would betray the Son of Man.
Jesus and His disciples later went to a room.
Together, the Passover Feast, they would share.
Christ told them of his impending passion,
Of all the pain and suffering He must bear.
He passed the cup representing His shed blood,
To foretell his broken body, bread, they would eat.
Then with love, He became to them as a servant,
From a basin of water, He began to wash their feet.
After eating, some went with Him to a garden,
He asked them to pray with Him; they were weak.
After praying, with sweat like great drops of blood,
Jesus returned to find the disciples fast asleep.
The third time, He awoke them from their slumber,
A crowd began gathering, something was amiss.
Then Judas Iscariot walked up to our Savior,
He then betrayed the Son of God with a kiss.
They bound Jesus, led Him to the High Priest.
Many beat Him and mocked Him on the way.
They continued to spit on Christ, and insult Him,
All that night; even into morning of the next day.
They, then, decided to send Him to Pilate,
They hoped the governor would understand.
But after questioning Jesus, Pilate answered,
“I find nothing, which with, to charge this Man.”
Pilate, then, had Jesus scourged and beaten,
Hoping that this would appease the crowd.
He would release Jesus; for he knew of a custom,
But, “Give Us Barabbas,” they shouted very loud.
Pilate gave in and released the prisoner, Barabbas,
He washed his hands; knowing that Jesus would die.
Pilate knew there was nothing more he could do.
Crucify Him, crucify Him, was the mob’s constant cry.
Wearing a crown of thorns, carrying His heavy cross,
Many people now followed Jesus; some even cried.
Roman soldiers, now leading Jesus out of the city,
To a hill called Golgotha, there He would be crucified.
In painful agony, He struggled with His heavy load,
Sometimes He stumbled, needing help along the way.
They now arrived at “The plant of the Skull,”
That’s what they called Golgotha; in that day.
His hands and feet were then nailed to the cross,
Crucified between two criminals, His future now bleak.
They left Jesus hanging high upon that cross,
Barely alive, He then opened His mouth, to speak.
Instead of reflecting on suffering, and great pain,
Or the humiliation, that He had been through,
It must have really shocked everyone when He said,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
As human beings, we could never hope, to comprehend,
Or think, we should completely be able, to understand,
The love Christ showed us in those few, simple words,
Forgiving all, who would dare, to kill the Son of Man.
But earlier, someone had told that this would happen,
The prophet, Isaiah, spoke of this, many, many years ago.
In his great writing about the suffering of a Servant,
He told of the great Love that Christ would show.
He told that He would die for the sins of many,
But, also, He taught us a most important lesson.
For the transgressors, who would beat and kill Him,
Jesus would pray for them, and make intercession.
It’s been over two thousand years since this happened,
But, you see, He’s still interceding; yes, for me and you,
He’s still saying those first words, spoken from the cross,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
(Charles Phipps is an Elizabethton resident and a former teacher at Happy Valley High School.)

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