Includes and excerpt from my second book in my upcoming trilogy, Martyrdom Series; Soul Collector
Although the times in the Bible seem so far away, and oftentimes, so unreal and unimaginable, they were just as real as life is today. There were many similarities to our modern-day life; they played games, women did their makeup and were interested in fashion, they enjoyed music & dancing, they had vehicles (chariots) and roads, and they had commerce (Babylon, Egypt, etc.), girls flirted with boys they had crushes on, and boys flirted with girls, women gave birth to babies, and so forth. People are people and have been since God created us. There are also many things that are so undeniably different, it’s unfathomable; such as the respect children had for their parents, women’s roles in society, the importance of ones heritage and faith, respect for the elderly, etc. You can probably think of quite a few differences yourself.
Were you aware that many of the things we accept as normal, everyday life (well, I don’t include myself in this ‘we’ statement here), were considered during Bible times as pagan practices? The open sex, lust, and homosexuality we see displayed on television, the internet, on magazine stands at the supermarket, and in people’s dress and behaviors were the very same things the pagans practiced in the Bible—the Greeks, the Baal worshipers, and many more. They had orgies, open homosexual and heterosexual sex. The worshipers of Baal built shrines and sacrificed their children. Do we not sacrifice our children, legally, in America today? Is there not immoral and open sex? When was the last time you went to the store to buy food and weren’t confronted with something sexual in nature, such as magazines at checkout? Or what about many of the television shows and movies that we watch today; we pass it off as harmless. Let me ask you this, would Jesus watch that television program? Would Jesus go to that website with inappropriate imagery? Would Jesus have approved had He walked past the town square and saw a line up of women with their legs in stir-ups having their unborn child murdered? Would He have walked away with a smile and said, “Oh, it’s no big deal! It’s their bodies to do with as they please; the baby isn’t their body, it’s separate..but oh well; I’ll just walk away and pretend I didn’t see it!”
I’m challenging you to take a look at your life, and take a look at the things you are involved in and doing. Number one, do you have pagan shrines? Are you watching things on television that Jesus would not watch, passing it off as okay because everyone else does it, and it’s not real? Do you listen to music that you wouldn’t listen to in the presence of God? Are you partaking in worldly activities that are not pleasing to the Father? Think about it, and think about it long and hard. You may not have thought about this in detail before, but I’m sure you will probably come up with some things you’re positive about, and some things that are questionable.
Secondly, are you carrying your cross? Or better, what does carrying your cross mean to you? I can only imagine when Jesus was carrying His cross it was painful and beyond tiresome. He’d been beaten senseless when a crown made of prickly sharp thorns was forcibly shoved upon His head. All the while, He was being shoved, knocked down, spit upon, kicked, punched, hit with rocks, food, sticks, beaten, mocked, scorned…you name it, and yet Jesus carried that cross with determination…He fell many times, but He stood right back up, heading for His destination—physical death. I want you to really imagine what Jesus, as a man, went through; and we think it’s hard to give up things that by comparison seem insignificant? But there was a man, and that man stepped out and helped Jesus carry His cross. My friends, we don’t have to do it alone! Jesus is there to help us carry the burdens and the agony we carry on our shoulders in this life.
Let me give you some insight by placing a segment from my second book in the Martyrdom Series, “Soul Collector”, where the main characters are taken back in a dream/vision together to experience bits and pieces of Bible times. This particular time, they are seeing Jesus on His way to Calvary.
All This I Did For You ©2012 Lyn Leahz
Suddenly, they were somewhere else, and from the looks of things, they had to be right outside of Jerusalem in Golgotha witnessing Jesus carrying His cross, wearily hiking His way up Calvary Mountain.
Jesus was limping along slowly, dropping to His knees from time to time with no relief, for He was weak and covered in His own blood, His back flayed open from the harsh scourging He’d just received. Whenever He fell, the soldiers would mercilessly whip Him on His raw, open wounds which were already throbbing, and some ruthlessly kicked Him when the opportunity presented itself—in His head, His side, and even in His face! As if it weren’t enough, people spat and threw rotten food and rocks at Jesus as He made His deathly, wretched path to where He’d be tormented further, and take His final breath.
He could barely walk at this point, and had been beaten with such severity that He could no longer carry the cross by Himself. Jesus uncontrollably and helplessly fell to His feet once again, His face scraping the dusty earth as gravel and dirt filled His parched mouth. Choking, gasping, and vomiting, He relentlessly endeavored to spit it out, but failed at every attempt—His mouth too dry from dehydration. He’d gone into Hypovolemic shock from the loss of blood, and was visibly shaky, limp, and well past lethargy. He made anyone at their worst point with sickness and disease appear healthy by comparison.
Krista and Khalid stood on the side of the road as Jesus laid there without movement; He was already half dead. He managed to barely raise His head up; with blackened, swollen eyes that were hardly opened, He looked directly into Khalid’s face, blood trickling from His nose and mouth as He fought hard to breathe.
Krista and Khalid were both in tears; movies were one thing, but physically standing there witnessing this was altogether different. A great number of people were mourning and lamenting, while other’s scoffed and mocked, referring to Him as a blasphemer and a fraud as they shouted with vengeance and hatred.
Khalid could take it no longer; with much sympathy, he fearlessly held out His hand to his Savior, helping Him to His feet as he’d just witnessed Him doing for the leper. Jesus flaccidly rested His hand on Khalid’s shoulder when Khalid felt a sensation like none other surge throughout his body.
With much effort, Jesus opened His mouth to speak, His voice shaky, rough, and weak, ‘This I do for My people because I love them. I think of all of My children by name and face as I willingly suffer at the hand of the enemy; even those who despise Me and shall never know who I AM!’”
A soldier unexpectedly took hold of Khalid with might, rudely shoving him into the path where Jesus walked. Khalid was thrown off-balance, landing with force upon his hands and knees, the gravel and sand painfully puncturing his skin from the impact. He was in the process of trying to stand back up when the soldier harshly shouted, “You there, help this wicked demon possessed man carry His cross!”
Jesus was now standing, but wobbly on His feet, as He turned His head sideways with His mouth droopily hanging open, gasping and wheezing. His mangled face radiated love and compassion, and Khalid couldn’t fathom how anyone could’ve not believed in Him.
The man shoved Khalid once again, sharply yelling, “Come on now! Don’t just stand there, we don’t have all day!”
Khalid stood by His Savior’s side, bearing the weight of the cross on His back for Him when He looked over at Jesus passionately, his voice quivering as he tearfully said, “I love you Lord, and I am so sorry for every time I have taken You for granted! Thank You for finally forgiving me, for loving me, and for what You are about to do for me—thank You so much! My words can never describe just how grateful I am to You!”
With every ounce of energy Jesus could gather unto Himself, He turned His head once again toward Khalid, coughing and heaving first before He spoke. He was just about to say something to Khalid when a soldier mercilessly whipped at His back once again, “Come on liar! Move it! You’re holding things up!”
Jesus cringed, His face displaying every bit of excruciating pain and agony ever imaginable. With great difficulty, He said to Khalid, “Son, your sins were already forgiven you at the very moment you asked.” He paused, wincing and trembling, for He had no strength whatsoever, before He continued.
With much effort, Jesus placed His hand gently on Khalid’s shoulder as He looked him deeply in the eye. “Though I am among the living dead, I willingly carry the sins of the world upon My back without a shred of strength in this broken body with which to carry it; and still, I would do this seven times seventy times because My love has no end! One day, you must love Me only less than half as much!”
With every muscle in his body, Khalid hauled the cross with Jesus, trudging upward until they made it to the top of the mountain where Krista stood waiting amongst the group of anxious spectators.
A soldier heartlessly yanked Jesus by the arm and apprehended Him; as if He was in any condition to flee. Several other soldiers seized the cross and carried it just a few feet away, were they tossed it to the ground like trash.
Another soldier brutally shoved Jesus, knocking Him to His knees. “Come on, it’s time for the grand finale Nazarene! It is finally time to see the King of the Jews gravel at our feet! Crawl over and take your place on the cross or we’ll have to throw You on, and we don’t want to break Your bones just yet!” However, Jesus would die without a single bone being broken.
Inch by inch, Jesus feebly drug himself over to it, stopping to breathe momentarily only to be whipped, kicked, and beaten all the more for being physically unable to move. He lifelessly rolled over atop His cross, his head pitifully falling back hard against the solid, splintery wood. Without delay, the soldiers took ropes and harshly secured His wrists in place tight. Jesus was whispering something that sounded like water,but no one seemed to even notice, let alone care.
With great force, the soldier raised his arm into the air as he held the sizeable nail in place with his other hand at Jesus’ right wrist. The cracking blow echoed through Krista and Khalid’s heads, as with each ruthless pound of the hammer, Jesus’ entire body arched and writhed in angst as He violently screamed and moaned. Yet, a large percentage of the crowd did not pity Him, for they cheered in triumph each time Jesus cried out in anguish.
Once the grisly task was complete, they took hold of the ropes they’d secured to the cross and callously pulled it to an upright position, while at the same time Jesus shrieked, winced, and howled in unbearable pain. The weight of His body pulled against the nails, which were deeply imbedded through His bone, flesh, nerve endings, tendons, and ligaments—struggling to breathe as the force of gravity pulled Him downward.
Though Jesus hung there and suffered regardless, having nothing to prove to anyone; only loving them and forgiving them in advance for the great mistake they’d made, knowing it had to happen to fulfill God’s plan of redemption from sin. He gazed down upon all of the people, those who loved Him and those who hated Him; yet He loved them all just the same and felt no hatred toward them.
Astonishingly, as dehydrated as He was, a single tear escaped His eye, but it had nothing to do with His physical torment. With great sadness and sorrow, He fixed His gaze on those who were still throwing things at Him, and spitting at His bloody, distorted body.
He began to gag and heave because He’d lost such a great amount of blood, and His throat had become like sandpaper. Spectators were laughing as one man hollered up at Him, “Come on King of the Jews, and show us your Godly powers! Aren’t you going to fly down from that cross and save yourself? Isn’t God, Your Father,going to save You? Who are you trying to fool? You’re nothing but a crazy man filled with demons!” The others laughed and nodded in agreement as he flung a large handful of manure into Jesus’ face. Spectators laughed and sneered at the sight of the King of the Jews helplessly hanging there with dung spread out all over his face, running downward and dripping onto His blood soaked neck and chest.
It was natural that He would try and move His hands to wipe it off, but they were nailed to the tree He submissively hung from, and He did not possess the strength to even flinch. Had He wanted to, He could’ve come down from off of the cross right then and there, and then we would have all been lost forever. Since He loved us more than anything, there was nothing He could do but hang there helplessly and lifelessly, being made a mockery of.
Krista leaned into Khalid’s ear, “I wish we could walk up there and wipe His face off for Him. If only they knew how much He loves them and cares for them, and that He is praying for the Father to have mercy upon them instead of praying for Himself!”
Immediately, Khalid courageously walked directly to the cross and gazed up into the pitiful face of His Savior. Jesus’ head barely moved, and His eyes were hardly open as He affectionately gazed down at Khalid. With emotion, Khalid said, “I love You my Master! I love You so much! If this didn’t have to be, I would gladly suffer with you right now!”
Khalid didn’t care what happened to him as he bravely walked up the ladder leaning next to Jesus’ cross. Without thought or hesitation, he ripped his linen tunic off from his own body, not caring that he stood before everyone in nothing but his undergarments. He reached up and gently wiped the blood and animal feces off of Jesus’ face, wetting the linen with the rivers of tears that escaped his own eyes. When Khalid was finished, he leaned forward, and with every ounce of emotion he had inside of himself, he kissed Him on the cheek.
He stepped down and returned to his place at Krista’s side, still inconsolably crying for His Savior. “Krista, this has always been most special to me; although I must admit, as I stand here and witness this extreme event, I am moved more than ever by it.”
The people were yelling out in anger, shouting hatred for the man they believed was a liar and a sorcerer.
All Jesus felt was sympathy and compassion, for they didn’t really understand what they were doing; if they had, they wouldn’t be doing this to Him. He spoke out loud, and they all heard His words clearly, “Forgive them Father! For they know not what they do!”
A soldier maliciously dipped some hyssop into vinegar because Jesus was thirsty, shoving it with force into His mouth. Some of the vinegar had dripped down into His open wounds, setting them on fire as the burn furiously raged throughout His entire body.
Krista and Khalid wanted to run up and save Him, or stop the soldiers and the people from being so cruel, yet they couldn’t. They just stood nearby lamenting with those who loved Him, feeling humbled and honored by His great display of love and mercy.
There was total darkness over all of the earth for three hours, and then the sun was blackened, and everyone present was much afraid, saying, “What if this was really the Messiah?”
Still, others said, “If He saved others, let Him come down and save Himself! If He is truly the Christ, the chosen of God, He would have done something by now!”
Jesus cringed and then finally, cried out in a loud voice, “Father! Into Your hands I commend My Spirit!” All at once, His head and His body went entirely limp.
To fully appreciate this clip from my second book in the Martyrdom Series, Soul Collector, you would have to have read the first one. Regardless, what I’ve written above is still nothing in description to what really happened that day.
I urge you, ask yourself today, “What have I done for my Jesus? What have I done for my YHWH? Do I carry my cross? Do I suffer for my Lord? Or do I accommodate God’s word to conform to my paganistic lifestyle? I can’t lie to you here, and if it makes you mad, I can’t help it. The truth is the truth, and we will all stand in judgment; we all sin. But are we living in it, not even confessing and repenting before Him? Are you excusing your worldly life? Remember, Jesus is looking down at you from heaven, lovingly calling out to you, but you’re not hearing; He says, “All this, I did for you!”
It’s time for us to wear our crown of thorns, and to carry that painfully heavy cross…Jesus did for you…and He died so that you personally could have eternal life! He rose again in three days, and still has the scars on His hands and feet to prove it. The only death He asks of you is that your crucify your flesh, and in exchange, He’ll give you eternal life and a new, perfect body. Oh, and once again, He’ll even come to your aide and help you carry that heavy cross of yours! You never have to do it all alone.
Remember Him and what He did as you go forth with your day today, and tomorrow…and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”