Last Walk To Paradise
As he walked the halls of local government building, pulled along roughly by an officer of the city guard, the young man thought of the days past. A brighter time in life, before his true work had come to pass.
As a child he would play with friends, then sit on the porch of his parental home, chores finished for the day, waiting for dinner to be made ready. He always loved the sunset hour, such a joy to sit and watch as the sky was lit up in fiery colors.
"Son?" His mother called from the door way. "The table is laid and you need to wash for evening prayer."
The guard pushed him through the entrance of the judge's main office, to be viewed as a criminal. Questions were asked, but it would do no good to answer, as they could not understand the things he had done, or why he did them.
Again the Officers pulled him along the halls, seeking yet another councilmen, one of high ranking among the people of the city. Made to walk at a faster pace to keep up to the well-rested guards, he spoke not a word of complaint.
"No, no son," his father had told him long ago, "When you pull against the grain the wood peels, scarring the work you are doing. Go slow and work with the grain, not against it."
The higher official mocked him, not only for his silence but for the life he led and who others claimed him to be, which the governor did not understand. Though he did not find anything worth condemning the man, still the official sent him off to be judged for crimes he did not commit. Once more made to walk before his persecutors, tormented all the way, to stand in front of his judge to be sentenced, then hauled away from a mock trial to his grueling punishment.
Remembering a time years ago-- he had stayed on to speak with teachers. His questioning was simple, but as the elders sought out answers they were amazed at the boldness of such a youth.
"Son, we have been looking everywhere", though aware his mother would worry, he knew also a greater work needed to be done.
He spoke not a word, and the over zealous guards thought to force him in their actions of cruelty. The beatings became brutal, tearing into the young man's flesh, as they lashed out at him with fists, whips, chains, anything that came to hand. Pushed back and forth between them as the soldiers pulled out his hair in bloody clumps, their laughter echoing through the courtyard-- he grew weaker as the night wore on.
"Far be it from you to have to suffer so,"* a fellow worker and student had said not more than a day past. He did not understand why his teacher was doing as he was, but the day was soon coming and all would be made known. The young man glanced up, his body torn, blood draining into his eyes, to see his friend arguing by a fire-- even as the rooster crowed at the beginning of the dawn hour.
Weak and bleeding, his accusers forced him to walk again, bearing a heavy load as he slowly took the last steps to his own execution. When he stumbled, they lashed out with whips and barbed rod, pushing him beyond endurance. Though tired, beaten, his life near spent, the pain of his final bonds driving deep within his flesh, his only thought was the fulfillment of dream.
"Behold My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."**
It was not long before he spoke his parting words for an unworthy world he loved beyond all things-- "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'' ***
* Matthew 16:22, ** Matthew 3:17,*** Luke 23:34, NKJ Bible, all verse references are paraphrased
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