TITLE: The Teacher
By Brandon Baldwin
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The rolling gray capped hills danced about in my memory. I had just landed my final step upon the plateau called the Place of the Skull. Everything that happened that day had been a blur, and nothing made sense. Why did He allow Himself to die like this? My eyes were spinning and glazed over with tears—my vision was blurred. I saw a shape that I took for a centurion yelling and shouting. Sweeping through the small crowd, the centurion attempted to disband the waiting crowd. The tension held everyone together on that dreaded plateau. The Teacher, the Messiah, the Deliverer, and the Savior—all were names that we called Him. People jostled and pushed as He passed. While He passed me I gulped; I did not want Him to look into my face or recognize me. My Messiah balanced precariously, and step-by-step He wobbled on. Unjust charges flew out of nowhere at him from every angle. The sentence of death weighed heavily upon Him. Bracing Himself against the cross, my Teacher clung to it. Blood—His blood—had dried His hair stiff. His robe was tattered, torn, and in parts dyed crimson. The once healthy man staggered on. He continued on. He couldn’t stop; He wouldn’t stop. I desperately wanted to help Him, yet I fell back in fear of the soldiers. The sun shone brightly—yet—ominously. The Galilean reached His destination, dropped His cross, and collapsed upon the ground. A sinless man condemned; a hopeless world forgiven; a lamb sacrificed—the plague of death conquered.
Blurriness completely overpowered my vision as I watched on—teardrop after teardrop fell from my cheeks. How could they do this to an innocent man like my teacher? Why? What had He done besides help people? The scattered onlookers glanced nervously to and fro. The clouds churned above the crowd. Women sent out shrill screams, and the dry, parched earth absorbed every one of them. Overwhelming anxiety covered everyone’s faces—but One. Not one person wanted to be at that dirty event—murder. The soldiers knew whom they crucified—an innocent man. Smelling of sweat, dirt, and wine, they did not care; they had already had their fill and were intoxicated. My stomach churned at their disrespect of my Lord and King. The soldiers had already finished the crucifixion of the other two criminals. Already, two other crosses stood erect. Nothing mattered—except my teacher. My world was in a jumble. Spittle drooled down my chin—I didn’t care anymore and let it continue down my robe. Despair overruled every function of my body.
I took in all of the faces. A man stood next to me doubled over with grief. Some say that the eyes of a person are the windows into the souls of men. A woman was kneeling next to me; her eyes were blank—staring—they were like looking into a deep, black well. Finding no sparkle of life among her eyes, I turned away. Her eyes still haunt me. Another women knelt next to me on my right. Sobs of grief lifted from her bent over body. I could hear angry shouts of protest erupt from the crowd. A few brave people dared to throw rocks at the guards. The tension mounted until I did not think that I could take it anymore! Then it happened. Clink . . . clink . . . clink! The hammer’s cadence slowly resounded. Clink . . . clink . . . clink! I felt every blow as if it were to my own body.
Kneeling awestruck—defeated—I knelt in disbelief. He was dead or dieing. I didn’t care about anything else at that moment. All I can remember is that in frustration I thrust my legs out in front of me, and then I trotted down the hill chasing my own shadow. The cross, which He hung upon, now loomed above on the menacing plateau. Then darkness fell—instantly. I can’t explain the event; I just know that I was lost out in the wilderness. The sun just went out! Pure blackness, I was completely alone. When I attempted to stand, I could not find my feet! The ground moved like an ocean’s wave underneath me. Great thunder rolled, and I could hear the ground quaking. Everything shook. I contented myself to sit and to rest—and . . . to ponder.
My heart yelled back at the cross and more importantly the person on the cross. Was there something that I could have done to help Him? Agony wrenched my heart. Oh, how I had hung upon every word that came out of his mouth. I buckled. I could do nothing on my own. Broken, I tried to remember what my Teacher had said in the short time that I had known him. Smelling the flowers that I happened to fall down into I took in every scent I could. I did not know what was to come later, but I held onto the few words I did remember. A wonderful rain poured down and washed me clean of my dirt. The Teacher’s words comforted me. Then I was still—and I knew that Jesus was God. In the thunder, in the rain, in the chaos—that, is when God finally calmed my heart; He gave me His true, everlasting peace.
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