The Fourth Cross

I know you’re busy, Friend. But come aside with me just for a moment, while I tell you a sometimes sad, sometimes glad tale of four crosses. See the poor man on the first one there? The one cursing the fate that put him there? A fate that he himself is responsible for, they tell me. Even as he writhes in agony of spikes through the hands and feet, he taunts one of the others hanging with him – there on the crosses. One would think such cursing and swearing not to be a proper induction into eternity. It’s sad, but as they say, to each his own.

See the other one there, the one on the other side? Those standing here when I came up said, that an hour ago he too was cursing and swearing and sarcastically speaking to the one in the middle. He was taking up the chant of some of these other folks that seem to be getting a kick out of watching people die. It went something like, “If he said he could save others, why can’t he save himself?” But a few minutes ago, he seemed to calm down. Well, at least as much as such misery would allow. I heard him say to the one in the middle, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And the one in the middle said, “You will be with me in Paradise today.”

I never saw such a thing as that one in the middle. You can tell he’s suffering. Who wouldn’t be? What with the weight of his whole body pulling down on those big spikes? But there’s something about him. Watching him makes me think that maybe there is something to his claim that he came to save lost sinners like me and you. Several of the others watching here are this man’s disciples, and that poor lady over there, almost beside herself with grief, is his mother. A while ago he told one of the men standing over there to take care of her.

A lot of things going on here I don’t understand. Those guys over there, the ones who said they are his disciples, told me about how it all got started with them. They said that after John the Baptist convinced them this man was the Messiah we Jews have been looking for, that one day while they were working, he came by and said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” And, the crazy thing about it is, they said they did! Now that’s what I need help with. I don’t see no other crosses do you? I’ve counted and counted and all I can come up with is three!

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