Sunday, March 31, 2013

Two Roman Guards

Two Roman Guards...

The tomb was sealed and the two guards stood watch to ensure the disciples or sympathizers would not steal the body. Both have served in as Roman centurions for most of their adult lives. No one had approached the tomb for the last two days, not even out of curiosity. 

It is the early morning of the third day and the two soldiers have said very little to each other as the fulfill their duty. One guard finally breaks the silence. "What was the purpose in all of this?" The second guard turns to him, his expression screaming annoyance and yet he maintains his silence. The first guard patiently awaits an answer but after a few minutes realizes none is coming. "I mean, the people worship him just a week ago and then they cry for him to be crucified," he continues unfazed by his partner's disinterest. "I had heard he performed many miracles, even raised a guy from the dead." The second guard turns and glares again, "my job is to guard this rock, not keep you entertained by answering your stupid questions, " he grumbles.

"So you are not the least bit intrigued by this man," the first responds? The second snorts, "no, and less interested in you babbling on." "Well if the rumors are true this man was a one of a kind, " the first retorts. "Was, a one of a kind, "the second snickers. "With all the tales of wonders floating around do you think he could have been the son of God," the first one asks. "He's with his God now, and that is all that matters, just another zealot off the streets, that's all, "the second scolds, "now let me be."

"Certainly if it were true, he could not die, I mean what purpose would that serve, " the first continues ignoring his cohorts indifference. The second steps a few feet to the left, away from the pest. "I mean a martyr does have power, but his own people despised him, so it seems his whole purpose was fruitless, " he reflects out loud. The second shakes his head, "Why would he die for a people who hated him in the end," the second finally breaks, "he would be a martyr for no one, except his disciples, who scattered like frightened children."

"My point exactly, what a pity, " the first responds, "I mean to die such a horrific death for nothing, how pathetic." "But, one of our captains, apparently said, that he thought he was the Son of God," the first reminds. "Why," the seconds snaps, "because of a little bad weather and a slight ground rumble?" "He saw something in him, something when he died, in the things he said, "the first answers. "Like what, " the second responds? "Forgive them for they know not what they do, It is Finished, stuff like that," the first explains. "Ramblings of a dying man out of his mind from pain and thirst, " the second answers. "That's the other thing, " the first quickly states, "have you ever seen a man take a beating like that and make it to the cross?"

"Yah, I have to admit, that was a first," the second concedes, "but that doesn't mean anything spooky you fool." "I mean he didn't even look like a man when they were done with him, just bloody and torn meat, " the first continues, "it was the worst death I have ever seen, from start to finish." The first stands their silently, lost in thought. After several minutes of deafening silence he looks up, "What if he was the son of God?" "That's ridiculous, " the second turns away. "If so, why would he die, what purpose would it serve, " the first inquires. "I don't care, this conversation is done, " the second sits on a nearby boulder, disgusted with the wasted time spent on this silly conversation.

Thunder rolls in the background, but there is not even a cloud in the sky. "What was that, " the second rises! "I don't know," the first anxiously answers. The earth trembles under their feet and the tomb begins to shake. They both turn as the stone glows. "How is that possible, "the first screams. The two draw their swords in unison. "It took ten men to move that stone in place, " the second shouts, "it will not move." Just then the rock begins to shake and slowly roll to the side. A blinding light escapes the ever growing opening, it engulfs them. The stone rolls down the side of the hill bounding down until it collides with another boulder, breaking it apart.

The two men fall to their knees. They have been trained for a lifetime in battle, have seen combat, death, and chaos of all kinds. But nothing could have prepared them for this moment. They drop their swords. The light brightens until every detail of their environment is consumed by it. Then as quickly as it began, it stops. Silence falls like a lead weight and all is still. The two guards kneel before the open tomb as the only sound around them is quiet foot steps. Suddenly, two men stand on either side of the opening, clothed in light. They stare at the two men without speaking, the weight of their gaze feels like it is literally crushing them. The steps get louder and a man steps from the tomb. The two men gasp.

He approaches the two men and kneels down to them. He is glorious beyond description and his face defines love, compassion, and strength. The men can not speak. He smiles. "To answer your question, I died so that you may be free," he gently speaks. "My death was my choice, the blood I shed for the forgiveness of your sin, the pain I suffered I took from you, I paid the price, " Jesus instructs. "All that is required is that you believe in me, " Jesus concludes and rises.

The power of it all finally overwhelms the two men and they faint.

Two Roman Soldiers received their answer in a miraculous way. Whether they accepted it we shall never know. But what about you?

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