Today is the day we call Good Friday, the celebration of the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the day we remember that our Lord was beaten, whipped, spat upon and had a crown of thorns pressed down into his scalp. He was forced to carry a large and heavy wooden cross until He had no more strength to carry it.
Then He was laid down on the cross as Roman soldiers hammered large iron spikes through His hands and feet (possibly the ankles) and then the cross was raised up. Death on a cross is caused by slow suffocation. With the arms nailed out to the sides, the weight of the body pulls down on the chest, making it harder to breathe. Over time, it gets even harder to breathe until after hours of agony, He could no longer breathe and died.
Without Christ’s death and resurrection, there would be no Christian faith and no hope of salvation.
While we focus on the crucifixion of Jesus, and rightly so, we often forget about the two thieves that were also crucified along with Jesus. One of those thieves received forgiveness of his sins and salvation while on the cross, providing us a lesson that it’s never too late to repent and be saved and received into heaven for all of eternity.
In 1983, I wrote this poem about that thief and I wanted to share it with all of you today.,
The sand and grit will cut and bite
When carried by the wind’s force and might.
This desolate land so barren and brown
Can’t wait to get back to that miserable town.
Such pangs of hunger and feet so bare
Must get some money, steal if I dare.
From the rich or the poor, the widow or the lame
It’s not my fault, I’M NOT TO BLAME!
There’s no work to be found in this wretched land
And I was born poor ‘mongst a thieving band.
Never learned a trade or skill or such
For the likes of me, no one would touch.
So steal as I must to get by each day
As long as no one looks this way.
This way of living stinks like a sty
But it’ll be my way until I die.
Get your hands off me you Roman dog
I bought this food, I sold a hog.
What do you mean, throw him in jail?
I’ll curse you all, right down to hell.
You call me a liar and then a thief
You’ve hurt my pride, I slump in grief.
Not guilty I claim, may I testify
What! To be nailed to a cross and crucified?
I’ll curse and swear and bite to get free
You Roman swine can’t do this to me.
Carry that cross myself you say
Ha! You’ll not hang me up there today.
You filthy sand ticks, those nails do sting
I told you I’m innocent, don’t do this thing.
It’s not my fault, I’m not to blame
A-a-augh those nails feel hot as flame.
Well what do you know, there’s welcome news
They’re crucifying me next to the King of the Jews.
Hey Lord! I like the company you keep
I guess we’ve sown and now we’ll reap.
If you’re God’s son and have no fear
Then why don’t you get us down from here?
What’s the matter, can’t you speak?
Look at me if you’re not too weak.
Oh my Lord the look in those eyes
Don’t swear at Him, don’t you realize?
He’s innocent, not like me
What are doing, can’t you see?
Lord forgive me and let me dwell
At your feet in heaven and not in hell.
I know my life has been but sin
But let my other life with you begin.
My guilt is no more and the pain is gone
For the first time in my life I feel like song
If only I’d found you before this day
I wouldn’t have sinned my life away.
By David Jolly