24 March: The Legionnaire’s Story: III

We stripped him of his garments, then commenced the gruesome business of nailing the poor fellow to his cross. At this time a wonderful event happened for me because the guards drew lots for Jesus’ garments and the tunic he was wearing was woven in one piece and I won this. I was overjoyed because I was not usually lucky at draws and I treasured this fine garment. I would probably sell it before it was stolen and it could go towards the land I would buy on my retirement.

mercylogoSeveral other amazing things came to pass. One of the thieves crucified with Jesus began to curse him, but the other thief praised him and said he surely was the Son of God. Thereupon, Jesus turned to this fellow and blessed him and promised he would be with him in paradise that very day. The next remarkable event  was that Jesus’ mother came to the foot of the cross with John who was one of his followers, and Jesus said in a clear voice, ‘Woman behold your son’, and to John he said, ‘behold your mother’. He obviously did this to ensure his mother would be protected and part of a family.

There was a loud clap of thunder and as I looked up at Jesus I knew he had passed away.

I just felt terribly sad. Then one of the other guards, Longinus, took his javelin and pierced Jesus’ side and we were all amazed to see blood and a stream of water pour forth. Then there were more thunder claps and the Centurion’s horse reared up and the Centurion was thrown down at the foot of the Cross. He looked up and said in a low voice, ‘Surely this man, Jesus, whom we have so abused this day is the Son of the living God.’

As Jesus was taken down from the cross by his followers I was thinking, ‘Supposing he is the son of God? What will God do to me?  Surely I and all his persecutors will be destroyed although I had not wanted to be any part of this final journey and I would have let him go. I believe he was a good man.

‘Maybe he will save us for he was reported to have said to his disciples, “I did not come on earth to judge but to save.”


Strasbourg; Our Lady & English Martyrs, Cambridge; Dryburgh. The Cross is the tree of triumph and reconciliation.

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