After 2000 years, what can be said about the crucifixtion that hasn't been said already? I still felt this might be worth writing. It's a revised version of the one I posted last year on Good Friday.
There Will Be No Miracle
by Sarah Izhilzha
The midday sunlight presses down, baking red blood into the dirt of Golgotha–the hill of execution. Already defiled by the stench of death, and by the evils of men, it’s made even more unclean under the feet of Roman soldiers.
How can the son of the God of hosts be hanging here?
The others being crucified, both thieves, call down curses on their executioners and on the crowd that has gathered to watch them die.
He doesn’t make a sound except to breathe. I don’t know how I can hear even that. The soldiers are shouting orders, the crowd murmurs and chatters, and one of the women who sits near me is praying in words that are half sobs.
Voices that I recognize from the trial the night before rise above the rest, mocking. One asks for a sign that will prove his divine authority. “If you truly are the Christ, come down from there, and we will believe you!” Just as before, he does not answer, and they laugh. My hands curl into fists, but the glint of a Roman spearhead near those voices keeps me from throwing the punch that would start a riot.
Still there is no answer, only the strangled breathing, and the wet rasp of torn flesh pulling against split wood. When even that stops, I force myself to look back at his face, afraid.
He stares at me through swollen eyes that are beginning to blacken. I hold his gaze firmly. Whatever he wants from me, I will give him. His head tilts, and I realize he is watching the woman crouched beside me, hair falling around her tear-stained face. Mary, his mother. She has not taken her eyes from him, and does not do so now.
“Mother,” he says, the words halting. “Here is your son.”
She looks as confused as I, until he catches my gaze again and drags in another breath. “Son,” and now I recognize the formal phrasing, “here is your mother.”
He does not look away or close his eyes until I put a protective arm around Mary’s shoulders. I cannot find words to acknowledge this request, but he sees the motion and tries to smile.
Mary--Mother, now--is shaking.
I did not realize till now that I have been expecting a miracle. He is the Messiah. He must be. There is no other. So why is he suffering, powerless in the hands of our enemies? I had clung to the explanation he gave to the man born blind–there was no reason for it, except to display the mighty power of the Most High. No reason except to prove himself to the people.
But his mother was his last earthly responsibility, and he has placed her within my family, within my care.
His breathing grows more ragged. Flies have found the streaks of blood that stain the wood, his ribs, his face. The sun weighs hot against my hair and hands. It must be worse against his naked skin.
There will be no miracle today.