He could still hear them. The noises. They were unlike anything he had ever experienced before.
The laughs. They had mocked Him. “Come down from there. Save yourself. Save us! Aren’t you the King of Jews?” Slanderous and hate filled. Their voices bellowed and their stomachs jostled. Didn’t they know who He was? Didn’t they understand what they were doing? What a mistake they were making? Couldn’t they see He hadn’t done anything wrong? Why would they mock Him like this? Had they NO shame? And all the while He stayed silent. Silent except to forgive them. What was it He had said? “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” What they had done was kill Him – and laughed while they did it.
The nails. He’d never noticed before the piercing sound a nail made as the hammer struck it on the head. The way the metal almost seemed to be crying out as well. The sound it made as they drove it through His flesh and it pounded into the wood. Devastating. That was the best way he could describe it. The clangs and the thuds jumbled together into one devastating sound – and that sound was death.
The screams. The way that Jesus screamed as the scourger did his work. As the whip cut through His skin. The way He cried out as the nails went through His hands, His feet. He was sure that he would never forget the pangs of his most beloved friend as He was tortured without cause. The agony. The despair. The helplessness. The pain. He could literally FEEL the pain. With each blood-curdling scream, he experienced the pain that Jesus felt.
The lies. The way that even the High Priest himself had stood in front of God and everyone else and spoken lies. So inflammatory, so ludicrous, so FALSE. The charges. Blasphemy. Was it really possible to falsely claim to be something it was obvious you were? The crowd. The way they yelled out for Barabbas. The shouts of “crucify” they made. The water. The sound it made as Pilate washed his hands. The splashes that signified that, he, the only one seemingly with enough power to end this bogus proceeding, was going to do absolutely nothing. His voice – giving everyone their wish and sending Jesus to His death.
The entire scene was playing through John’s mind now. It was all he could do to not remember every single intimate and excruciating detail.
As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Matthew 27:32–43 (ESV)
The words. The words that Jesus said as He hung dying on the cross. “I thirst. Into your hands, I commend my Spirit. It is finished.” The words He spoke so clearly were still ringing in his ears. Each one as though it had been chosen for the exact moment it was said. Each one filled with power and a purpose. But none of them haunted him more than those spoken directly to Mary and himself; “Woman, behold, your son!” “Friend Behold, your mother!” His world had changed in that instant – all because of those words.
The song. The one that Nicodemus sung as they laid Him in the tomb. Offering Him up to God and asking for His rest. Each note reminding him that his friend, his teacher, his Lord – was now gone. It echoed through the cave and with it came the reality of all that had taken place that day.
The stone. The sound it made as it settled into place. As it separated him from the One he had come to love more than any other. The crunching of the gravel that signified the crushing of all their hopes, plans and dreams. Everything was over now. Locked away with Jesus inside that awful tomb.
He can still hear them. The noises. Unlike anything he’s ever heard. Laughs, nails, screams, lies, words, songs and stone. All different and unique – and yet all somehow still the same. Each and every one making, more real the thing John is begging to forget. That Jesus Christ, is dead.