Golgotha hill is nearly empty. The gawking crowds have gone home. I hope all those uppity Jews choke on their supper after killing this innocent man. I sent a runner to tell Pilate that I’ve proven with my spear Jesus is indeed dead. Now he hurries his return with friends of this Jesus – a couple rich men and some poor women lift him gently from his cross. They hurry because some sort of holy day starts at sundown. They weep openly and one wealthy old man called Nicodemus Laments During Burial:
“We had our chance to acknowledge you, but our stubborn hearts refused. So, as foretold long ago, you were gruesomely abused. I would that I’d been bolder and spoke more in your defense. I would that I’d used scripture defusing each made-up offense. I would that I’d told my people in the Council and on the street, then they wouldn’t have condemned you, had you crucified or beat.
“Who am I kidding? It wouldn’t have made a difference. The scriptures all came true. Even so… I wish I’d been cast from Temple, defrocked and shunned by Jews for then I’d be pure in heart with no regrets for what I’ve withheld from You.”
The man's words knife me. I turn and leave. My duty is done. I need a drink. Where’s the nearest bar? Yet even here my countrymen talk of nothing else, making jokes. How can they understand? They weren’t on duty on the god-forsaken hill. I was. I almost wish I could have gone with those Jesus-followers, but how would they have anything to do with me? I stand, waver on my feet from the brew, bang my cup on the table and yell, “Listen to me all of you. This is The Centurion’s Report”.
You weren’t there that day for the strangest thing I’ve seen. The King of the Jews was crucified – though not an ordinary king. Does the earth quake for a human? Will lightning and thunder toll? Does the sky split with the world’s weight while gambling dice are rolled? Does the murdered bless his murderer? Can he choose his final breath? Does he think of others as he dies? No. This was The son of God’s death.