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Great Interviews of Jesus (14 of 15)
With a Criminal
Clarence E. Macartney
I wish I had been there when that thief entered
paradise, the first trophy of the Cross, the first
fruits of the passion of Christ. It was a great day
for the angels when Moses entered heaven, and David
and Isaiah and John and Peter and Paul; but heaven has
never seen such a day or heard such music as when the
penitent thief passed through its gates.
"Bring out the prisoner!" In obedience to the gruff
order of the centurion who was in command, the
soldiers entered the guardhouse where they took from
Jesus the crimson robe with which Herod had mocked Him
and put on Him His own garment, that seamless robe
which they looked upon with covetous eyes, wondering
which one of them would possess it when the criminal
who wore it had been crucified. In the prison were two
other condemned men, robbers and murderers, awaiting
execution of their sentence to death. Pilate thought
he might as well get them out of the way at the time
and instructed the centurion to crucify them together
A condemned man could not, of course, carry the heavy
post upon which he was to be fastened, but it was the
custom for him to carry the transom or the two planks
which were to be nailed to the post and upon which his
arms would be spread. These planks were laid upon the
back of each one of the three condemned men, and the
procession started toward Calvary. Standing at the
window of his palace, Pilate watched Jesus being led
away with the cross upon His back. He gazed for a
moment and then, turning away with a troubled look in
his face, said to his wife Claudia, whose dream had
warned him not to do that thing which now he could not
undo, "An innocent man!"
In front of each criminal, according to the custom,
marched a herald bearing a placard upon which was
written the crime for which the man had been condemned
to death. On t ...
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