I remember that day, with my men at the cross,
When Jesus was crucified, it seemed a great loss.

He appeared a good man, from the things he said,
But my duty that day, was to make sure he was dead.

I looked at him there, blood dripped from his brow,
No one else wore a crown, I look back on it now.

Blood came from wrists, eked from his feet too,
From his side it gushed out, as the spear drove through.

Crucifixions were so common, at that place and time,
But that one was different, and is fixed in my mind.

One of the felons cursed God, and ranted at men.
The other begged Jesus for mercy, in the afterlife then.

Jesus said paradise awaits, all those who repent,
I remember that later, Temple curtain was rent.

Jesus’ family were there, seeing a son’s life slip away,
He told a loved disciple, to care for his mum that day.

I was surprised when a sign, was put over his head,
“The King of the Jews,” in three languages it said.

Kings didn’t get crucified, even by we cruel Romans,
Killed in a battle yes, but not picked by ravens.

The blood dripped and splattered, on the red earth,
Adding to the stench, where so many met death.

The words just slipped out, not command but confession,
“Surely he was Son of God,” was my surprise admission.

I look back now, a year from that dark fateful day,
And know from my lips, truer words I’ll never say.

My Roman bosses and tough men, still curse and hate,
But then my heart changed, love and grace changed my fate.

Rob Bellingham, March 2021

A response to a sermon by Wendy Budge at Rotorua Baptist Church, Easter 2021