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Crafting the Cross

9/20/2007 / Short Stories

Bang. Bang. Bang. Jonas' head throbbed with the thunderous sound. The crude nails dug deeper into the freshly cut timber with each violent force of the hammer

Bang. Bang

"GET UP, Carpenter! Open the door!"

The door frame creaked with the incessant pounding, sending a spray of dust around the darkened room.

"Belligerent Roman pigs! Demanding, unreasonable " Jonas hissed as he pulled himself up from the seclusion of his bed. Disoriented from the abrupt awakening in the middle of the night, his mind scrambled with the merging of dream and reality, both dominated with that incessant banging. Stumbling, Jonas made his way to the door.

"There's an execution in the morning. Three crosses are required. Get them ready by dawn." the Centurion snarled, his demeanor ugly like the terrible hellish patterns cast across his face from the fiery torches held by the soldiers.

With a deep sigh Jonas barred the door and resigned himself to the task ahead.

His carpenter's workshop was cluttered with numerous half completed projects. Tables, beds, oxen yokes all waiting for his attention. Jonas lifted his eyes to the corner of the workshop, where the majority of his time and effort over many months had centered the fashioning of crosses for Roman executions.

Bitterness welled up within his heart. "Why couldn't the Romans use their own carpenters for making their crosses?" Jonas bitterly lamented. Shaping crosses for his own people to be brutally slaughtered on was just too great an insult.

The weariness of Jonas' heart was more than his physical tiredness. His existence was an unceasing rigmarole of brokenness and futility, a fate that was shared with all his fellow Jews under Rome's oppressive regime.

Jonas shivered, as he suddenly realized that if his quota of crosses were not met by dawn, he would find himself on the receiving end of Roman hostility.

Separating three beams, Jonas lifted them to the workbench and begun to shape them, one by one.

Grueling hours passed. Jonas' body ached from the strenuous effort of driving his tools across the timber, his eyes smarted with utter exhaustion. Finally, unable to resist the compulsion to sleep, he placed his head across the middle of the third beam. "Just a few minutes rest." he mumbled. Instantly, Jonas fell into deep sleep.

Stark, petrifying night visions seized Jonas' mind. Hands and then feet cruelly nailed into wooden beams screams of agony, blood, blood everywhere. Cries for mercy, threats and accusations, angry voices, laughs and jeers. Heavy rain the crash of thunder and piercing lightening punching through the suffocating darkness. A bloodied head shrouded in a crown of thorns - a body mutilated beyond recognition. The earth quaking violently as it receives the blood flowing freely down the cross into the cold, wet ground. The world has descended into chaos, screams, fear, shaking, gross darkness, groaning. "It is finished." These words - eerie, tearing, echoing through time and eternity

Jonas' eyes suddenly snapped open, his heart beating savagely in his chest, his body covered in his tormented dream-induced sweat. Unable to move, the terror, darkness and silence of those final moments and words, engulfed Jonas. He sat stupefied, suspended in time, groping for life itself


Jonas' torturous reflections were interrupted with the sudden commotion of angry, murderous voices outside on the street.

"Hey! What's going on?" Jonas yelled above the din as the maddened crowd with torches and swords rushed towards the outskirts of the city.

"We're going to arrest that deceiver, Yeshua of Nazareth!" one of them answered. "He's finally going to get what he deserves." The man added with such venom that it made Jonas tremble.

Jonas was dumfounded. He had followed the Nazarene's teachings. Yeshua had given him hope, connecting him with the God of His fathers Arresting him? Why?

"The dream! The execution!" Revelation forcefully struck Jonas' soul. Running to the beam he had fashioned with his own hands, he fell across it and wept bitterly. Where he had slept moments before, the head of God's Son would have its final earthly place. Running his hand across the beam, he found the rough and splintered places he had neglected in his indifference and exhaustion and smoothed them with the love and skill of a master craftsman.

Jonas' tears mingled with anguished prayer to Yahweh, as he crafted the Messiah's cross.

Karen Elengikal is an inspirational, published writer from Sydney, Australia. Karen's first book 'Kidz Battle Zone' was released in 2007. (see FW Book Review).

2006 Karen Elengikal

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