This Week's Story

Arrested, charged, tried, and sentenced! Unfair! Jesus is not guilty!

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Not a Criminal! part one

Thousands of people crammed the streets.  Simon tried to move through them.  No, not possible!  He mumbled, “I hate crowds, but I have to be here.  Jerusalem for the Passover!”

He heard women crying, horse hoofs, and soldiers shouting, “Move aside!”

As he turned to look, a soldier grabbed him and ordered, “You! Pick up that man’s cross.”

Simon saw a man stumbling towards him.  The man’s face was lacerated and filthy.  He obviously was weakened from some terrible ordeal. Though his hands were callused and his body well-muscled, he was struggling to carry a cross.  Simon took the cross.  Instead of moving ahead of the man, he walked beside him.  Nearby two other men were carrying crosses.  Their backs were streaked with welts and blood.

Voices filled Simon’s ears.  He tried to listen to two soldiers walking beside him.

“He’s going to be crucified at The Skull.”

“What for?”

“There are no fair charges; but, look around.  This man has powerful enemies.  His name is Jesus.  I heard he was judged by the Jewish high council last night.  One Jew told me that the witnesses kept contradicting each other.  None of the accusations against Jesus could be proved. It was a mess, but the Jewish leaders hate him so much they kept at him.  He wouldn’t say anything.

“Finally the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God.’

“He replied, ‘I am.’  That did it.

“The high priest tore at his own clothing and yelled, ‘We don’t need witnesses.  He is claiming to be God.’ So they sentenced him to death.  And then, they blindfolded him, and punched him over and over in the face.”

  Simon looked at the man whose cross he was carrying.  So this was Jesus.  He had heard about him more than once.  As he looked at him, Jesus turned his head towards some crying women.

Simon thought, “How can he see them?  His eyes look like they are swollen shut.”

He heard Jesus say, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

Simon thought, “This man is certainly strange!  How can he care about people who are crying, when he is in terrible pain?”

The two soldiers beside Simon were talking again. One said, “After last night’s trial Jesus was taken to the Roman governor Pilate.  The Jewish religious leaders stated their case against Jesus, but Pilate couldn’t find any reason to execute him.

“So he announced to the Jewish leaders, ‘I find him innocent.  I’ll have him whipped and then I’ll release him.’

“Despite what Pilate said, the Jewish leaders and a crowd with them kept shouting, ‘Crucify him.’ They made a sort of deal with Pilate.  It’s a custom every year for the governor to release a prisoner.  So the leading priests got the mob to start shouting, ‘Free Barabbas!  Free Barabbas!’  That guy led an uprising against the government. His sentence of “death” was well-deserved. Pilate argued with the crowd.  You could tell that he thought Jesus should be set free.  The crowd was frenzied with wild shouting.

“Pilate gave into them and announced, ‘Take Barabbas! What should I do with Jesus?’

“They shouted, ‘Crucify him.’  That was the final sentence for Jesus.”

Simon looked again at Jesus.  He sensed no anger in him. Instead even with his staggering steps, he was moving with purpose.

Simon knew he must carry the cross to the place of execution, but he also wanted to watch Jesus.  No, this man was not a criminal.

This is Barbara Steiner looking through Simon’s eyes on a well-travelled road, that is recorded in the first four books of the New Testament in the Bible.

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