You fathers will understand best – mothers too, but it’s not the same. This is my son; this is my only son!
He’s dying – here before my eyes – tearing my soul apart. Every hope I had for him is gone. Ended. My son!
These other two are tragedies too, but this one is MY son! Why? Why?!
That one there in the middle; what’s He doing here? Last week we had a parade welcoming Him into the city; it passed right by my shop door. It was exciting – even talk that He might be our Messiah – but this? If He is the Messiah, what’s He doing here?
But this is my son – on a cross – as a thief!
He was a fine boy – helped his mother, learned my trade of a potter. He was talented, very imaginative. People chose his work over mine! We raised him in the synagogue home – he took his Bar Mitzva –he knew the Scriptures well for a youth.
But when his mother died of some terrible fever, it was as if his world ended. He changed so much – became angry, lonely, even disrespectful – hot tempered.
What?? You’re arguing with your terrible friend there? He’s dying as a thief too. What? You’re confessing? And this empty Messiah promises that you will be with Him in Paradise today? Oh my son! You grasp at nothing!
He would disappear for days, then come home having a little money. He said he worked for it, but I never knew for whom or where. Then I would find little things that did not belong in our house… jewelry – silks – silver pieces. He said people who had no money paid him in these things. Being too trusting a father, I was silent and believed him.
One day two Roman soldiers were at my door. “Where is your son?” they demanded.
“He was identified running from the home of Avran, the money lender, and Imperial gold has been stolen.” I knew nothing, could tell them nothing. He had disappeared; gone for over a year.
See how he strains against the bonds. Oh please, let me touch him, give him water!
And the middle one, He cries that He is forsaken! Of course - forsaken. I don’t see His father anywhere. My son, I am here. I am at your feet. I won’t leave you. I was told that he was caught, and would face the death penalty.
Now here I am – in this horror.
The middle one shouts, “It’s done! I finished it!” And mumbling something, life goes out of Him like wind out a sail. The flame from a candle. “Today – Paradise”?
Oh my son, die quickly – die now – get it over. Oh no, the soldiers are coming to break your legs! God have mercy, let him die NOW! Die NOW! Oh no, no, no! Cling to those words – “Today! Paradise! Today – Paradise!” It is your only hope! Paradise! Today – Paradise – Paradise!!