Tue | Sep 28, 2021

Garth Rattray | Barefoot on the Cross

Published:Tuesday | April 6, 2021 | 12:11 AM

Many people feign belief in our Heavenly Father. Their lifestyle, behaviour, and mindset speak volumes about what they truly ‘worship’. Many forget that the spiritual path requires sacrifice and that we are all the children of our Heavenly Father. We should do what we can to help one another.

Yeshua became a vessel for the Holy Spirit, but He was also a man. And as a man, He experienced emotions similar to those common to any of us. Besides hunger, thirst, heat, cold, pain, and pleasure, He had to have experienced temptation and fear. Although His mission was clear to Him and to those around Him, as revealed in the Holy Book, He had trepidation about submitting Himself to humiliation, torture, pain, and capital punishment by crucifixion. Matthew 26:39 states: He “… fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt”.

Crucifixion was reserved for disgraced soldiers, criminals, and non-Romans. It was an extremely painful and punishing way to die. The person was tied and sometimes nailed to a (wooden) cross. Both arms were outstretched on the horizontal pole and the feet affixed to the vertical pole in such a way that the knees were at about 45 degrees. The cross was elevated to an erect position and the victim left to hang until dead.

DEATH DIDN’T COME SWIFTLY

But death did not come swiftly. The victim’s body would hang until the arms became so tired that they could no longer offer the support needed to breathe sufficiently. The victim would inevitably use the legs for support, but they too would wear out. Those that lasted too long would have their lower limbs broken to force their bodies to hang solely from the arms. Death occurred by very slow and painful suffocation – because the chest cavity could not function while restricted by the weight of the hanging body. Imagine sacrificing yourself to that for the sake of others. This poem came to me in June 2020. It is now a copywritten hymn.

His little feet were tiny, but one day they would grow,

To help fulfil the prophecy, that we’ve all come to know.

His only purpose here, was to die to save our souls,

To suffer for our sins, from His head down to His toes.

He became a model young man, studying the scriptures of old,

But one day He’d make His own mark, of His life this was foretold.

Obedient to His parents, but to His Heavenly Father even more,

He knew what He was here for, he knew what was instore.

Those feet took Him to places, far away from home,

He avoided worldly vices, from God’s words he never roamed.

He dedicated His whole life, with just one thing in mind,

To teach us how to love God and to each other be kind.

But His message was too radical, too far from the old ways,

High priests would lose most of their power, they’d have too many strays.

So, they conspired to get rid of Him, they found every excuse,

But they did not realise, that if they win, they also lose.

They won the earthly battle, to condemn and crucify God’s Son,

But lost the spiritual battle, the fight for our souls was won.

The feet that carried Him to people, to teach and spread the word,

Now took him to Calvary, so that His message would be heard.

Feet that once wore sandals, over rock, grass, soil and sand,

Now stripped of all protection, by someone with an evil hand.

Whipped and crowned with thorns, at last His mission fulfilled,

They thought they silenced his voice, but His message can never be killed.

Barefoot on the cross, tied and nailed to a tree

Barefoot on the cross, he sacrificed all for you and me.

Barefoot on the cross, torture of body and soul He bore,

Barefoot on the cross, our sins He took for ever more.

Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.