sound of horses and men marching quickly could be heard and then a
garrison of Roman soldiers passed us heading for the village. The
clatter of their weapons and the stamping of their feet almost deafened
us as they passed.
When we arrived
at the village it was in turmoil. The soldiers had searched the
houses for rebels and had arrested five men whom they were treating
harshly. The villagers were gathered around begging the Romans to
free the men. They proclaimed the innocence of the men and called
for their release. The Centurion on his horse would not listen and
ordered his soldiers to push the crowd back.
As they did
a young boy broke free and ran forward crying, "Father, father."
A large burly soldier hit him very hard with his closed fist and
the young boy, who was about four years old, fell to the ground
and began to convulse. The crowd became silent as the officer boomed,
"You fool, he is only a child !"
jumped from his horse and leaned over the child who had stopped
convulsing and was now dead. As he removed his helmet tears were
seen running down his face and he cried, " He is only a child, a
baby. My son is this age, a baby." He began to sob from his heart.
I walked forward
as the crowd parted to make way for Me. The soldiers looked as if
to stop Me when someone shouted, "It is Jesus of Nazareth, the great
prophet, the great healer." Hearing this, the soldiers stood back
and I went to the child. The Centurion looked at Me and said, "Can
In his heart
I could see a lost soul, one full of the pain of the work he did,
full of death and destruction... but hidden behind this confusion
I could also see compassion, love and hope.
was My reply as I leaned forward and picked up the child.
"But he is
dead," said the soldier who had hit the boy, "There is nothing You
can do now."
I gave him
a soft smile and said, "My Father, who sent Me, saves or takes life. It is His to command...
and if it is His will that this child lives then he will live."
Then Your Father
must be a magician," said the soldier.
"No, My Father is the God of Creation who made all things and
it His will that this child lives."
As I said this
the child awoke crying, "Mother !"
stood back amazed as the child's mother came and took him... full
of joy, full of thanks and praising God for His mercy. The soldiers
were still staring at Me as the crowd began to praise God in unison.
"Who are You?" shouted a soldier in fear.
am", I said and the crowd became silent.
of an answer is that? I asked who You are and You say, 'I am'?"
am the Son, I am the Lamb and I am the forgiveness of God."
The Centurion jumped on his horse nervously and snapped at his men,
"Set those prisoners free. We do not want them." He looked at Me
and gave a nod of thanks as he rode off leading his men from the