To all of you people willing to hear
of the story from a soldier of Rome,
It's the story of One that I now hold dear,
of One who is calling us home.
I remember well that day in that Judean city
When we brought to trial the "King of the Jews",
The mob screamed out for His blood without pity
And we wondered "simply for teaching good news?"
"We have no King but Caesar" was their loud claim
They wouldn't listen to reason
They wanted us to flog Him, torture or maim,
for an alleged high crime of treason.
Our Procurator questioned Him time after time
"Are You their King?" he would say,
But in Him he was unable to find any crime
And finally sent Him away.
Pilate then called for some water
A servant brought some in a pan
The Nazarene was handed over to us for slaughter
while Pilate said "I am innocent of the blood of this man."
The accused was led to a private square
To be flogged 39 times with the whip
That was when I first beheld Him there
As one man tore off His shirt with a rip.
For a moment I saw Him lift up His head
And I knew Him from days past
How could anyone want this kind man dead?
Was the question I wanted to ask.
This was the man who just a few weeks before
had told me "Your servant is healed."
My servant's health He did completely restore,
His love for us was revealed.
The whip continued to whistle through the air
I turned my head unable to gaze
Upon this innocent man with His back laid bare,
He never made a sound, I was amazed.
The men then took Him and used Him for sport
I could not stand to take part
The laughter and shouting echoed through the court
While I wrestled with the pain in my heart.
A beam was then strapped to His arms and back
and we headed up the narrow road
to Golgotha, through that howling pack,
while He stumbled under the load.
We at last made our way to the top
And we threw Him down to the ground
I secretly wished this nightmare would stop
His legs were then taken and bound.
What is this? It just cannot be
I was suddenly unbearably sad
The Tribune just handed the nails to me
Is the whole world going mad?
I cannot do this but do I have a choice?
I cried out to my gods above
It was then that I heard that beautiful voice
Filled with compassion and love.
"Father, forgive them," He said in His pain,
"They know not what they do,"
Just then the sky darkened and it started to rain
I wondered if what He had claimed was true.
I hesitated as I took the hammer and nail
How can I do this man harm?
But I must carry out my orders, I cannot fail
Just then He laid out His arm.
I looked at Him and considered His face
And I felt deeply ashamed
Despite pain, He reflected love, peace, and grace
How could such a man be blamed?
I breathed a prayer as I drove the nails through His wrists
then continued on to His feet
I thought "this man will sorely be missed"
I felt darkness, despair, and defeat.
As I watched Him hang in agony and grief
I wondered what His death had proved
I then heard Him promise paradise to the thief
and I was deeply moved.
"It is finished," I heard Him finally cry
and I realized this man was Divine
He breathed His last, I saw Him die
and I wanted His spirit for mine.
Why would His own people betray Him?
It seemed so extremely odd
My own soul began to crave Him
"Surely He was the Son of God."
Who could I talk to about Him?
I sought His disciples that day
I could no longer live without Him
I began to search, question, and pray.
I could not find His friends
they always hid from me
I just wanted to make amends
I wanted my spirit to be free.
I spent many long, lonely, anxious years
trying to answer His call
I struggled daily with doubts and fears
until I met a man named Paul.
It had been a long time but I had tried to stay true
serving in many lands and finally home
I had many questions, didn't know what to do
until I met Paul in Rome.
He told me the good news and led me in prayer
I welcomed His spirit into my heart
I was "born again" just standing there
I was white as snow with a clean, fresh start.
I couldn't help but witness every chance I got
For Caesar was no longer my Lord
Soon word got out and I was caught
and forfeited my head to the sword.
The next thing I knew I was at a gate
It swung open slowly, oh Rapture!
My soul leapt for joy, I couldn't wait
to see the One by whom my heart had been captured.
There He was with outstretched hands
And I kneeled before the One I had pierced
He took me gently and led me into indescribable lands
the One whom my heart holds dearest.
He waits for you, too, His precious child
He waits patiently longing to hold you
Stay true to His spirit, be not defiled
And please believe what I've told you.