Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar M.D.,
Bible In Poetry: Gospel Of St. Matthew (Chapter 27) - Poem by Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar M.D.,
By morning, elders and chief priests
Decided to put Him to death;
They led Him bound and handed Him
Over to Governor Pilate.
On seeing Jesus condemned thus,
Judas regretted deeply for
What he did to Jesus then.
He gave the silver pieces back
To chief priests and elders and said:
‘I have betrayed innocent blood! ’
But they said, ‘What is that to us? ’
He flung the money in temple
And went and hanged himself, that day;
The chief priests gathered the money,
For it was unlawful to place
The ‘price of blood’ inside temple.
They bought the potter’s field with it,
As burial place for foreigners;
That field is still called ’Field of Blood.’
Thus came to be fulfilled prophet
Jeremiah’s prophetic words!
The governor queried Jesus:
‘Are you the king of Jews, tell me? ’
And Jesus answered, ‘You say so.’
And when accused by the chief priests
And elders, He made no answer;
Then Pilate said, ‘Do you not hear
The things they utter against you? ’
But He didn’t answer him a word;
The governor was so perplexed.
Now on the occasion of Feast,
The governor would release one
Prisoner, whom people had wished.
A notorious prisoner then,
Called Barabbas was ushered in;
Then Pilate asked of them, ‘Which one
Do you want me to release now-
Barabbas or the Messiah? ’
For, he knew that out of envy,
They had handed Jesus to him.
While being seated on his bench,
His wife sent him a caution note:
Do not trouble the righteous man,
I suffered in a dream of Him.’
Howev’r, the chief priests and elders
Had persuaded the crowds to ask
The release of just Barabbas.
So when the governor asked them,
They cried, ‘Release just Barabbas! ’
‘What shall I do with Jesus then? ’
When Pilate asked, they cried aloud,
‘Let Him be crucified to death! ’
‘What evil has He done? ’ he asked.
They shouted loud, ‘Crucify Him! ’
As Pilate knew, he wouldn’t succeed,
And riot could break amidst crowd,
He washed his hands with water and
Said, ‘I’m innocent of this blood! ’
The people then cried in reply,
‘Let His blood be upon us then,
And upon our very children! ’
Then Pilate released Barabbas.
And Jesus was afterwards scourged
And handed to be crucified.
The governor’s soldiers took Him
Inside the praetorium wherein,
The whole cohort had gathered there.
And having stripped His clothes off Him,
They threw a scarlet cloak instead.
They wove a crown of thorns for head,
And in His right hand, placed a reed, .
And kneeling before Him, they mocked:
‘Hail, the King of Jews of the world! ’
They spat upon His divine face,
And used the reed to strike His head;
They took away the cloak on Him,
And dressed Him in His own old clothes,
Then led Him to be crucified.
They asked a Cyrenian named
Simon, to help Him carry cross.
And when they came to Golgotha,
A place, meaning place of the skull,
They gave Him gall-mixed wine to drink.
And after crucifying Him,
They divided His clothes through lots;
They sat and kept watch over Him;
They wrote above His head the charge:
‘This is Jesus, the King of Jews! ’
Two persons too were crucified,
One on His right, other on left;
Some passing by, reviled at Him
And said, ‘You told you would destroy
The temple, rebuild in three days,
If you’re Son of God, save yourself,
And come down from the cross at once! ’
Like-wise the scribes, chief priests, elders,
All mocked at Him and remarked thus:
‘He saves others but couldn’t Himself!
If He be king of Israel then,
Let Him un-nail Himself from cross,
And we shall then believe in Him! ’
‘He put His trust in God wholesome;
Let God deliver Him right now
For, He said, ‘I’m the Son of God! ’
The persons crucified with Him,
Abused Him also in same way.
From noon onwards, there came darkness
Over the land, till three o’clock!
At three o’clock, then Jesus cried
Out in loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli,
Lema sabachthani? ’ which means
My God, my God, why forsake me?
Some by-standers who heard this said,
‘The man is calling Elijah! ’
So, one of them brought out a sponge,
And soaked in wine, upon a reed,
And held it to His lips to drink.
The rest said, ‘Wait, let us now see
If Elijah comes to save Him! ’
Then Jesus cried again aloud,
And gave His spirit up to God.
Behold, the sanctuary’s veil tore
In two from top to bottom then;
The earth too quaked as rocks got split!
Opened were many tombs of saints
Who had been dead but raised again,
And appeared to men in city!
The centurion and men on guard,
Got frightened by the quake that came,
And said, ’Truly, this was God’s Son! ’
There were some women standing there;
From Galilee, they followed Him;
They were Mary Magdalene and
Mary, mother of James, Joseph;
And mother of Zebedee’s sons.
When evening fell, a rich man came
From Arimathea called Joseph,
Disciple of Jesus, as well;
He requested Pilate to hand
Over the body of Jesus,
And Pilate ordered to take it.
Then Joseph wrapped the whole body
In white linen, from head to foot,
And laid it in a tomb anew,
That had been hewn from solid rock.
They rolled a stone that was so huge
Across the entrance of the tomb,
And went away as both Marys
Were sitting there, facing the tomb!
The chief priests and the Pharisees
Gathered before Pilate, next day
And said, ’Sir, while alive, He said
Three days after, He’ll be raised up!
So, give orders to close the grave,
Lest disciples steal Him away
And tell the people, ‘He’s risen! ’
So, Pilate said. ‘The guard is yours;
Secure it as best as you can.’
They went and rolled a stone across
The entrance of the tomb and sealed
And placed their guards to protect it!
Copyright by Dr John Celes 6-15-2007
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