As part of a series of sermons for Easter 2019, area artists including myself collaborated on a mural piece – each part representing a point of view of the crucifixion and ressurection.
The perspective I was assigned was that of the soldiers – Fear and Despair. Imagine being a Roman Soldier assigned with the task of crucifying the Son of God. You may not have believed it at first. So you did your job as you should have, but as you were hammering the nails into the hands, you heard the screams and the claims from the Man. You brush them off. You step back as you finished your deed, the man lets out his last words and breath. You go home to wash up and call it a night.
A few days later there’s a racket in town. You go out to realize that the man you just put to death the night before has risen from the dead. You still don’t believe it, until you see it with your own eyes.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.Matthew 28:1-4
As a soldier, imagine the sight. Imagine the fear – a dead man you put to death is now alive. You just killed the Son of God – He really is who he claims to be, and you’re also going to have to answer to the High Priest. The world as you know it is collapsing in on you. The overwhelm makes you dizzy and faint. Reality isn’t real any more. You need to lay down, and sleep. It has to be a dream.