How much did Jesus hurt
when He hung on the cross?
His palms like mine, His crown
—didn’t they ache?
His body fragile, but His heart
—wasn’t it strong,
stronger than mine?
Was His spirit prey to fear
and sadness just like my own?
Did He know the way despair presses
heavy, steady on the chest?
Did He drag His feet uphill, His obedience
heavier than the beam on His back?
Did His feet take Him where
His heart could not fathom?
Could His heart fathom it?
Is that why He pleaded for a different cup
—because fear crippled Him so?
Because loneliness had encompassed Him
while His friends slept in the dark?
Because His friends could not commiserate,
because no one could?
Is it possible He felt more pain
in Gethsemane, a garden, than on the cross?
That the distress of relenting His own will
eclipsed torture and shame?
That His heart lagged, even for a moment,
behind the words Your will be done?
Did He pray His Father’s will three times,
hoping it would become His own?
Was He reluctant to die? Was He unsure
He could follow through with it?
Or was He fulfilled, pleased, as nails
pinned His body just above the ground?
Did He waver even for a second? Did He
think about coming down?
Illustration by Eleni Debo