Step Up With Steph


Written by Emmanuel Iduwe

I knew I would have to pay for my crimes someday, but I figured it would be a little longer down the road. I still remember clearly the morning the soldiers arrested me. I had let my guard down, talked too much to the wrong people and didn’t observe my usual routine. “If only I had been more careful, and done things a little differently, I might have gotten away with all of it” I thought to myself.

Here I am now, sitting on the cold, filthy floor in a corner in my cell, awaiting my inevitable end; death by crucifixion. Earlier that day, one of the soldiers had forced me to carve out my own cross, and ensured it was carved to be as uncomfortable as possible. All to cause me the most pain. Life in the prison cell was unbearable. Even the air in the cell was contaminated with an awful smell, perhaps an inmate that had been dead for a few days. Despite this, I was in no hurry to get to the cross. I would rather lie on the floor and endure the life draining conditions in the cell, which I thought was much better than the cross.

I sat in my cell, cold and alone, left with nothing but my thoughts. The soldiers thought it would be best to completely isolate me from other prisoners. Well, who can blame them? Considering what happened to my last cellmate. I can’t control what happens when I get angry and frustrated. There I sat, now faced with my depressing reality. The feeling of sorrow began to grow inside me. Not because I was repentant or remorseful for the things I had done, but for the fact that I had been so careless and allowed myself to be caught, now facing the death penalty.

“Today you will meet your end”! One of the soldiers roared at me.

They often came to check on me, once in a while, to make sure I wasn’t trying to escape or dying of exhaustion before I got to the cross. The mocking remarks were just a side note for the soldiers. They would often prod me with their long, sharp spears, compounding on the mental and physical suffering they had subjected me to.Being so lost in my thoughts, I was detached from the happenings around me. I managed to steer my mind back to reality in preparation for the worst. I was soon jolted where I sat by a resounding command from the chief warden.

“Get that criminal Barabbas out here now”!

Suddenly, I heard the frightening sound of the soldier’s boots as they made their way to my cell. I watched as one of my tormentors fumbled with the keys before opening the rusty cell door. I didn’t even struggle as I normally would when two soldiers forced me to my feet, one by each side. What was the point? This was the end of the road for me.

The soldiers led me out of the prison gates, further and further away, towards the house of Pontius pilate. A large crowd had gathered outside Pilate’s house chanting and murmuring. “They must be demanding that my execution be expedited” I thought to myself as soon as we got closer. My captors finally set me down before the crowd. Seeing their numbers, a new wave of fear enveloped me. Then Pilate began to address the crowd.

“My people, settle down now. As it is our custom to pardon one criminal before the feast of the passover, which one do you want me to release to you; Barabbas, or Jesus who is also called the Messiah?”

I closed my eyes and bent my head, sure who the crowd would pick. It would surely be me. After all, I was guilty. Then I heard the chants and the screams.

“Crucify Jesus”! “Crucify Jesus”! “Crucify him”!

“We want Barabbas!” “Free Barabbas to us”!

This sounded too good to be true. I concluded I was hallucinating, and what I was hearing was not to be trusted. Do they really demand my release and Jesus’ execution? I was confused, unsure of the implications. Was I going to be a free man, or is this all some cruel joke?