Never Too Late
By Josh "Yoshi" Burton
Chapter 1
"I don’t understand these mortals", Michael said as he scribbled the day’s events for the heavenly host records. "For four thousand years now everything has run smoothly, and now God is letting His creation crucify him. I cannot watch anymore - this is sick. It says I am to pick up Jeremiah, son of Hetzekiah. This guy is on a cross next to Jesus – there is no way I am here for him, but the big guy doesn’t make mistakes. Things are going to turn interesting here in a second if he does some how make get saved." Michael found this entire situation hard to believe, but he also knew that God had a plan for everyone and everything. The activity of the spirit realm had been intense for the last few days and was climaxing – at this moment. He saw two demons; Galeb and Mobite, sitting above Jeremiah’s cross as the black sludge of unforgiveness and sin ran down him like lava. There was no way this guy was going to heaven, but he wasn’t about to say anything out loud about it.
Jeremiah was battered and beaten, but not the point of brutality shown Jesus. Seeing the two of them together would make someone think that Jeremiah was on the cross for a vacation. His wounds were practically nonexistent, with the exception of the nails in his ankles and wrists. Jesus also had a few demons on his cross also, but because of the intense light his entire being emitted from within, they were unable to look at him. Michael liked to see the little monsters squirm, but it seemed their pain was being lessened. Could it be… yes, it seemed Jesus’ light was fading. He really was dying. There was an electricity in the air that either increased hatred or compassion towards Jesus. While some people mourned and others jumped for joy, the demon party was going full force. They were flying, dancing, and having necromantic orgies left and right. This was definitely a big event for both sides. Michael’s ex-friend Lucifer sat in the back and smiled to himself in triumph. The archangel, however, knew Christ was through death and looked forward to seeing the old devil’s face when Jesus emerged from the tomb. Through it all, Jeremiah failed to notice the excitement of the people below him, much less the paranormal activity. He was in an entirely different world of his own. Michael, knowing that Christ was withering, had to move quickly. He listened closely as the fading man reflected over his past and began to realize this was his final number. Most angels do not have the ability to read thoughts, but Michael could read Jeremiah’s pain like a book. As he considered his past and possible lack of future, he felt extreme anguish.
Chapter 2
Is this fair? Yeah, I deserve what I am receiving. This execution is because I killed that family three years back. It seemed like a good time, but look where it got me. Or… maybe I’m up here because I stole from that blind man. I have raped, murdered, robbed, beaten, and mocked everyone smaller or weaker than myself and here I am. My cross is definitely what I deserve.
Last night was scary. People mobbed my house and drug me out into the street. They stoned me, though not enough to do any real damage. This was not like any other stoning. The people were not in mass as they usually were. There had to have been something big going on in town. After about an hour the guards took me to the prison and shackled me to the wall. There I saw a man who looked to be the embodiment of love. I did not talk to him because I knew that he had to be a really good imposter to look so kind and gentle, yet be in here. This was a place for people like me – not a man like this. He was out of place.
The next morning they took him out before the council. I do not know what was said or what took place, but I do know that he was led out not much later and taken to Pilate for judgement. Ha! Everyone knew that Pilate would not have the guts to pass sentence on this man. Some thought that Jesus was a holy man… the son of God… who knows. Maybe he is, maybe he is not. Doubt I will ever know…
The mob took him to Herod whom found no fault in him and sent him promptly back to Pilate. Again, Pilate wanted nothing to do with him, but the angry mob insisted to have him crucified. I could not believe my eyes. The hatred towards this man was unbearable. What had he done? I had not heard yet, but it must have been terrible for the people to hate him so much.
There was another man in the prison. What was his name… oh yeah, Paul. He was just like me. In fact, together we had gone on several rape escapades just for laughs. We both did the crime and now we are both doing the time. He told me more about this man who thought himself to be God, or the son. His face was red with laughter as he talked about the guards and mobs stoning him. "You should have seen how the blood splashed against the wall when one of the guards hit him in the side of the head with sharp rock – it was great. The bastard deserves whatever he gets for saying he’s ‘the Son of God’. Like God even exists. One time, a guard placed a blindfold on him and asked him to identify which one of them was beating him." He continued for about an hour explaining how people urinated, defecated, spit, kicked, beat, whipped, and mocked this man. Any other time I would have thought this was great, but for some reason I didn’t find it enjoyable. What is going on with me? Am I turning soft? Why do I even care about this nutcase?
A few hours passed and the guards came for us. Up ahead I could see Jesus carrying his cross. He could barely move. There was something around his head that looked like a crown, but not like any crown I would ever seen. This one was brown and gnarled – almost twisted. The weight of that cross must have been the last straw because he dropped it and hit the ground. A guard began to beat him, but he could not get up. A man from the crowd was told to carry the block of wood and the procession went on.
Once we got to the top of the hill, Paul and I were laid out on our crosses. The initial pain of the nail piercing the flesh was terrible – worse than anything I could have ever imagined. It went away only to be replace with a few more strikes of the hammer. I could feel the nail going through my wrist into the wood. Every time the hammer struck, the nail would vibrate making my whole arm hurt. When I thought the whole ordeal had come to an end, they started with the other hand. Again, the intense pain, the flesh ripped, and the vibrations rocked through the wood and into my body. "ENOUGH!!!" I cried. "Haven’t you done enough?", I shouted through tears, my voice barely audible through the screams. The guards just laughed and went down to my feet. I did not have the strength to fight anymore. I just let them nail away. My bones shattered with the force of the hammer.
When they had finished, I looked at my hands and feet. The blood ran, but not how I thought it would have. In the past, I have killed many men by cutting their wrists and blood flowed like a river, but my blood was barely a stream. My ankles had bones protruding through the skin. There was more blood there, but not enough to kill me. This was going to be a slow death and the pain from my hands and feet were slowly coming back to me. I closed my eyes and tried not to think about it. If I can just lie still I will be fine. Paul screamed from his nails pierced his flesh and bone. Soon after, I heard screams of anguish from Jesus. I felt for him, but was disgusted with myself for it.
The time had come for the hanging. Guards surrounded my cross and stood it upright. The pain from hanging from my hands and feet was unbearable, but nothing compared to when they dropped the cross into the hole. Flesh ripped, bones popped. I thought I would fall off, but nothing happened. Now all that is left is death.
 Chapter 3
Michael felt for Jeremiah as Galeb began to celebrate his victory over this soul. Mobite had some drool running from his mouth in anticipation. By now Jesus’ was fading to darkness. Satan and his minions all held their glasses up waiting to toast the death of God. Jeremiah just hung there with his head down sobbing aloud. Paul, on the other cross, completely covered in the black sludge, yelled insults at Jesus. Some of it was spit from his mouth as he spoke, sweated through his pours, and ran out of his eyes. The poor man was apparently filled with one of Satan’s imps. He did not even seem to feel the pain of the cross anymore, but was taking joy from getting his last licks in on the Holy One. Michael looked up at the sun and knew it was would be the third hour soon. Something better happen soon or Jeremiah would be lost for eternity.
 Chapter 4
I know what I have done, and I know that I deserve this… this… execution/torture/humiliation. I have not cried since I was three or four. Why now when I have lived a full life and enjoyed every minute of it. Why do I care now? I can see Jesus next to Paul and me on the other side almost feeling pleasure from the pain. What a sick man. How could I have been his friend? And this man… Jesus… he is dying, being crucified for no reason. I can see the love in his face. This man has no sin in him – he is perfect, yet he is being hung up here with the likes of us. "God, help me to see the truth. Is this your son?"
 Chapter 5
Michael had not been paying attention, but something had happened that he missed. "Michael, tell Jeremiah that this is my son who I have chosen. Tell him to listen to him." He nearly dropped his clipboard. He knew better than to let his mind wander, but he wasn’t perfect either. Angels were God’s creation before man, but God did not give them the right to choose. They could choose God, but did not have the right to do so. After a third of them rebelled and were banished to earth, God made a new creation to love and choose Him. Man was made in God’s perfect image. Man had the right and the choice to choose God. "Adam was an idiot," Michael thought. Michael knew he could cross over if he wanted to, but also knew there was no coming back.
Instantly he flew over to Jeremiah, summoned up as much of heaven’s glory as possible and shot God’s light all over the Galeb and Mobite. They screamed and took off in fear. The demons looked scary but they knew that they would not be able to beat the angel that put down their master thousands of years ago. Michael did not even look over his shoulder to see if Satan had noticed him. Every host of heaven knew that Satan would be having his eyes on Jesus waiting for death. Satan and his minions could not see the man on the cross. They saw only God, and he was dying right in front of them. Satan would not miss this moment for the world, even with his ex-friend sitting on a cross next to Jesus.
"Jeremiah, look at Jesus. He is the son of man and God. Listen to him." Michael had to scream it so that he could hear his own voice over the racket of the demons as they foamed at the mouth in anticipation of what they thought was their reign. Jeremiah looked up as if he heard something, but his head went back down again. The sludge was still covering him, but it was only on the outside. He was not possessed like his friend was. Jesus must have heard his father talking and began to raise his head. All Michael could do now was hope that Jeremiah made the right decision. There were only minutes left until Christ died.
 Chapter 6
I want to believe, I really do, but I cannot. Or is believing as hard as I think it is. This must be the Son of God. Who else could have survived all he has been through? Maybe I should just ask him. I can see him through the corner of my eye. I know now that it is a crown of thorns that is head. He is bleeding from the head… badly. I can see the gash where the rock had hit him on the cheek. The blood, sweat, and tears run down his face. I still do not know why he is up here, but it is not right. He is not guilty of anything. He has done no wrong.
 Chapter 7
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!?!?" screamed at the top of his lungs. His time was running out and Jeremiah was not reacting as Michael wanted him to.
"Come on, come on. Ask him, tell him, say something," Michael said out loud to Jeremiah knowing well that only Jeremiah’s spirit could hear him. The hanging man would not be able to hear the celestial spirit in the physical realm.
 Chapter 8
I cannot take anymore of Paul’s abuse. I cannot listen anymore. "Paul, don’t you fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting our just punishment, but this man has done nothing." I cannot believe I am crying so hard for this man. My eyes hurt from tears, this man must be the Son of God. I want to be with him… I want to be with Him! "Jesus… Jesus, when you get to your kingdom will you please remember me?"
 Chapter 9
"What?", Michael yelled with happiness and relief at the same time. "Praise God!" Jesus lifted his head with what life he still had in him and looked over at Jeremiah. There was so much pain, but still joy simply from the fact that Jeremiah believed. He began to cry, the tears ran into the blood and sweat and together ran down his body until it dripped to the ground. Through a raspy and tired voice he said to Jeremiah with a smile, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." With the last remark fading from his lips, he yelled out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" With that his light went out. Satan and his minions cheered, and returned to their drunken necromantic orgies. They cheered even more when they saw His spirit leave and shoot straight into Hell. The powers and principalities followed until the place was cleared.
Jeremiah began to weep even louder than before. His face was tight and rivers of tears ran down his cheeks. He had salvation. Something he’d never known. What he could not see was the sludge was gone and he shown with the light of Christ. Michael looked on in shock. "I’ve never seen that before…", he said to himself under his breath. "I thought they had to make sacrifice to be cleansed". He did not yet know that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for the mortals. It was not long before Jeremiah passed on, but his spirit shot straight up into heaven to be with the Father.
Now only Paul remained and left hanging next to two corpses. The crowds began to dissipate, and he no longer had anyone to yell along with him. No one cared and no one stayed. He yelled at people to come back, but to no one did. A few stayed behind to jeer him, which he did not take kindly, but was too weak to do anything about it. The demons inside him left to join the party in Hell. The pain shot through him and he screamed until he breathed his last breath. Only two demons remained: Galeb and Mobite. There was no way they were leaving empty handed. Paul’s spirit was bright red and shot straight through the ground with the two demons in tow. Michael always felt for the mortals that went to Hell. God never meant it for them, but for the fallen angels and demons. However, if mortals failed to choose God, they would be punished accordingly.
It all happened so fast, but was now over… or so it seemed. The sky began to turn black and there was a terrible commotion in town. The priests were running all around screaming for God to save them. Michael looked around in horror. He could not believe his own angel eyes. Did Jesus just go to hell? Had the Devil won? This could not be happening. The ground began to shake as demons spilled out of every crack in the ground. Only Hell freezing over could cause this much panic in the underworld. It seemed judgement day had come early and they were running in any direction to get away from whatever it was that scared them. The mortals were falling all over themselves from the earthquake, but had no idea that there were demons running through them, around them, and on top of them to get away from the great horror below. Michael’s curiosity was peaked he had to know what was scaring them so badly.
He did not have to wait long. Like a sunrise straight from the center of the earth, the glory of heaven rose. The son of man was coming back up and was holding the keys to heaven. He had left the ground and was already out of site in the sky, Satan followed looking madder than ever. He had just lost a major battle. If the demons were not running from God rising from Hell, they were running from the fury of Satan. Michael looked Satan in the eye, winked and smiled, and then began his ascension into the sky. Behind him he could hear Satan yelling something about getting another chance in two thousand years with the antichrist, but did not care. The war was over, God had won, man would reap the benefits, and He could finally pass his inheritance of Heaven to the mortals through the death of His son. Michael’s job was finished and he could go home.
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