This poem was inspired by an African-American Christian spiritual entitled "Were you there?"
Many centuries ago, on a Passover night
In a garden called Gethsemane, my Lord was in prayer
A crowd rushed upon, this precious Nazarite
And He was betrayed by a friend, as shouts filled the air
Yes when they arrested my Jesus, I was there
Take Him to the Sanhedrin, we will charge Him in court
This Man is not a king, but a Galilean Jew
Give false witness against Him, to lies we'll resort
Peter deny Him three times, before that unholy crew
I was in that courtyard, and denied Him too
We do not have the right, to perform the execution
To Pilate we'll take, this Man from Galilee
Roman justice will give us, the final solution
This King shall be crucified, and Barabbas set free
Did you walk with Jesus, to Calvary?
Give Him thirty-nine lashes, with a three-pronged whip
Fulfill the prophecy, by His stripes we will heal
Let the barbs sink in, give His back a good rip
Swing with your might, and watch the skin peel
I heard every crack, and witnessed His ordeal
Place our sins on His head, with a crown made of thorn
Press down on the crown, and watch the blood flow
Despise Him, ridicule Him, show Him your scorn
Intensify His pain, witness the death throe
And where were you, in that time long ago?
Pull out the hairs of His beard, strike Him on the face
In His right hand put a reed, in a purple robe let Him sit
Bow in mockery to the King, make Him a disgrace
Strike Him again, then cover Him with spit
Yes I was there, and watched Him submit
Let us journey now, to the place called the Skull
Put the cross on His back, can He stand up to the weight?
If You are the Messiah, then perform a miracle
And get away from these people, who are filled with hate
And I was in that crowd, on that famous date
Stretch Him out on the cross, drive a nail through each wrist
Fasten the feet together, with one long spike
Through the enormous pain, He does not seem to resist
Lift up the cross, lift it straight and high
I watched the hammer swing, and heard every strike
"The King of the Jews", nail over His head
Crucify the others, on the left and the right
Cast lots for His clothes, as His blood runs red
Look up in horror, at this terrible sight
And what were you doing, as day turned to night?
Watch Him raise up His body, and strain for each breath
Listen to the screams of the crowd, hear the women wail
It will be many long hours, before He is overcome by death
And He thought about me, as He hung by the nail
I stood on that ground, and saw every detail
"Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do"
See there's Mary and John, "Woman, behold your son"
The rulers sneered, "You saved others, save Yourself too"
But He held off His angels, until His mission was done
He fought the good fight, and the battle He won
The sun disappeared, from noon until three
And the veil of the Temple, down the middle did split
"My God, My God, why have You forsaken me"
"Father in Your hands, I commend My Spirit"
We watched Him breathe His last, as an earthquake hit
Tombs were opened, and Saints raised from their sleep
The soldiers feared greatly, as they felt the ground shake
The Centurion stood amazed, a new feeling began to creep
Could this Man be the Son of God, and not a fake?
And I cried in anguish, as He died for my sake
Take Him down off the cross, as sorrow fills the air
Lay Him on a slab, in rock hewn tomb
Wrap Him with linen, prepare His body with care
Seal up the entrance, of that sacred room
Did you weep for Jesus, in that day of gloom?
And behold the weeping is over, for on the third day
Became a time for rejoicing, the end of our woes
An earthquake occurred, the stone rolled away
And the tomb was found empty, Jesus had arose
Did you see the angels, in their dazzling white clothes?
He appeared to many, including the Eleven
And fulfilled the prophecies, as He had sworn
With His ministry now finished, He ascended into Heaven
In a transfigured body, He does now adorn
Were you there, when Christianity was born?
by George Konig
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