We were called to a place near the city gate,
To the crest of Golgotha’s Hill,
Where we led three men condemned to die,
The two against their will.
I offered them wine, one turned his head,
His garment we found nearby,
Then while we gambled his raiment away,
Blackness darkened the sky.
A soldier of Rome, a legionnaire,
Battle-scarred and worn,
I spiked his feet and hands then raised
Him high on that dismal morn.
I lifted my head in the gathering gloom,
And looked at his ravaged face,
Yet etched in his eyes I saw such love
The pain could not displace.
His gaze it pierced my empty soul,
“I thirst,” I heard him say.
So I wetted a sponge with sour wine,
He drank and then turned away.
Lifting himself to catch his breath,
His eyes swept side to side.
“Tis finished,” then, I heard him say,
Then bowed his head and died.
Who can tell of this Nazarene?
A carpenter’s son, ‘tis said.
But He died on my watch at Calvary,
And for my sins He bled.
And who can escape the gaze of the One,
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Who died all alone on that tree?
Where He took on the sins of a legionnaire,
And paid the price for me.