The Price

The story of the crucifixion of Christ is central to Christianity. Jesus was much more than a “wise teacher”, or perfect example of a “holy life”. The fall of Adam was huge. It was not just a silly story involving an apple; it was the pivotal event on which hinged the entire future and destiny of our world.

Veil of Veronica by FettiRewind to the beginning: God created this planet in perfection, populated it with plants and animals, and the pinnacle of His creation was Man. Of all creation on the planet, only Adam and Eve had the ability to resaon and think. And God gave them not only the ability to think for themselves, but also to choose whether or not to obey their Creator. God did not want to have unthinking animals who would cuddle up on His lap and purr like cats, or who would just follow Him everywhere like dogs, but beings with whom He could have fellowship (visit with, talk and interact with, and enjoy life together). He gave them ownership and responsibility to manage His creation. And, as it says in the account of creation documented in Genesis, “it was good”.

With the decision to listen to the fallen angel, Lucifer, Adam chose to disobey God’s command, and ate fruit from that tree, as did his wife, Eve. As I mentioned in this post, the consequences of this disobedience reverberated throughout the whole of creation. Romans 8:21 describes creation as being in “bondage to decay” – it was taken from what it was designed to be (perfect), and was changed to the world as we all know it.

It seems like such a little thing, one simple act of disobedience, and it radically changes the entire world. To fix this required not a simple solution; restoration of perfection required a perfect sacrifice. So God Himself took the form of a man, entered the world as a baby just like any other person, and lived a perfect life. He was then able to become the perfect sacrifice to make it possible to restore my relationship with God.

And that brings us back to the person of Jesus and what He had to do. The huge error of Adam required a huge price to pay to bring things back into order. And like most stories, it has details beyond the actual events. The trial and conviction of Jesus that resulted in a sentence of death by crucifixion was not isolated; there were two other criminals whose sentence was carried out on that fateful Friday. The Don Francisco song that I am featuring today, Too Small A Price, from his 1979 album Got To Tell Somebody, tells the story from the point of view of one of the two condemned men. Listen to the audio Bible reading from Luke 23:33-43, and then the story in song.

[As an aside: The song Too Small A Pricewas the last song on that 1979 album. When Francisco released his next album, The Traveler, two years later, it started with the same guitar solo that concluded Too Small A Price, implying a continuation of the song. I have here combined the two together to play them together. The second song, Joy, continues the story of the repentant thief crucified with Jesus, after his death. The song talks about Abraham, and a chasm; this is taken from the story of the rich man and Lazarus as told in Luke 16:19-31. Before Jesus’ redemption on the cross, the holy ones who died went to “Abraham’s bosom”, where they awaited final judgement; others went to torment in hell, and the chasm separated the two places.]

I awoke to hear the jailer turn the key and push the door
“Get out here!” he shouted, but I stayed there on the floor
Frozen in the terror that rose and filled my brain
For I knew what they intended; I could not face the pain

Then soldiers came into the cell and they dragged me to the yard
They threw me down before a cross and brought the whip down hard
“Carry it!” they shouted as I struggled to my feet
I put my shoulder under it, dragged it to the street

I stumbled through a wall of screams as they drove me through the gate
It seemed that thousands lined the streets, their voices filled with hate
Like a wolf pack in the night that moves in for the kill
They closed the gap and followed us as we started up the hill

And it seemed I’d barely reached the top when they grabbed me from behind
They threw the cross down under me and tied the ropes that bind
The arms close to the beams, as they nailed the feet and hands
Then they raised the cross up in the air and dropped it in it’s stand

Through a blur of pain I saw the cross there next to mine
There were people all around it so I looked to read the sign
It was nailed there up above His head so the world could see the news
That the man who seemed so helpless there was the King of all the Jews

Well, the crowd that stood around His cross made jokes about His name
They shouted, laughed and spat on Him, so I joined in the game.
Then I said, “Hey! if you’re the King, why don’t You get us down from here?
The taunt just sounded hollow, and it echoed in my ears

‘Cause He looked at me with eyes that seemed to reach into my heart
They shone a light on all my lies and tore my life apart
There was more that lay behind His gaze than simply blood and clay
But knowing was too much for me; I had to look away

Then I chanced another look at Him as He was looking down
Where the soldiers who’d just crucified us drank there on the ground
And although He spoke them quietly, somehow His words came through
He said, “Father, please forgive them; they don’t know what they do.”

Then as if they’d heard Him speaking, the crowd began to roar
Whipped to frenzy by the priests who urged them on to more
But the worse the accusations, now, the plainer I could see
The guilt of the accusers — not the One there next to me

Then the man upon the other cross began to curse and swear
And his voice was filled with venom as he hurled it through the air
And all the horror that was in him, and had laid his life to waste
Came out in every syllable he flung in Jesus’ face

And Jesus only looked at him, but something rose inside of me
And in spite of all that watched us there, it couldn’t be denied
Because His righteousness and innocence were shining bright and strong
I just couldn’t keep my silence, and that cursing still went on

And I cried out, “Don’t you fear the wrath of God, even at the end?
You’ll curse us both into the pit — is that what you intend?
We’re only getting what we’re due — we’ve sinned our whole lives long
But don’t you talk to Him that way — He’s done nothing wrong!”

Then with all my courage, in a voice not quite my own
I asked Him, “Lord, remember me when you come into your throne.”
He answered me and even then, His love was undisguised
He said, “Before the sun has set today, you’ll be with Me in Paradise.”

Well the shouts and curses did not stop even when the sunlight ceased
But somehow in the midst of it my soul had been released
And though the agony continued, it was still too small a price
To be allowed to hear those words, and to die
Beside the Christ!


Then darkness changed to dawning
I heard the sound of voices
The air was warm around me
I stood beside a stream

And Abraham was speaking
To the multitude before him
Of the unfolding of the answer
To our prayers and hopes and dreams

Then far across the chasm,
Came a rumbling like the thunder
And the Prince of Peace came shining
From his mouth the power streamed!

And the walls and towers crumbled
And the gates of hell went under
As thousands sang the victory
“We have been redeemed!”

Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
We have been redeemed!

Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
We have been redeemed!

Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!

Jesus is the Lord of all!

Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
We have been redeemed!

Got To Tell Somebody, Don Francisco, 1979
The Traveler, Don Francisco, 1981

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