(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is the actual first step taken in my attempt to lead others to the beauty of the place I have arrived. While this is not the first blog post I wrote after being released from prison, it is the first one written here, the others having been posted in the original Oakdale Chronicles and being intended for an audience either incarcerated, facing incarceration, or their families.
This should have been where I started yesterday, but – well, never mind. Here it is, and I believe it contains some thoughts worth pondering. I hope you agree.)
“The Beginning of the Journey”
In ancient times, the crucifixion of murderers, bandits, or other enemies of the state was commonplace and the public display of such an extraordinarily cruel and presumably painful method of punishment would likely have provided a deterrent to many who might consider similar actions as those condemned to that fate. It is easy to imagine that such an event drew large crowds, much like the hangings popular in the wild west of this country in the 1800’s.
A little over two thousand years ago, one man in particular was nailed to a cross, along with two robbers, and he hung there until it was determined there was no longer any life in his beaten and bloodied body. This man was different than the men on either side of him, he was different than all those who were crucified before him, and he was also different from all who would come after him. It is probably safe to assume the crowds for this particular execution were bigger than all others. After all, this was no ordinary robber or murderer. This was the man they called Jesus of Nazareth who was purported to be the long-awaited Messiah.
This was the man who claimed to be the Son of God.
The fact that a man named Jesus died on a cross has never really come into question. Conversely, his claim to be the Son of God has been debated, disputed, and denied ever since. However, if this man’s claim were untrue, I would be unable to type these words you are reading. If this man’s claim were untrue, I would still be a prisoner.
But I am alive today because of his death on the cross, and I am freer than I have been in my entire life. Simply put, my ability to type these words comes from the fact that He is who He claimed to be, and over time I will demonstrate how I have come to believe this to be true. It is my prayer that, also over time, those who do not believe Jesus of Nazareth truly is the Son of God will come to search their own hearts and discover their own ability to trust that our only Hope is in God, and believe in the truth that He loves each one of us so much He allowed His only begotten Son to die in a horrible manner in order that we all might gain eternal life.
My name is Tony Casson. I am glad you have decided to visit and I hope you come back. I look forward to getting to know you, to all of you getting to know me, and all of us getting to know God.
Come along and discover just how beautiful the path to freedom can be.