The Preacher's Wife

He Turned and Looked At Me

I followed Him to Cal'vry
Along a rugged road,
I joined the crowd that thronged Him
As He bore His heavy load.
I saw His wounded, bleeding form
Nailed to a cruel tree.
I wondered why He suffered so,
And what His crime could be.

And then, He turned and looked at me
With eyes that pierced my soul,
So tender and forgiving,
As near His Cross I stole.
That gaze of Love and Sorrow said,
"I bear all this for thee."
Such love my heart had never known;
To think He'd die for me.

I knelt that day at Cal'vry,
Beneath that rugged Tree.
I felt the cleansing blood-drops
Bringing Peace and Joy to me.
I thought my grieving heart would break;
To think for me He'd die.
That hour I knew my life belonged
To Christ, The Crucified.

And then, He turned and looked at me
With eyes that pierced my soul,
So tender and forgiving
As near His Cross I stole.
That gaze of Love and Sorrow said,
"I bear all this for thee."
Such love my heart had never known,
To think, "He'd die for me."

all rights.ruthmartin.8-1-2001


While reading again the new-old story of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus, I found myself, as I often do when viewing That Day from this side of Calvary, trying to place myself at the scene in various situations and from different view-points. I have sometimes compared that history-turning , life-changing, event to a huge priceless jewel, cut with a multitude of facets, ever shining, constantly flashing brilliant points of light from directions overlooked before. We tend to see that awful, wonderful Day as a solitary event, and indeed it was and is and always will be, when the Sinless Savior gave Himself for sinful mankind, a once-for-all and for- all- time sacrifice of Divine Love and Atonement. But there were many smaller stories being lived that day. I believe every person present that day had to have felt his or her own inner reaction to what they saw taking place that day. Some felt horror, anger, revolt. His followers felt personal grief, loss, confusion, doubt, even fear. His mother felt her own heart break as she watched her Son's suffering. His enemies gloated, congratulated themselves, satisfied they had silenced the Carpenter and His teachings forever.

But there were many pilgrims and visitors to the city who knew little or nothing of what was happening on a hill outside the city.

I imagined myself a stranger in Jerusalem, knowing little of local customs, holy days and celebrations. Hearing loud voices raised from what sounded like a crowd of people I drifted toward the people rushing to and lining the narrow street. Curious, I looked toward what I gathered was a parade of some kind moving rapidly in my direction. I could see armed soldiers attempting to keep order as they moved down the street. In front of the on-coming crowd I saw a lone figure stumbling along beneath a heavy wooden cross-piece borne on His shoulders. Thinking this was probably a symbolic person dressed in what appeared to be bloodstained garments, I wondered what could this parade and this Man represent to these people. It seemed a cruel way to celebrate anything. And then, oh, horror, as the Man drew abreast of me, I saw that this was no celebration. I was witness to a real death-march , for a Man I did not know, for a reason I could not imagine. What terrible crime had He done to merit such agony, shame, and death? I saw His bleeding body, whip-lashes criss-crossing the weary, weak and broken form.

My eye traveled upward to the twisted wreath of huge thorns pressing down into his scalp and forehead like a travesty of a crown. I saw the rivulets of blood streaming down His face into His eyes.....into His eyes... His eyes. He turned His head slightly and those magnetic eyes met my own and I could not look away . No hatred, no anger, nothing but Love... such Love I never knew existed, boundless Love that knew no limits, and as His eyes held mine it was as though He spoke to my heart, in tender, compassionate words of Infinite Love."I bear all this for you, because I love you ." The soldiers shoved Him and He fell forward to the pavement. Dazed, unable to move or break the spell I was under, I watched a man they called Simon, forcibly drawn from the mob, forced to lift the heavy cross piece to his own broad shoulders and carry it beside the cruelly treated One they called Jesus. ....Jesus... what a lovely Name for the Owner of those eyes that pierced my very soul. I, too, was now drawn into the mob that followed after Jesus. Where else could I go? To Whom else could I go? Who else could I follow? Nothing else mattered. I only knew that I must be with Him. I no longer had any personal dreams, or desires, or goals.

Blinded by tears, I followed as the soldiers led Jesus outside the city limits, up a hill I heard someone call Golgotha, and numb with shock and grief I watched them drive spikes through His hands and feet, watched as rough hands raised Him on a cross, heard the cruel laughter and jests of the soldiers and some of the mob gathered around the cross. I crept to the foot of the rugged tree, kneeling in total love and surrender to the One who hung there, dying that I might live... forgiven, accepted in the Beloved, loved beyond measure. How could it be? Why should He love me so. As I knelt there, bent with contrition and sorrow, I felt something fall upon me, something wet and warm; falling, dripping, drop-by-precious drop , and with each scarlet drop I felt cleansing, healing, peace and joy flooding my grieving soul. And I gave Him myself was all I had to give. From that day, my heart, my life, my all- belongs to Jesus, the Crucified, Risen Lord .

(How well I remember the time when "He turned and looked at me")


Footnote: the following is an excerpt from a letter to the author's sister in response to her comments about the poem.

I WAS the stranger in the crowd, and so were you and everyone who has ever accepted Him as Savior and Lord. Even those who have not accepted Him are in the crowd, they just haven't looked into those Wonderful, Loving, Forgiving eyes. Who could ever reject Him after gazing into the eyes of Jesus Who looks with compassion into the deepest corners of our heart , sees all the sin hidden here, and still love us?.

Remember when Peter pledged to be loyal even to death and Jesus said "Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times." Peter did just that and in Luke 22:60-62 read: "And immediately while he yet spake(Peter's denial)the cock crew.AND THE LORD TURNED AND LOOKED UPON PETER....and Peter remembered .... AND HE WENT OUT AND WEPT BITTERLY.'" Actually this passage was the inspiration for the poem 'He Turned and Looked at Me'.

SO many times, when I have failed to stand true I have felt His eyes upon me and I like Peter have gone out and wept bitterly. Even now as I type, my eyes are blurred, my throat is tight wth a sob that is trying to escape. I have failed my faithful Lord so many times, but a look from HIM brings my weeping heart to it's knees in shame and repentance. That Look of Love is what drew me as a child. It still does.

Copyright ©Ruth Martin. All Right Reserved.


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