He Cannot Save Himself

He Cannot Save Himself is a poem I wrote some years ago for Good Friday. It presents an account of the crucifixion based on the Gospels in scripture. I want to go ahead and post it now, a couple of weeks before Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter, so that my readers have time to share it. If you wish to reblog, share on social media, or even print the poem in a church bulletin or elsewhere, feel free to do so just give the original author a by line. This photo is one I took myself, of a crucifix hanging in my office.


He Cannot Save Himself
A poem for Good Friday

Many questions were asked of him, though no answer was heard.
Pilate pressed him to respond, but Jesus spoke not a word.

As prophesied by Isaiah, like a lamb he was silent.
Which angered the crowd even more, and they began to riot.

Governor Pilate faced the Jews, and in order to honor custom,
told them that at their choosing, he would release one prisoner among them.

He knew that Jesus was delivered out of envy, malice and vice.
But the crowd choose Barabbas, shouting “Crucify Jesus Christ.”

Pilate washed his hands before them, saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood.”
The crowd said “Let his blood be upon us, and upon our sons.”

They stripped off his own garments, placed on him a robe and crown.
And then pretended to worship, before him kneeling down.

They placed on his head a crown made of thorns.
Then they spat, hit and slapped him, and mocked him to scorn.

They compelled the man Simon to carry his cross.
And divided his garments, by casting lots.

They made for him a sign, placed over his head.
“This is Jesus, King of the Jews” the words read.

Thieves were crucified with him, on his left and his right.
One was loud and boastful, the other more humble, contrite.

“We are guilty of our crimes, and deserve to die this way.”
And when Jesus saw his faith, promised paradise that day.

“He cannot save himself” they mocked, as his blood fell to the ground.
But they were crucifying an innocent, in whom no guilt was found.

This was God’s plan of salvation, established before there was time.
Each event had been prophesied, and now fell perfectly in line.

The trial, the false witness, his hanging on a tree;
It was all prophesied clearly in Isaiah fifty-three.

So the words of their mocking are actually true, you see.
He could not save himself, for on the cross… he saved me.

-Clark Bunch

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