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Just Hangin’: The Thief on the Cross

April 3, 2015

Meet Michael Mark, a spoken word artist who is following hard and fast after Jesus Christ. Right in time for Holy Week and along the lines of Heaven, How I Got HereMichael has written a poem based on the story of the thief on the cross from Luke’s Gospel in chapter 23.

Enjoy this entirely new perspective on the thief’s story in the form of spoken word:

Just Hangin’

I tell you the truth

I’m scared

Full of fear

The end is near

I’m just hanging here

As I suppose I should

My dank new dwelling two pieces of wood

I’m loaded with stress

And I could

I guess

Wrestle and strain

In the hope to relieve my pain

But I got to use my brain

It’s insane

To yell or beg or shout

There’s no way out

Without a doubt

My fabricated home is temporary

Any personal attachment unnecessary

Relocation is imaginary

Ain’t a damned thing merry

‘Bout waiting to be buried

But I’m just bein’ straight

That’s my fate

I can be irate at the state

And debate

Try to negate their dictate

But I ain’t gonna skate

This bucket I’m bound to kick

With a final groan

And then be picked


Like a chicken bone

All alone

But, wait, hold the phone

A slight turn to the right

And I see I’m not alone

Whoa, who’s that

Look at this cat

Been beaten to a pulp

I gulp

Back my horror

My man’s lookin’ so frail

At least I’m hung with ropes

This dude’s impaled with nails

And then I got the point

You know I just robbed a joint

But what’s really kinda odd

Is that he’s claimin’ to be God

Strollin’ through the streets with a 12 man squad

Although it seems to me they turned out to be soft

Cuz this guy’s hangin aloft

And they all took off

Seems that most of his family they done the same

I don’t know the brothers name

But despite his world of pain

He seems calmly steadfast in this unlikely claim

And, you know, what he be sellin’, I don’t plan to buy

And yet there’s something unignorable about this guy

I can’t identify why

But looking at his face it makes me want to cry

They scream epithets his way and he just don’t reply

He doesn’t mount a defense and he doesn’t defy

There’s a power emanating

But what does that imply

It’s as if contained within him is an endless supply

Of something indeed

Maybe something I need

And as I watch him bleed

And I attempt to gauge

I clue in on a truth that straight up fills me with rage

This message he’s purporting

If it’s true and clear

Then my neighbor has the chops to get me down from here

And I scream, “If you da man and see this scene so tragic…

Then throw down with these heathens, brother, work your magic.”

Yet limply he dangles silent as a clam

Head hung in supplication like a helpless lamb

And just as some choice words I thought I oughta be sayin’

I thought I’d come correct and let him know I’m not playin’

And then he started mumbling

Like his senses were strayin’

And in a moment it occurred to me

This man, he was prayin’

And not on his behalf for all his pain and his losses

He was prayin’ for the guys who hung us up on these crosses

My mind could not make sense of how this stranger lives

Who looks upon his murderers and then forgives

And my instincts told me that this was not coercive

But never had I seen something so subversive

A supernatural cadence streaming down from above

And it did something to my heart cuz it was filled with love

“My suffering is just,” I yelled, “my rap sheet is long…

“But this man is a prophet who’s done nothing wrong”

And as I shouted to the throng

All the agony and cries somehow became a song

I could hear it, it was beautiful

It told of a place

An eternal destination

I could see in his face

And as this picture of a kingdom  filled up the whole of my view

I knew

It came through all he was showing

It was an absolute assurance but a new kind of knowing

And I begged him, “please remember me when you get where you’re going

To taste his easy yoke and find relief from my strife

To implant his lightened burden into my life

I would’ve given anything,

Paid any price

But instead he looked into my eyes,

This one called the Christ

And said, “I tell you the truth,”

With a voice so gentle and nice

“Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Such a simple proclamation

Yet it’s emanation

A steadfast designation

That this declaration

Shifted my destination

From damnation

To salvation

And I was filled to overflowing

With a sense of elation

And so I hang here liberated from the whole of my sinning

All my losing has transformed into winning

My heart is changed

I feel light and I’m grinning

Gloriously anticipating a brand new beginning

As I conclude my time on earth

A rebirth

Care of my teacher

A new creature

Michael Mark is a pastor and a life coach who is all in for the gospel. His spoken-word poetry has been seen on church stages throughout the state, and he is also an educator in the field of addiction teaching the recovery model in hospitals, universities and other institutions.

The Author
Kristen Wetherell

Kristen Wetherell is a writer and Bible teacher. She has previously served as content manager of Unlocking the Bible. She is the author, along with Sarah Walton, of Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering (The Good Book Company, April 2017). She blogs at her website, and you can follow her on Twitter. She and her husband Brad are parents to their sweet daughter and members of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Itasca, Ill.

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