By Mark Kodama
- Birth of Jesus Christ
Prince of Peace, Son of God, Son of Man,
Virgin birth in a trough in Bethl’hem
Bring the word of the Lord to wick’d man.
The Lord’s Angel to Mary did say,
Call the Son “Jesus” on Christmas day.
He is Emanuel, light of our way.
Three wise men bearing gifts from the east,
Followed the North Star on three beasts,
To give God’s only son gifts of peace.
Jesus lay in a manger for animal feed,
From this poor birth he would learn to lead.
Humble boy change the world with your deeds!
The child in swaddling clothes did not stir,
The magi knelt yielding their treasure,
Gifts of gold, frankincense and sweet myrrh.
King Herod vowed to slay the lamb
So Joseph left to Pharaoh’s land,
Escaping the wrath of Herod’s hand.
Herod ended his bloodthirsty day,
Body and mind putrid, wasting away.
Joseph came home forever to stay
John the Baptist, the itinerant preacher,
Gathered his flock at the Jordan River
Immersing them in the sacred waters.
John, wearing a camel hair jerkin,
Loin cloth fashioned from animal skin,
Called on his sheep to repent their sins.
A voice in the wilderness for all to hear
“Prepare for the Lord and live not in fear
For the kingdom of God is always near.”
Jesus came to John for the sacrament
And was baptized said the New Testament
To God’s great satisfaction and assent.
Herod Antipas sentenced John to death.
John condemned him for divorcing Phasaelis,
And marrying his brother’s wife Herodias.
III. The Wilderness
Jesus fasted in the wilderness
For forty days He did suppress
His hunger. He did not acquiesce.
Satan confronted Jesus after His privations,
Offering Him three temptations.
His refusal was our salvation.
Satan visited Christ now close to dead:
“Son of God turn these stones into bread.”
The evil one cast from heaven said
But Jesus. son of God, demurred
And said: “Man shall not, have you heard,
Live by bread alone but by the word.
The Devil brought Jesus to the pinnacle
Of the temple according to the gospels
“If you are the son of God jump from the temple.”
“Angels will save you if you fell.
Jesus said: “It’s written once again,
That to test the Lord God is a sin.”
Satan brought Jesus to a mountain on high
Where all lands within sight of the eye
Were promised if He would just deny.
Great kingdoms of the world Christ did see,
“All these things, I will confer on Thee,
“If you will fall down and worship me.”
Jesus said: “Satan get thee away,
For the Lord God the Shepherd did say.
“Only serve Me and follow My way.”
IV. The Disciples
Jesus began his ministry Capernaum,
At the port of Zebulon in Lebanon.
Fishermen cast their nets in the ocean.
Jesus saw two fishermen,
The brothers Andrew and Simon
Jesus said “I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus then met the sons of Zebedee,
James and John with family,
He called to them and said “Follow me!
Doubting Thomas, publican Matthew,
Simon, the Canaanite, Bartholomew
Thaddaeus, Phillip, Judas joined Jesus too.
“Gather lost sheep,” Jesus told his band.
“The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, help the poor He did command.
“I’m the way, and the truth and the life.
I have not come to send peace but strife
My father rules here and in the afterlife.”
V. Sermon on the Mount
Jesus delivered His sermon on the mount
In his beatitudes from the eternal fount,
To the multitudes too large to count.
Everyone no matter what his birth
Has moral value, intrinsic worth.
“The meek shall inherit the earth.”
“Those that hunger and thirst for justice,
Shall be mightily filled for the righteous,
Hold a place in the Lord’s palace.
“Blessed are the pure of heart for they will see.
God. Blessed are those that display mercy,
For the merciful shall receive mercy.
“I did not come to destroy the commandments,
But for their enforcement,
To die for sins of man I was sent.”
“Though you neither fornicated nor murdered,
You lusted for the wife of another,
And were furious with a brother.
We are all the Lord God’s good children.
The sun rises on good and bad men
The rain falls on just and unjust men.
Love your enemies; bless those that curse you,
Be righteous unto those that hate you,
Pray for those men that persecute you.
Jesus encouraged authenticity.
“Give alms privately and sincerely,
Pray to God privately and sincerely.”
Those houses built by fools upon sand,
Divided against themselves rain cannot stand.
Those made on foundations of rock will stand.
Forgive those that trespass against you,
For the Lord in turn will forgive you.
The unforgiving will not be forgiven too.
The man that asks shall receiveth,
And the man that seeks shall findeth
The door shall open to all who knocketh.
VI. Walking on Water
Ebullient wedding guests sat to dine.
Drinking dry casks of fruit of the vine
The savior turned water into wine.
A leper sought out the Son of Man.
“Make me,” said the man, “as I had been.”
Jesus touched him and said “Be thou clean.”
One time Christ’s boat foundered in a storm.
He rebuked wind and wave, causing calm.
Men said: “Even the sea obeys him
A rabbi called on Christ it was said,
To save his daughter already dead.
Christ touched her and she rose from her bed.
When Jesus parted from his house thence,
Two blind men called: “have mercy on us.”
Christ asked: “Believe that I can do this?”
When the two poor sightless men said “yes,”
Their empty eyes were touched by Jesus
“As to your faith, be unto you,” he sayeth
Five thousand gathered in the wilderness
Without food they had faith in Jesus.
He fed all on five loaves, two fishes.
Apostles, caught on the storm tossed sea,
Cried in unison “Oh, God save me.”
Jesus walked across the tempest sea.
His disciples thought he was a shade.
The son of God did as they bade.
“It is I” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”
Jesus healed a man with withered hand,
The scribes asked whether helping this man,
On the Sabbath violated God’s command.
Jesus replied “What man among you,
Would leave a trapped sheep without rescue,
Even though it was the Sabbath too?
VII. Teachings and Parables
We heard the parable of the seed.
Some seeds fell, fodder for fowls to feed,
Sprouting plants were choked by noxious weeds
Others fell on rock failing to take root,
Withering and dying unable to bear fruit.
Others fell on good ground as so to permute.
Seeds that fell on good ground took hold.
Grew into plants, multiplying thirty fold.
Sixty fold and then one hundred fold.
“He that hears the word of God
But still does not understand,
Is the seed that falls by the wayside.
“He that receives the word of God
But tribulations turn him from the word
Is the seed that is without roots.
“He that receives the word of God,
But turns from word of God by gold.
Is the seed choked by pests and weed.
“He that understands the word of God
And multiplies one hundred fold
Is the seed that falls upon good ground.”
Jesus asked Peter “Who am I?”
Jesus asked “Who do men say am I?”
He inquired: “Who do you say am I?
Peter said: “Thou art Christ, son of God.”
Jesus said: “Blessed are you, for flesh and blood
Had not revealed it to you but God.”
“Thou art Peter. On this rock foundation,
I will build my church and congregation
Upon it hell will not work its purgation.”
Jesus led Peter, James and John,
To share the secrets of the mountain,
Where he lit like the fires of the sun
A great cloud then arose in the sky,
The great voice of the Lord from on high
Thundered with authority “This is my
Beloved son in who I am well pleased.
Hear Him.” The disciples fell to their knees
For with great awe and fear they were seized.
At Jacob’s well in the town of Sachem,
The ancestral home of Abraham
Jesus met a Samaritan woman
Jesus, tired and thirsty, said “Daughter,
May I please have a drink of water.”
She said: “How do you as a Jew ask me for water?”
“Jews do not speak to Samaritans.”
Jesus replied: “If you knew who I am
And the gift of God then you would ask him
And he would give you living water.”
She said “where do you get this living water?
The well is deep and you have no carrier.”
“Everyone who drinks from this water
Will be thirsty again,” He said. “But whoever,”
Drinks from this living water,
“Will not thirst for all eternity.”
She said “Give this water to me
So I will never be thirsty.”
Jesus said to her, “Call your husband.”
She said: “I do not have a husband.”
Jesus said “You have had five husbands.”
“Your man now is not your husband,”
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman.
She said: “We worshipped on the mountain
She said the Messiah will come shortly.
“He will teach us all the truth to see.”
Jesus said: “I that speak to you is He.”
VIII. Raising Lazarus from the Dead
Jesus traveled to Jerusalem, staying in Bethany
Scribes and Pharisees, his enemies
Brought a woman caught in adultery
Condemning the woman in harsh tones,
Pharisees demanded the woman be stoned,
Asking Jesus what should be done.
Jesus knelt, and then wrote in the dust,
He ignored her accusers’ blood lust,
Bringing forth what was just.
“What say you vengeful men?”
“Let he without sin cast the first stone.”
Men departed without a rock thrown.
The Lord Jesus knelt to the floor.
“What man here condemns you now?” He implored.
Nor do I.” he said: “Go and sin no more.”
When Lazarus was struck with illness
His sisters Martha and Mary sent for Jesus.
When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had perished,
His remains interred for four days
Jesus led followers to the grave and prayed,
Then ordered the stone rolled away.
Those that believed in Jesus would not die.
But would live forever on high.
“I am the resurrection and the life.”
Jesus shouted: “Lazarus, come forth!”
And Lazarus came forth.
Jesus Christ mounted on a donkey
Rode into Jerusalem City,
Strewn with clothes and fronds of palm trees.
When Jesus Christ, said the gospels
Arrived at the great temple,
He overturned the tables,
Of the greedy money changers.
“My temple is for the believers.
You made it into a den of robbers.”
The Herodians questioned Jesus
“Should we give tribute to Caesar thus?”
Jesus understood their wickedness.
“Bring to me Caesar’s money,” said he.
Herod’s men brought to him a penny.
“Whose image on the coin do you see?”
The Herodians replied “Caesar’s”
Jesus told Herod’s men: “Thus render
Unto Caesar things which are Caesar’s.
“Therefore render the things unto God
That thereunder belong to God.”
Herod’s men marveled at these wise words.
The Sadducees also sought Jesus
They who did not believe in resurrection
Jesus understood their wickedness.
The Sadducees began: “Moses said
“Brother shall marry the wife of a brother dead.
If such deceased brother have no seed.
“If seven brothers with same wife marry,
In heaven whose wife will she be
Which of the seven’s wife is she?”
Jesus answered saying: “Ye do err,
Not knowing scripture or God’s power,
In resurrection, none are widowers.
“In heaven, the brothers will not be married
But all will be like angels free.
God is God of the living, don’t you see?”
The Pharisees sought out Jesus.
“Which is the greatest law of Moses?”
Jesus understood their wickedness.
“Love thy Lord, with all thy heart
With all thy soul, with all thy mind.
This is the greatest commandment.”
“And the second is,” Jesus said.
“Love thy neighbor like thyself
On these two hang all law and prophets.”
Jesus now asked the Pharisees.
“What do you think of me?
Of whose son is He?”
“The son of David,” they did record.
He asked: “Why does his spirit call me Lord?”
“How can I be David’s son if he calls me Lord?”
X. Last Supper
Jesus and his disciples shared together
Their last supper, for Passover
Jesus bathed their feet in water.
Jesus Christ and the apostles fed,
At the feast of the unleaven bread.
“One of you shall betray me,” the Son said.
Each man asked in his turn “Is it I?”
Everyone with sad tears in their eyes.
Finally, Judas asked, “Is it I?”
Jesus said unto him: “Thou hath said.”
“What thou doest, do quickly,” He said.
Jesus then broke the unleaven bread.
“Take and eat. This is thus my body.”
He then lifted a cup. “Drink ye.”
He turned to each man. “This is my blood!”
“Tonight, all ye shall be offended,”
Son of God said. “For it is written,
I shall strike down the Shepherd.”
“All the sheep shall be then scattered.”
Peter replied: “Other men shall be offended,
Yet I will never be offended.”
Jesus said unto him “Verily.
Before the cock crows I say unto thee
Peter, you shall thrice deny me.”
XI. Trial and Death
Jesus traveled to Gethsemane,
Accompanied by his favorite three,
Peter and James and John, sons of Zebedee.
He said: “Before night ends, I will be killed
And all prophesies will be fulfilled.
Not as I will but as the Lord wills.”
When he returned his men were asleep,
“Could you not watch one hour with me?”
Their spirits were willing, but their flesh weak.
Disciples were awakened from their rest,
Judas led soldiers to Jesus’s nest
Greeting Jesus with the kiss of death.
Armed guards captured Jesus in the raid.
Peter sliced off one man’s ear with blade.
Christ restored his ear; force He forbade.
Peter and John followed the armed men,
To the Jewish Council, the Sanhedrin.
Where the trial of Jesus was to begin.
“Are you the son of the Father?”
The Chief Priest asked. Jesus thus answered:
“ I will sit on the right-hand of power.”
The priest accused Him of blasphemy.
The priest asked the Sanhedrin “What think ye?”
The council answered “He is guilty.”
Peter stood alone in the palace.
A maid told Peter ‘neath the trellis.
“You were with Jesus of Nazareth.”
He said “I know not what thou suggests.”
Another maid said to Peter thus:
“He was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
Peter replied: “I know not this man.”
Passersby said, after coming to him,
“Surely thou art one of them.”
“Thy Galilean speech betrays thee.”
Peter said “I know not this man, can’t you see?”
The cock crowed. Peter wept bitterly.
Thus condemned to death by the elders
Jesus Christ was bound and delivered
To Pontius Pilate, Rome’s governor.
Judas, after returning to the elders
For his thirty pieces of silver,
Hung himself from a tree, his own killer.
Jewish leaders brought Christ to the consulate.
“Are you king of the Jews,” asked Pilate.
Jesus told Pilate: “Thou hast said it.”
Pilate feared Jesus Christ’s fearless stand,
Pilate told the Chief Priest and his men,
“I thus cannot find fault in this man.”
Pilate sent Christ to Jerusalem
For King Herod had jurisdiction,
To prosecute the son of man.
Herod dressed Jesus in purple robes,
Treating the son of God so low,
Before sending him to back to Rome.
Pilate’s wife told the governor of her troubled sleep,
Jesus was just with promises to keep,
His death would cause all of man to weep.
Pilate again sought to release him.
He again told the priest and his men,
“I thus cannot find fault in this man.”
To celebrate the Passover feast,
One prisoner Pilate would release,
Barabbas or the Prince of Peace.
He offered Jesus, the son of man.
“Neither Herod nor I find fault in him.”
“I therefore chastise and release him.”
Elders asked for Barabbas’s release.
In honor of the Passover feast,
Crucifixion of the Prince of Peace.
Pontius Pilate tried to release Jesus.
“Crucify him!” the multitude hissed.
He said: “I wash my hands clean of this.”
Jesus’s back was flayed bloody red,
A crown of thorns was pressed on his head;
Then to Calvary Hill He was led.
His hands and feet were nailed to the cross.
He was ready to suffer whatever the cost.
After nine long hours, he was lost.
A sign “Jesus, King of the Jews,”
Was hung that said in Latin, Greek and Hebrew
“Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Jesus was raised between two thieves thus,
One thief said.” If you are God’s son save us.”
The other said: “We should fear God and Jesus.”
“Son of God, forgive us for our vice,
Praise be You for your sacrifice.”
Jesus said: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
“My God, why hast Thou forsaken me,” Jesus cried.
“It is finished,” and then Jesus died.
The veil of the temple rent wide.
Darkness descended upon the land,
Large earthquakes shook wild beast and man,
And everywhere were signs of God’s hand.
The Roman Centurion in command
Who saw passing of the Son of Man
Said: “Truly this man was God’s son.”
Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man and counselor
And one of Jesus’s followers
Asked Pontius Pilate, the governor
For the body of Jesus.
The governor gave leave for Nicodemus
And Joseph to take Jesus
The two men took Christ’s body down
Dressed Him in His linen death gown,
When the two pious men were done
They laid him to rest in Joseph’s own grave
That was hewn from rock into a cave,
Guarded by soldiers with shield and stave.
The great stone in front they did seal
To prevent followers in their zeal,
To take relics that night to steal.
God’s Angel, dressed in white, came to fore,
Shook the very earth with a great roar,
And rolled back the rock, opening the door.
The Angel’s face was like lightening,
His fierce countenance was frightening.
Soldiers of the tomb trembled, fainting,
Mary and other women the next day
Found the great stone had been rolled away
The body of Christ was not where it lay.
Mary Magdelene ran to Peter,
And John, the two surviving leaders
To report the empty sepulcher.
When Jesus Christ appeared to the women,
They fell to his feet. He said to them,
He would see Peter in Galilee again.
Two disciples traveled to Emmaus,
They were met on the road by Jesus,
And those spoke of all things that had passed.
“Why are you so sad?” asked good Jesus.
“Art thou a stranger here?” asked Cleophas.
“Do you not know of Jesus of Nazareth?”
Christ said: “Oh, slow to hear and believe.
All that the good prophets had perceived.
Did the Messiah suffer these things?”
The travelers arrived at Emmaus,
“Stay with us,” Cleophas asked Jesus.
They then prepared dinner for their guest.
Jesus blessed and then gave bread to them.
Their eyes were opened and they knew Him.
The Messiah then vanished from them.
The two men ran to Jerusalem,
Told the Apostles and all with them
Everything that had happened to them.
As they spoke, Jesus Christ did appear.
“Peace be with you,” he said to those near.
They thought him a ghost to greatly fear.
“Behold. Look upon my hands and feet,”
Jesus said. “Touch me, feel me, see.
A ghost had not flesh and bones like me.”
Jesus Christ in the flesh asked for meat.
With His Apostles He took a seat.
Honeycomb, broiled fish he did eat.
Thomas did not believe his own eyes.
That Jesus had risen was all lies.
And that before him must be some guise.
Jesus showed Thomas his unhealed wounds,
Thomas could still see the uncongealed blood,
Thomas exclaimed: “My Lord and My God.”
“Doubting Thomas do you not now believe,”
Christ said. “Touch now wounds I did receive.”
“Blessed are those that have not seen and believe.”
Peter, the Apostles, and sons of Zebedee,
Reeled in empty nets thrown into the sea,
A man stood on the shore of Galilee.
He said: “Children have ye any catch?”
They replied: “We have but empty nets.”
He said: “Cast again. Your needs will be met.”
John told Peter: “It’s the Lord, you see.”
Peter dressed and jumped into the sea.
And swam to Jesus Christ most eagerly.
Jesus cooked the caught fish upon coals,
Gave bread to the Apostles in bowls.
The Messiah’s spirit warmed their souls.
Jesus asked Peter, his right hand man,
If he loved Him more than other men,
Jesus, son of God, said “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus said Peter would stretch forth his hands,
And die that way upon God’s command,
Preaching His word in a far off land.
The Apostles met Christ in Galilee,
On the mountaintop for a final feast,
Christ told them to go forth west and east.
To teach God’s divinity, laws and words,
To all nations touched by flight of birds.
With God’s son to the ends of the earth.
Hosanna in the highest for Son of Man.
For our God gave the life of his son,
To make clean the sins of men.
Mark Kodama is a poet from McLean, Virginia.