Skip to main content

Sunken Eyes and Laryngitis


Mathew 27:32: “Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross.” Cyrene was a city in the present day Libya, North Africa. It was founded by the Greeks and then came under Roman control later. A sizeable number of Jewish population existed in Cyrene. They also had a synagogue in Jerusalem. Simon had probably travelled to Jerusalem for the yearly feast. However, he had no idea of what he was about to face. But there is no doubt that it was God who had brought Simon all the way from Cyrene to witness and take part in an event that divided time into BC and AD. It never crossed his mind that he would be climbing the road to Golgotha and be a witness to a chain of events which would be in stark contrast to the well-mannered proceedings in a synagogue.   
According to John 19:17, any condemned man had to carry his own cross to the place of execution. That was the custom. So, Jesus had to carry His own cross. But there was a change. Simon was forced by the Roman soldiers to carry Jesus’ cross. Did Simon realise that he was carrying his own sin by carrying the cross to Golgotha? And that upon reaching Golgotha Jesus would take charge of his sin and offer him salvation? Golgotha was the place to be. Under Roman law, there was a usual gap of 10 days between the day of conviction and the day of execution. However, this did not apply to Jesus. Things were pushed from the beginning to the end in a hurry. It seems as though mankind’s sin had reached its peak and God was rushing to finish the work of salvation!
Psalm 69:3: “I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.” It is said that faith cannot grow in anything except in overwhelming circumstances.  Where is our stand as we take on Jesus’ perspective?  David called upon God so hard that he had almost reached near total blackout. That is the context here. Consequently, his voice became laryngitic because of excessive strain on his vocal cords. Next, his vision lost vitality. Ophthalmologists say that the eyes are designed stereoscopically to see in 3D, meaning staring at a flat 2D object causes eye damage. David stared at one direction for too long that his eyes failed.  David is saying: “Try listening to my laryngitic voice and you will hear how I have been. Then you can look into my sunken eyes and assess the intensity of my focus around my eye socket. Got the picture?” David lived out a laryngitic voice and a pair of sunken eyes his entire life. God called him a man after His own heart. How did David’s throat become laryngitic and eyes sunken? He had seen the Lord: “At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there” (1Chronicles 21:28). In the Bible, ‘threshing floor’ indicates sacrifice. Therefore sacrifice is irrevocable in the kingdom of God. Jesus’ own throat became laryngitic and eyes became sunken as a result of extreme suffering in the events leading to His crucifixion. Jesus had walked 2.5 miles over a sleepless night.
Atop the eerie Place of the Skull Simon dropped Jesus’ cross. He saw the two other thieves. He heard the ranting of the Romans and the people gathered. He saw Mary Jesus’ own mother in tears. He saw John shocked and pale. He looked around but nobody seemed to care about him. All eyes were on Jesus, not even the two thieves or the Roman soldiers or the Jewish officials. Where was he? You might as well ask: “Where am I?” Everybody looked different except Jesus. Jesus’ eyes were sunken and voice laryngitic, still. Nothing was different about Him.
On April 8, 1945 an SS judge Otto Thorbeck condemned Dietrich Bonhoeffer to death. He was part of the resistance movement against Nazism that had gripped Germany. And because of his resistance and involvement in the July 20 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler, he was imprisoned. He was executed by hanging at dawn on April 8. The camp doctor who witnessed the execution first hand said, “In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” Bonhoeffer wrote the Letters and Papers from Prison as he awaited trial in the military prison. There in the Letters he writes, “Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him.” One thief turned to Jesus. You cannot see the Lord and be not saved!
Today, Jesus, David, Simon and Bonhoeffer would recite to us in chorus: “How can your throat be not laryngitic and eyes not sunken?”