The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas is the story of a Roman centurion, Marcus, and his personal slave, Demetrius. Marcus is stationed in Jerusalem when a confusing and rabble-rousing carpenter from Nazareth is condemned to be crucified. Unfortunately, Marcus is ordered to carry out the crucifixion, and he is the soldier who “wins” the robe of the condemned man in a game of dice.
“Suppose you say that Jesus is divine; a god! Would he permit himself to be placed under arrest, and dragged about in the night from one court to another, whipped and reviled? Would he –this god!— consent to be put to death on a cross? A god, indeed! Crucified —dead —and buried!”
Justus sat for a moment, saying nothing, staring steadily into Marcellus’ troubled eyes. Then he leaned far forward, grasped his sleeve, and drew him close. He whispered something into Marcellus’ ear.
“No, Justus!” declared Marcellus, gruffly. “I’m not a fool! I don’t believe that —and neither do you!”
“But I saw him!” persisted Justus, unruffled.
Marcellus swallowed convulsively and shook his head.
“Why do you want to say a thing like that to me?” he demanded testily. “I happen to know it isn’t true! You might make some people believe it —but not me! I hadn’t intended to tell you this painful thing, Justus, but —I saw him die! I saw a lance thrust deep into his heart! I saw them take his limp body down —dead as ever a dead man was!”
“Everybody knows that,” agreed Justus calmly. “He was put to death and laid away in a tomb. And on the morning of the third day, he came alive, and was seen walking about in a garden.”
“You’re mad, Justus! Such things don’t happen!” . . . “If you think Jesus is alive,” he muttered, “where is he?”
Justus shook his head, made a hopeless little gesture with both hands, and drew a long sigh.
“I don’t know,” he said dreamily, “but I do know he is alive.” After a quiet moment, Justus brightened a little. “I am always looking for him,” he went on. “Every time a door opens. At every turn of the road. At every street corner. At every hillcrest.”