True, I was one of the people, a countryman. Born Gaius Octavius in Rome 63 BC. However, sheer defiance would rule out the ordinary. My destiny was authority. Born to greatness; leadership in my blood. I was adopted by Julius Caesar. Adopted into power and might. I was crushed by my uncle’s assassination, but only for a moment, for then I held the power of the empire in my hand. A power I respected and transformed into a monarchy. A power I exploited. I worshiped the Roman gods, yet insisted on my people worshiping me as a god. My face on coins, my image on statues across the land.
I hungered for power. So thirsty for it, I would have cut opened my very veins to drink it in. Glory was mine. Rome; famed and great because of me. From the military to the arts, I had a hand in crafting Roman culture. I led with innovation and tradition. My reign was marked by a season of peace and prosperity for my people. I knew no limit to my apparent success.
Nonetheless, there was a wrinkle in my plan. A glitch in the cosmos of time. One little thing, which would become my greatest downfall. A baby. An infant boy that would be king. A child born in an unknown corner of my grand kingdom.
I never met this child, nor did I meet the man he grew to be. While I built the Roman Forum he and his motley band carried the gospel on the roads I commissioned. For thirty three years, He built his kingdom and I built mine. His power rivaled my own, but I did not know it.
A baby in a manger. A man on a cross. Me. A man caught at a crossroad. I answered to power and spoke the language of might, when I should have fallen on my knees and succumbed to the vernacular of grace.
I had it all. Power, connection, posterity, an entire kingdom… mine. A tribune for life. The greatest Roman Emperor. Yet I had nothing. Nothing that mattered outside the domain of my kingdom. There was another kingdom that I refused to acknowledge. Blinded by power, choking on success. A kingdom that surpassed my own.
A cry in the wind from an obscure manger. A cry from the cross that rang out across the land that all is finished.
And me? I am finished too. Finished by a power I could only grasp at. Run in by a love so pure I ran from it. Torn apart by a kingdom I could not see with my eyes.
Yes, it is finished indeed.
PS – I wrote this monologue for my church, which then turned into this: