Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday: Death, Darkness and Despair

I was so scared.  I was in the back of the crowd, as I watched them crucify my Lord.  Some men took His Body.  They placed it in some tomb.

What had I done?  Jesus knew it.  He knew what a coward I would deny that I knew Him.  Not once.  Not twice...but three times!  I was so afraid.

The rulers and officials are so angry.  I know they'll come after us next.  What will we do?  The only thing we can think of is to hide in the upper room.  Eleven of us disciples are here, along with a few followers.

To make it worse, we've heard they found Judas' body hanging in a tree on the outskirts of town.  Apparently he had remorse about what he had done, in betraying Jesus to those men.  It's amazing what he did for the sake of money.  I guess he realized it wasn't worth it.  Too late, now.

It's torture being in here.  Just 24 hours earlier, we were preparing for the Passover meal.  Looking around, our things are just as we left them.  Crusts of bread on the table.  Bread that He said was His Body.  His Body.  His Body that was hanging on that wretched cross.  Drops of wine on the tablecloth.  Not wine, but He called it His Blood.  Drops of Blood.  The Blood that covered His mangled Body....  He knew.  We had no idea, but He knew.

I was shocked.  I had no idea that Joseph of Arimathea was a believer of Jesus.  He is a highly respected member of the Jewish Council.  He had been on the lookout for the Messiah...I had no idea he also believed it was Jesus.  No one else here, knows.  If they knew that the two of us were secret followers of the Christ, we would no doubt suffer the fate that He had.

Joseph had asked Governor Pilate for Jesus' Body.  We knew we had to get Him buried soon, as the Sabbath was upon us.  We cannot do anything on the Sabbath.  Pilate, after confirming that Jesus was indeed dead, agreed to it.  Joseph had bought some linens and owned a tomb nearby.  He was planning on using it for himself one day.  This was more important.  We wrapped His Body in the Linens and placed Him in the tomb.  His poor Body.  So tortured and mistreated.  No one deserved this kind of treatment.  Especially Someone who didn't do anything wrong.  He was an innocent man.  I grabbed the filthy crown they had put on His Head and threw it in the garden.  Drops of blood formed in my palm, from the thorns.  Nothing, compared to what He endured.  It turned my stomach to think about it.

Could we even hope that what He prophesied was true?  That He would rise again? Even if He did, He was so deformed.....  It was probably for the best that He was out of His misery.  Too bad, though.  It would have been glorious if He were the Messiah....  Wishful thinking, I guess....

The Soldier
I have to keep it together.  My mind is racing in a thousand different directions.  What had I just seen?  What had I just experienced?  I can't let on that I've had a 'heart transplant' of sorts...if such a thing existed.  It's like all of the things I knew and believed are gone...and now I see things with new eyes!  It's frightening.  I have no one to talk to about this.  How am I going to tell my wife?  My family?  Will they turn me in to the authorities?  Maybe I'll just keep my mouth shut.  They don't have to know.  But how am I going to explain that I'm planning on quitting my job?  I could never take part in another crucifixion.  Never.

I reach up and touch my ear, as I watch as two men take Jesus' Body away.  For two Jewish leaders, they seem to handle His Body so gently.  It's almost as if they care about Him.  That's not possible...or is it?  Nothing I have seen in the last 24 hours was what I believed it to be, anyway.

The officials have just come and ordered a huge stone to be placed in the front of the tomb.  Apparently Jesus had predicted this would happen, and He said He would rise again in three days time.  What??  How bizarre!  Pilate is afraid that Jesus' disciples are going to come and steal His Body and then say that He rose from the dead.  Hmm...  Understandable I guess.  They order me to help move the stone.  It takes a few of us...this thing is so heavy!  They just asked for volunteers to guard the site for a few days.  I raise my hand.  I will gladly guard it.  For a couple of reasons.  Not so much as to protect it from Jesus' followers, but to make sure the officials don't sabotage the efforts, then blame it on the disciples.  Also...I have a very selfish reason to stay here.  If there IS a chance that Jesus would rise from the dead...I want to tell Him how sorry I am.  I want to be the first one to fall on my knees in front of Him and beg his forgiveness and mercy.  I have committed such an unpardonable sin.  I don't deserve it, but perhaps He would be gracious.  One can only hope....

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