Before 2018 arrives in a few hours, I thought I'd revisit a favourite post from 2017.
Happy New Year!!
See you next week.
One thing I have always wondered about, and there's approximately nothing written about it anywhere, was ...what exactly did Jesus say to His mother on the morning of His resurrection?
I mean, think about it, what would He say? He knew His mother watched Him die on the Roman cross.
Not to mention that scourging and the torture, before they nailed spikes into His hands.
Some people might wonder how the Romans ruled the world with almost nothing in the way of successful rebellion? Well, for one thing, the punishments they meted out had very little to do with the crimes.
Steal something? You get tied to a timber cross and either bleed to death or die of suffocation, or a combination of both.
The Sanhedrin and the Pharisees knew exactly what they were doing when they sent their legal woes to Pilate. A message to other rebels would be whispered from Libya to Lebanon: dare to say you are God, and you will die a fool's death.
So, He'd been beaten to a bloody pulp, endured a farce of a trial, and given to a bunch of cold hearted Roman soldiers to dispose of. They embedded a crown of thorns into His head.
Hold on for a second. Have you ever tried to nail anything? Even a nail to hang a painting takes some effort. Which means that a spike, at least 6 to 10 inches long, would take some serious physical strength to pound through a man's overlapped feet, and then both of His hands.
And whoever did the pounding of, you know, the metal spike, would be a man of considerable strength. A man who was used to getting human blood splattered in his eyes, and most likely chunks of flesh.
How many people screamed for mercy at the moment the Roman soldier held the nail on the hand to get a bearing on how hard to pound the hammer?
So, Jesus hung on the cross until He dropped His head, called out "It is finished!", gave up His spirit, and died.
Think about that.
He chose the moment that He died.
His captors did not take His life, He gave it.
Then He is buried in the tomb of Joseph and His followers are utterly broken and devastated.
All is lost.
The Sabbath is one of pure misery.
All is lost.
I've often imagined Mary waking up early that Sunday, alone in the home she shared with her son. All the other children, the ones she had with Joseph, they have their own homes. Reaching across her simple bed to where Joseph used to sleep, she whispers. "I miss you so much. These last few days have been horrible. Everyone is scattered, hiding from the authorities. I'm scared, Joseph. Really scared."
Then she gets up, because what's the point of wallowing? She says her morning prayers, then walks to get her water bucket, because she's thirsty from crying for days on end, and she needs to wash the tears from her face.
Dawn has yet to appear. So, since the light is dim, and she knows where it is, she sets her fingers on the rope handle of the water bucket, and gasps, because the bucket is already full.
She looks around. Mary stares at the table Jesus made for her, years earlier.
Breakfast is already made.
Fruit, fish, unleavened bread.
Breakfast for two.
Over in the corner by the window, someone is sitting, in complete silence?
Someone has been watching her? In her own home?
The man stands up and crosses the little home.
Fear and fury war inside her, who dares to come into her home?
Then, as if washed by heaven, peace flows down and soothes Mary's heart and nerves.
Oh, that smile. Those eyes.
"Mom? Don't be scared. It's me. I'm back." He says.
I'm back. As if this was like one of His greetings when He'd return from a faraway preaching trip.
Mary loses it, like all good mothers do when their children come home. He picks her up, hugs her until she can't breathe, then puts her down.
She grabs His hand, cries out at the holes. Then she checks His head and his shoulders, and makes Him turn around because surely there's blood on his tunic.
Then He gives her a grin, and hugs her again. "I can't stay long, but I promise. You'll be well taken care of. But right now, I need to go see my people. I'll be late."
She smiles. Because her boy is home. Her boy, the Prince of Heaven.
They share a quiet breakfast. he gives her His undivided attention. Finally, she says, "You go. I'll be here. I'll keep supper for you."
Another beautiful smile. "Thanks, Mom."
He heads for the door. The brilliant morning sun is already piercing the cracks in the doorframe and the walls.
He turns, smiles again. "Yes, Mom?"
Mary tries hard to keep it together. "Thank you."
A look of pure love comes over His face. He says nothing, but nods His head the way a quiet man does when the truth is overwhelming. Then He reaches for the doorknob, but looks back toward her.
"I'll see you tonight, Mom. You'll be safe until then, I promise. I won't allow any harm to come to you."
Off He goes. Off to turn the world on its head, and to end the miserable vigil that His followers were holding.
A weight that had followed her for three years slips away, leaving Mary to breathe freely for the first time since Her son told her that the time had come, and walked out the door to begin His work.
His work to bring about His Father's kingdom.
"You can't stay long? Well then, your mother will be here until you have to leave."
Pondering what that would mean, Mary sits down at the table, and plucks a grape from the platter.
Green. Her favorite.