Sunday, April 01, 2018

Sunday: I've just seen Jesus!

Today's excerpt from my novella.
For the moment, they were devastated for Jesus’ body to be missing. It was devastating to the already devastated. Many of them had already wept on the way to the tomb, and now they could not even anoint him. They had been so concerned even for his body to be buried. So many bodies of the crucified were simply tossed into the trash heap of Hinnom to burn or were torn apart by stray dogs. A sudden fear came on them that someone had simply thrown Jesus’ body away.

They quickly returned to Clopas’ house. Mary Magdalene in particular ran as fast as she could—quite an unusual sight to see a woman running through Jerusalem. They hoped someone might go to Joseph of Arimathea to see if he knew what had happened.

Peter and Lazarus were the first two disciples Mary encountered. Out of breath, she finally managed to get across that Jesus’ body was gone. “They’ve taken him,” she said. “His body is gone from the tomb.” Then after a few more gulps of air. “We don’t know where they’ve taken him.”

Simon Peter and John Lazarus bolted for the door, with Mary not far behind. They passed the other women, who were a little over half way back to the house. Lazarus got there first, with Peter not far behind. There were no more answers for them than there were for the women.

“Maybe Joseph knows something,” Peter said. “He has to still be in town. He wouldn’t travel to Arimathea on the Sabbath. We need to find out where he’s staying.”

But just before he started running again, Lazarus grabbed Peter’s arm. “What if he’s risen?” he said.

“What?” Peter said.

“He raised me from the dead. What if he raised himself?”

Just at that moment, Mary Magdalene arrived back again as well.

“We’re going to go find Joseph,” Peter said to Mary.

“Be encouraged, sister,” Lazarus also told her. “Nothing is impossible for God!” And they left again.

Mary Magdalene just sat in the garden weeping and praying. “Abba, where have they taken my Lord? Abba, have mercy on us!” At that moment Jesus appeared to her. She thought he might be the gardener. She wondered if perhaps God had answered her prayer to show where the body was.

“Why are you crying?” he said to her.

“Sir,” she said. “I am looking for the body of Jesus of Nazareth, who was set in that tomb over there right before the Sabbath. Do you know where they have taken him? Have you taken his body somewhere?”

She could not recognize him yet, although there was something oh so quieting and peaceful about him. There was something very familiar.

“Mary,” he simply said, and she knew.

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