Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thinking About Good Friday and Easter

This post is a journal entry I had written on April 23, 2003 in a creative writing journal of mine. Just for the sake of context, imagine yourself in the upper room during the Last Supper. This entry takes you through what I imagined the thoughts of Jesus might have been.

I have just finished a unit with my students about communion. Several thoughts rushed through my mind as I reevaluate this ceremony that I have participated in hundreds of times.

As Jesus sat with His disciples in that dimly lit upper room, did He smile to Himself at the thought that on this particular evening that He was spending the Passover on would be recorded, remembered, and recounted for years to come? As He looked on His disciples, what did He think...

Peter, after all we have been through together- walking on the water, feeding the five thousand men, stormy seas, healings and resurrections- you are going to deny even knowing Me to the extent that language you would never have used in My Presence will pass through your lips. Yes, in your feeble finite way you will attempt to help Me, even protect Me, but once again I will need to intervene to rectify a bad situation in My hour of need. You will run crying bitterly when you finally realize the weight of all of your actions. I will want to put My arms around you, to say that you are forgiven the way I have countless times- to the unfaithful woman, the paralytic, and the woman at the well- you remember, you were there. But your pain will be so great, you will only weep and wish that your tears would dissolve your skin, your being, and your life in hopes of eliminating your shame. But you will rise above this time, and your mistakes will cause you to be an even stronger witness for My sake.

You will suffer a painful death, but I will not leave you to suffer alone. You will feel My presence, and when you cross the river of death, I will be waiting with arms wide open on the other side. We will laugh in joy and victory, and I will chuckle as you try to catch Me up on all the news of our beloved friends who remain on the earth, although I am quite aware. Oh, it will be such joy to see you again! Do you know how I, who created you, feel to have you love Me? Of all the people in this sliver of a country called Israel, I chose you to be one of My close friends. I love you, Peter. Tonight, when I look at you after the cock crows, it will be with sorrow, for I know what your heart will feel. But I have already forgiven you.

John, as you lean against My chest with your childlike love and admiration, tears fill My eyes as I realize that soon I will be leaning on you. When all of the others scatter in fear, you will remain and follow close behind Me. You are the child of our little band, and yet your courage is to be commended. You know that I will be with you regardless of where I am physically.

I was entrusted by My Father to Mary for her to care for and nurture. Now I will entrust her to you. You have shown Me that your loyalty and love can be depended on, and for this woman who has become so dear to Me, who has suffered the pain of losing her life's companion and will watch as the life is drained from her miraculous first born Son, I can think of no one else I would rather leave her to. As she watches My gruesome crucifixion, hold her and remind her of My words. I will not be gone for long, but to a mother's heart, each passing moment will feel like an eternity. She may not sleep tomorrow night, and her sobs may snatch away your sleep, but be patient with her. She will sleep very well on Sunday night, I guarantee.

I look forward to seeing your footrace with Peter on Sunday morning. You both have an underlying competition between you. You will reach the tomb first, but because of your kind heart, you will let Peter go inside. I love you so much, John. And you know I love you, yet not even you realize the extent and depth of My love for you.

Oh, My faithful band, for as much as you have seen and heard, you will all abandon Me in my only moment of need and distress. I love you anyway. You are My creation, My handiwork, how could I feel any other way about you? Although I have never lied to you, and I have always kept my word, some of you, like Thomas, will not believe the reports of My Resurrection. But don't worry, I can't wait to see your faces when I suddenly appear in your midst. Will it be a look of terror (you did think I was ghost when I was alive and almost walked past your boat, what will you think I am then?) or exhilaration that you have found the most treasured truth? Will you gasp or cheer at my presence? I already know the answers but to you it will be a first experience.

Judas, how my heart aches for you, for the countless years you will spend in torment for your choice, the decision to betray God Incarnate. Hell will be an eternal torment for all who reject me, but oh, how you have rejected me! You saw the power I have over demons and devils, the very causes of sin, death, brokenness, and disease. You heard the demons beg Me to leave them alone in their empty, hollow, raspy voices thick with hate, envy, anger, and strife. You remember how My power was the only source of strength to cast the demon out of the helpless child. Satan's plan was to destroy him, by water or fire, it mattered not, as long as his life was snuffed out like a candle on a mantle when the wind blows and leaves only a thin trail of smoke, a vague reminder of what had been. So, he will destroy you and what joy that will be for him. To utterly destroy the life of someone who walked with God, ate with God, rested under the protection of God.

In My power I destroyed Satan's hold on the child because of the faith of that father who begged and pleaded for My help. You will not ask for My help. You will not beg for My forgiveness. You will not find your way to the foot of the cross. Instead, you will run to those who cannot help you. You will run to the priests and offer back their money in hopes of undoing your unspeakable deed and easing your guilty laden conscience. You will feel so twisted inside that your thinking will be unclear. In hopes of deadening the throb of guilt and pain in your chest, you will end your life only to find the very beginning of your torment. Yes, Judas, tomorrow you and I will hang on a tree. My tree will bring life, yours will bring the beginning of death.

Tonight in the garden, I will see you for the last time here on earth. The next time you see me, I will be going into the depths of darkness to bring those who have waited for me into My Paradise. You will see Me, in fact, you will scream for Me, but you will not be able to come with Me. You are not one of Mine. For the rest of eternity you will regret the day you allowed yourself to be open to the lies of My enemy. Do you remember what he promised you?

When you kiss Me on the cheek tonight, I will shudder. How could you use a gesture of love in such a hateful, defiled way? Do you not believe I am who I say I am? No, you do not. I pity you, Judas. You had the privilege of being My disciple, and you threw it away.

In a moment I will break this bread and pass the cup. For centuries My people have celebrated the Feast of Passover, but you twelve will see Passover fulfilled. And it will be fulfilled.

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