All seems lost. The exhausting terror and noise of Friday has given way to the terrible silence of Saturday. Every footfall brings fear. What now? The despair, pain and fear is crushing. We can’t even run, it is the Sabbath and to flee on the Sabbath would attract immediate attention with the mob induced stoning the Law demands. So we wait behind locked doors fearing for our lives and wondering: what just happened? We had followed him for three years. We left our families, jobs, businesses and reputations. We all agreed with Peter that he was the promised one, the only one with the words of life and there was no where else for us to go. Last Sunday it looked as if the whole nation finally believed this as well. They shouted praises and quoted the promises from long ago. They made a carpet of their coats and shouted “Hosanna”. Maybe the kingdom was coming! It was a glorious week filled with Jesus teaching in the Temple to the growing crowds. The anticipation was palpable in the air. Even the religious leaders kept their distance for once. Relegating themselves to glowering in the periphery. Oh it was truly one of the best times I have ever known in Jerusalem.
But something changed after Judas left our Seder on Thursday. Jesus began to teach us and speak of the kingdom which was not new but he seemed to have an urgency and an intensity that was new. Then after singing a hymn we left the city and went to a garden just outside the city walls because Jesus wanted to pray. He left us to pray a short distance from where he, Peter, James, and John prayed. I tried to stay awake, I really did! But my eyes were sooo heavy. The week had been long and tiring and I could not seem to stay awake. I tried harder each of the 2 times Jesus awakened us but I still fell asleep. The next thing I knew Jesus was awakening us yet again and this time soldiers were coming! In my stupor it seemed an entire Roman Legion was bearing down on us! In actually it was just the Jewish Temple guards but we were still outnumbered and in my sleepy haze terror is all I could feel. After Judas kissed Jesus the soldiers went to seize Jesus and Peter drew his sword to defend the Lord. It was chaos with Jesus shouting at Peter to put the sword away then healing the man Peter had clumsily nicked in his attempt to remove the man’s head from his shoulders. Without the option to fight we could only run! And so we fled as they led Jesus away. Three illegal trials later we watched in horror as the same crowd which five days ago had hailed Jesus as their King now allowed the religious leaders to manipulate them into calling for his crucifixion. So the Romans flogged him beyond all recognition, forced him to carry his cross outside the city and then striped him naked and nailed him to a tree. I can’t even describe the horror of that day. It wasn’t even enough that they succeeded in getting the Romans to kill him but they continued to mock him and taunt him while he died. So grotesque was the scene that the Sun even hid its face. Finally, with a great cry Jesus gave up the ghost into his Father’s hands and died. Later they gave his body to Joseph of Arimathea who placed it in his own tomb and rolled the enormous stone over the entrance. So afraid of Jesus were the religious leaders that they persuaded Pilate to seal the tomb and set a detail of Roman soldiers to guard it. They could not even let his body rest in peace! Then as the sun set that terrible passover Friday evening the silence descended. Oh the deafening silence! And today I have been trapped with my thoughts, if you can call them that. I just want this nightmare to STOP! Have I wasted the last 3 years? Why did they kill my Lord? What threat was an itinerant Rabbi? I can’t get the images from yesterday out of my mind! Everytime I close my eyes I see his mangled form on that tree and I want to retch. He was innocent, I am the guilty one! I ran! I have many sins both public and private for which I deserve to be punished but he, he has done nothing! If he was the chosen one why did YHWH abandon him?
My words and questions ring hollow as the heavens are silent. The Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest in which we have time to recount the deeds of YHWH and worship but this is the most awful Sabbath I have ever known. There is no justice, there was no rescue from heaven, no voice thundering to warn of impending doom to those who mangled the beloved Son, there is only silence.
Originally posted April 3, 2010 on apauper.com All Rights Reserved