Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Story--All You Need Ever To Know

All You Ever Need To Know

Dreams are strange things. They often involve persons or things you hold dear. Some involve a certain person you admire, and through that dream you feel an almost irresistible endearment towards that person. Others are beyond reckoning, laughable, or out-of-this-world. Still others are enlightening; explaining things you never thought you knew, or making an event said to have happened more real than you ever could have imagined. Mine was like that.

Not too many nights past, I was asleep, dreaming, when suddenly a Voice whispered gently into my ear, telling me to follow It. Naturally, I did. We seemed to float through a sea of darkness. Every now and then I caught glimpses of a tear-stained face, unheard words stumbling past swollen and cracked lips. After a while I turned my head, unable to bear the sight of these troubling glances.

Eventually, we broke out of the darkness, and the Voice, which had now formed into a soft orb of warm, white light, faded into nothingness. I peered around me, bewildered. My eyes rested on a cloaked figure to my right. Hoping for an explanation, I started towards the figure. A few steps away from it, I realized it was a woman, with soft gray eyes and dark hair that contrasted her pale skin. She stared into my questioning eyes for an interminable moment. Finally she spoke.

“You are wondering why you are here.” It was more a statement than a question.

I nodded my head, unable to speak.

“Come, follow me.” The young woman turned, gliding on an unseen surface. I followed, also gliding. At the time it seemed completely natural.

When she stopped, the woman seemed to be gazing through a window. I looked with her, and saw a mob of angry people, obviously yelling and screaming hysterically, though we could not hear it.

“Look.” The woman commanded, pointing to the hill the crowd encircled.

I looked, and saw three crosses erected on a hill, each one burdened with a man. The middle one, though, was the one that drew my attention. It was higher by a foot, and a small sign was posted above the man’s head. It was too distant to read. A crown of thorns was pressed cruelly onto the man’s head, and he looked in far worse shape than the other two.

“See that man up on that cross?” The woman said, pointing to the middle one.

I nodded.

“That’s Jesus.” She stated. “He’s on there because of me.”

I looked at the woman, like she was crazy.

“Remember when you lied about stealing that candy? Or when you cheated on that test?”

I started, astonished that she of all people, a stranger, would know that. “Yeah.” I admitted.

“And remember when you called your brother stupid? And when you dumped a plate of lima beans in the trash and then said you ate them?”

Again, I nodded.

“And remember that boy on the news who killed all those people, and then killed himself?”


“Remember the guilt you felt? The same guilt that made that boy kill himself?”

Again, yes.

“Well, Jesus is feeling that right now. That’s His guilt now. Why? Because God’s mad at us. He’s furious. About what? About all our stupid sins. So mad that He would send His only Son to die. Jesus. You see Him, don’t you; you see Jesus. Well, God was so mad that He let people accuse His Son of things He never did and never will do. He was so mad that He let those soldiers,” here the woman pointed to a raucous group of soldiers milling about the crosses, “beat His Son Jesus up. He let them tear His Son’s flesh from His back. He let everyone spit on Him and mock Him for things He never did. He was so mad that He let them make Jesus carry His cross up that hill. And nail His gentle hands and feet to that same cross with railroad spikes. He let them strip Jesus of His clothes and his dignity. He was so mad that He ignored His Son when He cried out in agony. He turned His face from Jesus—His all-glorious face. Can you imagine watching your child—the child you fathered, or the child you gave birth to—dying such a painful and undeserving death, and turning away from it?” The woman was yelling now, tears running freely down her beautiful face. “That’s how mad God was. He watched and the ignored His Son as He was flogged so much that you could hardly tell one lash from the next. He ignored the certain tearing of His heart at the sight of those cruel thorns raking across Jesus’ brow.”

Now I was crying too, unable to stop the flood. “Why, why, why?” I screamed.

“That’s how mad God was!” The woman repeated. She was silent for a moment, watching as I shook with sobs. “But that’s not the end of the story.” She murmured softly, wiping the tears from my cheeks. “No, that’s not the end.”

“What do you mean?”

The woman drew me back to the window. I looked away, not wanting to see Jesus on the cross again. But she turned my head so I was looking into it, and instead of seeing the crosses and the hill and the mob, I saw a huge, rock tomb, the entrance of which was blocked off by a massive round stone. Two guards in fancy armor stood guard, looking bored at the moment. Then the picture seemed to rush up to us. I screamed, expecting to be crushed. But when I opened my eyes I saw darkness. And then I saw a table-like shape, with a long, white form lying on it.

“Oh, please, don’t make me look!” I cried. Still, the woman pried my eyes open and made me look. At first the form was still and dark, but then something started to happen. A soft, almost warm, glow seeped through the cloth wrapped around Jesus’ body. We seemed to drift closer to His body, so close that I could see the cloth vibrate with…yes, it was His heartbeat! I stared, mouth agape, as the glow brightened and spread, and then as the ground seemed to shake. Suddenly the soft glow exploded into a blinding, furiously encompassing burst of light, love, and joy. My heart swelled in my chest, which constricted, making it seem as if my whole body would explode into a million tiny bits. When I could next see, we were back outside the tomb. The huge stone was rolled away, lying on its side, and the soldiers were nowhere in sight. No doubt they had fled. Jesus was gone.

The woman turned to me, her face aglow and her eyes moistened with fresh tears, though these were tears of joy. “It’s still not over, dear.” She whispered before she disappeared in a bright flash of light. Suddenly I was alone in the darkness again. Then the Voice came back, its whisper caressing my cheek like a breath of fresh air.

“And that, my child, is the most important thing you ever need know.”


“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3-8


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