The Passover is past. The men who died on the crosses are buried. Yet, the numbers of people that seem to think and feel the same as I do is remarkable. If I couldn’t see it on their faces, in their countenance, all morning I heard them say so.
In the marketplace one man exclaimed to the group he was with, “…ever since I heard things Jesus said around the village and especially at the temple I see things differently. I can’t explain it, but I feel more hopeful.” I wanted to ask him more, but that’s none of my business. Still, I overheard similar comments all over town. “He taught like someone much older,” “…more experienced, wiser…”
People were confused by the Jesus guy calling out the priests and scribes, how they live as compared to how Jesus lived – and died:
– The priests plotted to kill Jesus’ friend in Bethany, the man Jesus raised four days after he died.
– The priests questioned and threatened the man Jesus gave sight and his parents, the man that was born blind.
– The priests demanded Jesus’ death and freed a known felon.
– Herod actually wanted nothing to do with the Jesus trial – washing his hands of innocent blood when Jesus would not defend himself.
– One of Jesus’ own betrayed him for money, told where and when the Temple Guards would find him – and then hanged himself.
– Jesus’ last words were cries to Jehovah to forgive his accusers, saying they didn’t know what they had done.
– In his life this Jesus fulfilled the prophesies about the Messiah.
Above all, one statement I heard in particular keeps coming to mind. One woman that seemed quite sound and especially wise mentioned that Jesus said to the priests, “…destroy this temple and I shall resurrect it in three days…” She repeated how she somehow knew Jesus wasn’t referring to the building that took 46 years to build.
I wandered the streets with all these thoughts and images on my mind, still hoping to find my friend. I could have started my journey home, but I felt as if I should linger. Surely something important must have come up that we still hadn’t found one another.
While walking I came upon a man. His head bowed, he seemed positively miserable. With all my concerns, the man seemed far worse off than I. For reasons I can’t explain, I greeted him and wished him good day. He responded that the day couldn’t be worse, that all he believed in was lost. I don’t know why I didn’t keep walking, but I stopped and listened. And the man kept talking.
He had been one of those guys that traveled with Jesus. Listening to him I became so captivated with his story I couldn’t leave. We sat, he talked and I listened. His stories about that Jesus guy were amazing. I sensed they weren’t mere stories, but facts. But then he came around to his agony today. He said he hid as his friend died; he had denied he even knew Jesus. The night before, hours after his master had washed his feet, before the soldiers came, Jesus had told him that he would.
“But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” John 13:37 (NLT)