(It is hard for me during high profile holy days like Easter/Passover (yes some Christians celebrate a Messianic Passover of sorts) to break out of the ritual and experience GOD afresh. Maybe I’m the only one but often it is way too easy go through the religious motions while missing out on the deep ocean of revelation that emanates from the person of Jesus. And it is revelation that is the crux of our faith- the revelation of Jesus- the Messiah- the Great King who has forgiven our sins and reconciled us to Himself – who transforms us from enemies to heirs of His eternal Kingdom and who one day will establish a New Heavens and a New Earth where death will have no place.
So in my efforts to reflect with fresh light on the Gospel story of Jesus’ final days that lead up to His crucifixion- I decided to reframe the story within the boundaries of Scripture but from the view of an imagined outsider- a common Jew in Jesus’ time who never really was part of the movement of Jesus’ followers but neither was he viciously hostile- only cynical, although religiously devout. In his Hebraic cultural context he speaks of Jesus as ‘Yeshua’ and GOD as ‘Adonai’.
May we learn to see with new eyes this ‘Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the earth’.)
The carpenter-prophet (or some said ‘Messiah’) from Nazareth had been killed- death by crucifixion. His followers had been disbanded or some said were in hiding. There were rumors of violence to counter any uprising in response to Yeshua’s death. It seemed like similar movements in the past- a leader would arise- a prophet to hearten the people- sometimes calling them to repentance- sometimes calling them to arms against our oppressor- the Roman Empire- but always they were crushed and hope drowned in pools of blood.
I will say I was surprised by the rumors – that he could heal and even cast out evil spirits- but what angered many of us the most was his willingness to seemingly put himself at equal with Adonai. It was said that he allowed people to worship him and that he called GOD his father- even his poppa. He openly spoke against the hypocrisy of our leaders and even caused a disturbance in the Temple when not long ago he drove out the vendors and money-changers- calling them thieves in his Father’s house of prayer. By what authority did he do these things? By his own…or by Adonai’s? He never would give a straight answer.
Naturally we were curious when we heard he had been arrested. And while I do not take pride in this – I admit we joined the crowd that condemned him before Pontius Pilate. When they crucified him we watched from a distance but later we approached the scene. He hung on a criminal’s execution stake in-between two thieves as a few who were there with us cursed his name and called him to come down. Like many ‘messiahs’ before him he could not even save himself.
Still I do wonder who this man,Yeshua was, for in his final hours – a great darkness descended on the whole land. It was during that time that I fled to my home and in fear I trembled in prayer. An earthquake shook the ground beneath us while black clouds rolled above – it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. And now there is an unease that is hanging over everyone and strange rumors are emerging- some say the Temple veil was ripped in two- some people say that tombs were opened and raided. The strangest thing of all though is a friend of mine who claimed that he saw Abraham of old walking about the city shouting: “God will provide for Himself the lamb!”
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