Saturday, April 11, 2009


Some arrived alone; others showed up in pairs. The familiar house had always been a safe place to meet. As each disciple came through the door, he was met by the wave of grief that filled the room. How had it come to this? What would they do now? Their vision of a new Israel with Jesus as King had died on Golgotha the day before.

But it was deeper than that. None of them had ever enjoyed friendship like the friendship each individual shared with Jesus. How could he have been universally close to such a large group of people? No wonder their grief was so intense...every single one of them had lost his best friend!

After their tears of greeting, they huddled in small corners to discuss what should happen next. Some were afraid the Council would now seek their arrest. Others were considering a return to their life before Jesus. One or two wanted to soldier on in the Teacher's memory -- hadn't he empowered them to heal and cast out demons? Peter sat silently with vacant eyes.

The women who had gone with Jesus' body to help prepare him for burial had heard the quiet discussion of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as they directed servants who carried the lifeless form from crucifixion hill to Joseph's own tomb. These two Council members had quietly believed in Jesus and refused to go along with the sham of a trial. They both thought that the purge would stop now that Annas and Caiaphas got what they wanted. Apparently the rest of the religious leaders were fearful that they had pushed Pontius Pilate to his breaking point and he might want to arrest them if they tried anything else.

Someone had heard a rumor at the Temple that the Council leaders had placed a squad of armed guards next to the tomb because of fear that some of the followers might steal Jesus' body.


He blinked back a few silent tears as he remembered the careful instructions of his fisherman father. Checking each knot, he was certain they could stand up to his abba's inspection.

He mused as he worked: how could everything seem so right and end up so so wrong? How could hope rise as high as Mt. Hermon and so quickly crash lower than the Dead Sea? "Evil now has a name," he thought. "It is my own."

Judas leaped out from the large rock.

The noose held.

To my readers: the eight days we have come to know as "Holy Week" is detailed graphically in Scripture. The parts we don't know much about are the human elements, especially from the viewpoint of Jesus' closest followers. My attempt this week is to stay true to the Biblical text, while shading in what it may have been like "between the lines." Please distinguish my ruminations from God's Word by reading the last few chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. My hope is that the reading of my words impacts you even a tiny percentage as much as writing them has impacted me.


C. Beth said...

Such a sad day in so many ways. Your telling of Judas' story makes me pity him. I think that's a better response than hate anyway.

Sam said...

Beth, when I think about it, sometimes I AM Judas. And sometimes I'm Peter and sometimes I'm John and sometimes I'm Thomas. Those reminders help me put my judgment aside. Love, Dad