Christ's Journal Part 13
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"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto G.o.d the things that are G.o.d's."
Not to be defeated, men queried me, as I sat in the court of the temple, old, old questions. It seemed to me they were stunned when I reminded them that G.o.d is not the G.o.d of the dead but of the living.
Other interrogators appeared at noon. A huge grey-bearded priest demanded:
"Master, which is the greatest commandment of the law?"
I deliberated, wanting to impose on his arrogance.
"You shall love the Lord will all your heart and with your soul and with your mind...this is the first and greatest commandment," I said.
"The second commandment is similar," I pointed out. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
By now I was angry and left these idlers and when I was alone with my disciples I shamed the trouble-makers who clean the outside of the cup and leave the inside dirty... I called them a generation of vipers...they are the ones who will persecute the faithful from town to town...crucify them...
Grief overcame me. I could talk no longer.
Disgusted with the day, Matthew asked if the world would come to an end soon. That question had to be left unanswered. Inventors of questions are everywhere. I wanted to add, watch, be on guard, pray ceaselessly, work... Don't be careless while your master is away. You can't tell when he may return.
Mother came to visit me, she arrived in the night, afraid. Rumors had reached her that I was ill. She was ill. It is a long, long walk, from Nazareth. Peter gave us melon and though it was long past midnight we sat at a little table under the stars and ate.
It is impossible to go on writing.
I see what is to take place. I am frightened. I must wait until I have risen from the dead to continue writing. I have spoken to Matthew. I will entrust my journal to him.
Judas, in a drunken rage, has gone to the authorities and has promised to deliver me to them for a sum. He ridiculed me when I refused to ask G.o.d's protection.
Here are my final thoughts:
I beg You, dear Lord, hear me. Be attentive to my last supplications.
I wait, my soul waits. My soul waits for You more than any who wait for the morning. I say, more than those who watch for the morning.
I am alive.
A tremor roused me and I slowly unwound my grave clothes, noticing how beautiful they were. I looked at my left hand. I looked at my right hand. They had healed. The stone that blocked my crypt had been rolled aside. It was dawn when I went out. Outside I found a discarded robe.
The sky was grey but sun slanted across spring hills. I walked toward the sun on a path that led away from the tombs. Perhaps no one can grasp my bewilderment and my happiness. I tasted the air. My brain rushed about, rebounded from a bush, crashed against rocks. Light was splintering around me; inside that light was the realization that my suffering is over. I need not die. Life was living in me like a seed, but a perpetual seed.
Following a path across flowering fields I picked flowers; then, across the field, I saw Mary Magdalene. She was sobbing, crying. I called her and she ran to me, saying "Rabboni" over and over.
Mary and Martha appeared. The women surrounded me, laughing, touching me, kissing my robe, my hands. Later in the day we set out for Nazareth, for my home, Mother and Father. Halfway Mother met us and threw her arms around me-no words were necessary.
That evening, as we ate together, Mother described Father's imprisonment. He had sold the gifts of the Magi to obtain bribe money: he planned to bribe the soldiers to free me. The merchant who bought the gifts summoned officials. By lying he got Father jailed for theft.
It required four days to free him, our Nazarene priests testifying...
Liberated from death I see life as a singular continuity, a continuity embodying my imperfections, many hopes. I find a new calm in all that I experience: as I project into tomorrow I sense this serenity. Simplicity itself wears an aura of riches.
Tonight, living in this composure, I write freely. Time, as a force, has dropped away. Pressures are comprehensible such as the stress at our last supper, the betrayal of Judas. Though I held my emotions in check I felt confused by many doubts: above all I felt that my ministry would fail. Ah, that white room, those shadows, our courage as we sipped salt water in memory of the Egyptian exodus. Those faces as we sang. Now those memories are gla.s.sed inside a mirror, unblemished. And I may open that mirror and experience a memory or I may close the surface.
I stand alone. It is a beautiful feeling. I stand here without past and without future. I am a naked man, a man of the wilderness. This is the miracle of self. The mind owns itself. It does not ask.
Acceptance blocks out intrusion. Each of us should experience the wilderness of mind.
This is how it was:
As I knelt in the garden I thought of John and his prison bars, for around me were bars of shrubbery, blacker than any I had seen.
Death was in the bars and in the air around me, imagined but none the less real, as real as death had been in the street that day men wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery. This was my death-I listened for approaching soldiers, for the voice of Judas.
"If it is possible," I prayed, "let this cup pa.s.s from me quickly."
I heard the brook below: it had a place to go. I had this, this waiting, this expectancy, my disciples asleep on the ground.
Death...death is the ransom for man's sin, I reminded myself.
Cries of sentinels rang out.
Judas knew that I was here, that I had come here to pray; presently I heard the unmistakable clank of side arms and men's voices, foreign speech. I could wait no longer. I stood up and waited for Judas to identify me.
Stumbling over shrubbery, Judas called.
"Who are you looking for?" I asked a soldier carrying a torch.
"Jesus of Nazareth," he said.
"I am Jesus."
Christ's Journal Part 13
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Christ's Journal Part 13 summary
You're reading Christ's Journal Part 13. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Paul Alexander Bartlett already has 349 views.
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