What was left of the sorry, and sorrowful, sons of Zebedee hung limp on either side of him.  Their pain was not of the mild variety.  It was terrible; and, from his vantage point, it left the Christ feeling quite forlorn.  He looked askance at their mother.  She was grieving, her tears often and large, wet things visible in streams on her cheeks.  The Christ himself was in pain as well; the holes tore at his limbs as he hung like a common criminal on his cross between two of his most faithful disciples.  However, the physical pain was nothing compared to their mother’s pain tearing at his heart.  Their mothers, the two Marys, looked forlornly at them as they died slowly and undignified.  They were despondent; they knew they were useless but couldn’t help but look on.  The three of them, their sons, writhed visibly on the trees.  Jesus, though, did not feel his own pain.  He only felt his companions and the women’s pain, physical and emotional, respectively.  He was detached from his own.  He had always known this would be the end of him, but these others made his heart ache in ways his body could not.  Their pain is my fault, he thought.  I did this to them, followed.  His next thought was to stay strong for the ones suffering around him.  His mother haltingly caught his eye.  She stood unmoving and resigned, but she was clearly emotional; moved in that sense.  Frank tears ran down her face.  She moved finally only to clutch his punctured, bleeding, mangled feet.  The blood there began to run down her blemishless, alabaster face.  She clutched them, unheeding the red trail that began to form there.

As he looked on at her, crying his own tears, he reflected on how physically and emotionally drained he was; and yet he would not die, not yet.  The Father in Heaven told him long ago that it would come to this; that this was his destiny; that running from it would not make it cease or come any less quickly.  Given all that, he had tried to outrun it, for three years; but it had finally come for him and these others too apparently.

Again the Virgin caught his eye.  Jesus found himself thinking that he had betrayed her trust as a mother, or disappointed her in some way.  Even as he thought it, he knew he would have been scolded by her for it.  It was a shameful thought and came between writhing and painful fits.  It was a thought brought on by the incessant pain.  He found himself wondering how much more he could take.  He wondered if he had the resolve to withstand such suffering.  Even as he wondered he knew he did not, but it was not time for his surrender just yet.

Suddenly, other-mindedly, he was taken back in time to the wedding in Cana.  That was where it had all began.  This woman hugging his feet was the one who had pushed him on this crash course with the cross.  She had forced his hand; forced him to begin something he had always dreaded but knew was his destiny.  He did not blame her, though, as she wept below him.  He only wondered if now in this state she still thought he was the one, that he was still amazing.

Today, three years from that moment in Cana, he found himself wondering if he would have started this escapade on his own, without her.  His thoughts turned bitter as he sucked wine and vinegar from a pole offered by a random Roman.  All the effort I put into this…where is the accomplishment, the heralding of heaven? As soon as he thought it, he felt guilty.  Aloud he asked why his Father in Heaven had forsaken him and regretted it as soon as it left his mouth.  He felt the Virgin recoil but hold fast at his feet.  He had never backed down to earthly authority and it had brought him to this; he had stood fast on the Lord and it had brought him to this; what did this prove?  He began to get restless as he felt the fight leaving him.

His “parlor” tricks early on had only gotten him so far with the people.  If anything they were too wowing and hindered his real message of peace.  But, he had tried words too, metaphors, parables, similes; to what end?  They had also gone unheeded and misunderstood.  Even his disciples did not always know what to do, what to adhere to and what to emphasize; and they were the wise ones!  So he had preached in plain as day language till he was exhausted and this was what they rewarded him with.  He preached that they were putting too much emphasis on his arguable claim to divine authority.  He told them time and again that it was about man and his inner divine nature.  He had tried to tell them that his whole ministry was for everyone and to stop worshipping him.  They did not listen; they just nailed him to a tree to see what would happen.  There is a grander scheme, he remembered yelling.  You are missing the whole entire point of the kingdom, he yelled another time.  Righteousness, justice, equality, he had preached all this till blue in the face.  He was just a messenger, he had tried to say, tried to get a cross; but now he was nailed to one.  And while he hung up here, jibed at and ridiculed by the masses, he gained finally a sense of understanding and peace.  This is how we usher it in, God seemed to say.  It was semi-humorous, now, when he understood that his divinity was not what mattered but his humanity.  And that’s why they were killing him.  It was his passion that they found fault with, nothing more, nothing less.  He was being destroyed because he was just too good to be true.

Again he thought back to Cana, and how now, on the cross, he was performing his last miracle.  This one was truly amazing, although no one for ages would fully understand.  Besides, it was only a prelude to the grandest of finales.  It suddenly hit him, he was dying.  He was taking sin and wedding it to death within his perfect body.  Oh, the humanity of this moment!  As the Christ languished with the wedding plans within him, he realized how pointless it was, how they would never in a million years even begin to appreciate what was happening.  By this point, Jesus hung limp, a tedious ugly rag doll, and he was beginning to feel disturbed.  He realized how brutally subtle his moment of salvation was, how slow it seemed to be becoming to pass.  There would be no celebration, he was thinking, until later.  The Romans, though, were done with the scene and all that was left was the activity of dying and the death itself.  The truth was being hammered home and Jesus felt quite depressed.

He had not given up, though; he just felt a sobering within him.  In a way, he realized, he had already succumbed.  But, he would not surrender his heart, but willingly give it.  Perhaps insensitively, the bawling of the women and the men around him began to fray his resolve as he realized what truly was at stake, what truly was occurring.  He knew those around him had no clue; but he knew.  He knew his insensitivity was a simple human reaction to endless suffering, a kind of dampening of the nerves.  Someday they will understand, he hoped, they would rejoice even; even if soberly.  Jesus was hurt, sad, and happy at the same time.  This wedding of sin to death within what was left of his body would shorten the gulf between man and God and make man righteous finally.  That was not something to cry about and that is the reassurance he held on to as he breathed his last.

The pomegranate tasted bittersweet in her mouth.  The snake’s rattling died out ominously as it slunk away.  Its spell slowly receded from her mind, releasing it sweetly.  That’s when she realized too late what she had done.  She waited, almost patiently; she expected to die any moment; but it never came.  She expected the fruit to come with a fast-acting poison or something.  Instead, she found that it tasted good and, more importantly, filled her with something she did not quite understand yet, but hinted at some new spell that was even greater than the serpent’s.

Thus, she did the “sensible” thing and found her lover/husband to share this new sensation.  After all, she was still alive and felt a strange “beginning” within her.  She must find him and get him to take a bite, she thought.  Her panic that started when she had eaten the forbidden fruit had now subsided and was replaced with a sense of something to come, an impending-ness.

After she had found him and he had taken a curious bite, he became faint and asked her earnestly exasperated, “Where did you get this?”  She told him, pain registering on both their faces, and he began to blubber.  He sounded like a wounded animal.  The color left his face and he began to feel strangely vulnerable.  It was a new feeling, one he had never experienced before this moment.  He felt cut off and alone…

Unable to bear this new anxiety, he grabbed his wife and hid them both in the bushes.  On cue, God came and found them.  Adam stuttering blamed it on the snake but earned nothing less than an eviction from the garden.  This was the beginning of sin, and the birth of shame, and the world would never be the same…

 

 

If you like this at all, let me know and I will try to write more, to continue the story…

JWT

 

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