Crucified?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
what if Jesus hadn't gone to the cross, what if sin was not dealt with at that rugged cross??? Where would the world be?

Submitted: March 14, 2016

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Submitted: March 14, 2016

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Crucified?

 

“I can’t, I can’t,” he cried.

Nearly sobbing he walked back to his friends who were waiting for him.  He knew how he would find them when he got back to them.  He had known even before he had left them to go on alone.  And yet, this was the most important night of his life, in fact, this night was the reason he had been born.

As he had known, he got back to his companions and found, first one of his closes friends leaning against a large rock asleep and using his hands as a pillow, the rest of his body was lying on the soft grass of the garden.  The other two with him were also in different positions of repose.

“Guys, Guys, wake up.  I need you to look out for me.”

The first one against the rock stirred.  “We were looking out,” he mumbled nearly incoherently.

“Be more vigilant, I need you to look out for me,” Jesus repeated.  Then he turned and walked back to where he had been praying earlier.

*

From a place where nobody with human eyes would be able to see him, Satan watched the drama; the continuing battle with interest.  He couldn’t understand what the enemy was doing, but he knew that Jesus had played his last move.  There wasn’t much time now, this game was almost over.

It had been quite a fight, much more than he had expected three years ago when he had first laid eyes on this pitiful carpenter’s son.  He had known even before Jesus was born that he would come, but he had expected something grandeur.  Even before seeing him, however, Satan had prepared for him.  He had been fine-tuning his plans, going over strategies, working on what to say, how to say it; everything had to go perfectly.

After Jesus had been born he made sure his minions kept a close eye on him.  After being thwarted in the initial attack on the babes of Bethlehem, he had even instituted a system of messengers to insure that whatever happened in the Hybrid’s life would get back to him.  Thus, nothing could go unobserved:  know your enemy, even human soldiers knew as much.  Of course watching and learning aren’t the only aspects of war.  The same underlings who had watched were also the ones who had made the initial forays.  At first it had been a little frustrating (okay, more than a little, perhaps) to discover none of those attacks had even so much as planted a seed or idea but instead had been summarily dismissed and rebuked.  The shock of being rebuked and learning that on the authority of his word alone the attacker had to leave, had nearly caused a mutiny among his hordes.  Returning calm to the host had been a long and difficult endeavor.  They had had the run-of-the-mill and been doing things their own way so long, that they had forgotten what it was like to be frustrated.  Satan, however, had not forgotten.  This time he would make-up for past disappointments.  He had hated having to explain and go over this again for the sake of reassuring his demons, but the army had to keep its ranks and poise in critical times like these.

And so, the armies of the power of the air had meticulously and methodically begun a campaign of tempting Jesus to sin.  Every division had fielded their greatest champions in their efforts against the wood-worker.  The failures had been difficult blows to the morale of the hierarchies in hell.  But Satan had studied the records of every battle, every skirmish, anything about Jesus he could put his hands on.

And then it had finally come time for him to take the field three years ago.  Jesus had just gone through that travesty of being baptized by his cousin (as if John was better than he was!), and the fool had actually made his own way into the desert.  Everything had been so perfect, how had it gone so wrong?  Satan clenched his fists at the memory; the muscles of his jaw worked a staccato.  Three good chances and not one of them worked, since then many more, and still no success.

Now here he was, in a garden with Jesus and a bunch of his groupies, him going on with his interminable prayer while Satan waited for the last of his strategies to come to fruition.  It was turning out quite interesting, “I can’t” had never been in Jesus vocabulary before, he had always depended on his ‘Father’.

The adversary of souls settled in to watch the proceedings more comfortably.

*

Michael knew Satan was about somewhere close, but right now it wasn’t a pressing concern.  He too, had been surprised at Jesus prayer, only with him it hadn’t been pleasure that had coursed through him.  Always before the case with Jesus had been, “of myself I can do nothing”. 

Michael had followed his incarnate God on earth since before his birth.  For once, it had been inspiring to follow the progress of a human being after so many disappointments.  To be sure, like all others who had been followers of the Most High, Jesus had learned obedience by suffering.  The suffering was always hard to watch, he wasn’t allowed to interfere.  But this one, The Son of Man, had not departed like the others, not at all, ever; He himself was without sin.

Not to say that the job of having the charge over Jesus had been easy.  Satan had been working feverishly to make him stumble, and more so as the time had gone on.  The battles had been furious at times, but hard and swift attacks had been met by reliable, unrelenting defense every time; like Moses, Jesus had kept his arms up during the battle and never flagged.  And now, Michael knew, like Satan and Jesus, that the conclusion was fast approaching.  How would it all end?

With a shake of his head to bring himself back to the present, Michael returned to his diligent watch over the Lord of Hosts.

*

“It’s just a little further on this way,” Judas said to encourage the band of men he was leading toward Jesus.

Thinking back over the time since he had met Jesus, Judas was again filled with wonderment at the memories.  At the time when he had first joined up with them, it had seemed like the greatest privilege to be among such a group as that, and upon being chosen to be among the twelve, even more so.  Following Jesus ministry had not lacked for excitement either.  At the beginning, the miracles, the healings, the events that Jesus had performed had really been as if God where moving in and through and around him, fulfilling his word.

But of course, eventually the novelty of even these extraordinary things wore off.  By the time he had gotten control of the money purse, Judas was completely disenchanted with supernatural events.  What he wasn’t disenchanted with, what had always been the most important thing for him, had just been put into his grasp.  Times were dangerous, he told himself, a man needed to look out for himself.  He had always known this Jesus couldn’t last for ever, and then what would become of him?  Affairs between the government and Jesus had been getting progressively more hostile, when things came to a head between them, he might need to leave his home and country, it wouldn’t have done to flee penniless.  Well, at least none of that was going to happen.  Now the chance to make a little for himself, reconcile himself to his government and end the suspense that had dominated his life for too long had come.

However, the events at supper were still disturbing:  Judas had been eating his supper with Jesus and the other eleven when Jesus had said, “what you are about to do, do quickly.”  How had he known?  Judas had sprung to his feet without conscious thought, like another mind was motivating his actions.  He had left them to go and fulfill the pact he had made, somehow knowing intuitively that now was the time of its realization.

That same fevered sense of urgency had stuck with him throughout the evening as he met again with the leaders to accomplish his task as their informant of Jesus's whereabouts.  Being elected to lead the band to Jesus' location had not agreed with his plans at all, but the same fevered urgency had made him comply before he had even thought of formulating a proper refusal.

Once he had left the hall where he had met the chief priests, that sense of urgency had departed, somehow it seemed to go ahead of him.

*

Peter felt awkward carrying a sword on his hip.  He had never been a soldier so the unaccustomed weight at his side served more as a rib gouger and an irritant and less as a reassuring presence.  But the Lord had told them to take the two swords they had found, and it was always wise and prudent to do as he commanded.

Peter tried to readjust his position against the rock he was laying on to get the sword to stop hampering his breathing and was only moderately successful, Peter fell back into a fitful sleep again.  No matter how he tried though, he could not find himself a good restful sleep,  Jesus words kept nagging at his subconscious, “…you will deny me.”

From what seemed far away, peter could hear the Lord’s voice, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.”  Somehow, it seemed an odd prayer for Jesus to be praying.

Then another sound begun to invade Peter’s slumbering mind, the sound of people moving around in the garden.  Then the Lord was approaching.  Peter roused himself the rest of the way to consciousness, and quickly went to his two companions to shake them awake too.

“Still sleeping, were you?  No matter, we have company now, look sharp,” the Lord commanded.

A whole crowd was around them, the other eight disciples who had remained further back were trying to come toward Jesus but some men were restraining them.  Then Judas, who was surrounded by men, approached Jesus directly and when he was near leaned in and kissed Jesus cheek.  They exchanged some words, but Peter was too far away from them to make out what was exchanged.  The band that was behind Judas surged forward, they nearly knocked Judas off his feet in their effort to get around him and grab Jesus.

They were soldiers, Temple guards, peter saw; and then he understood.  He lost his temper.  With anger controlling his movements he clumsily drew the sword he was wearing from the scabbard at his side.  He had the murderous idea of splitting the closes soldier's head in two, but his swing was not the beautiful arch he had hoped for, and besides, the soldier moved his head before Peter was able to land the blow.  As a result, he only caught the man’s right ear and Peter sword deflected – for the rest of the swing – harmlessly off the shoulder of his breastplate.  Peter skipped back away from the soldier before he could draw his sword and retaliate for the piece of his body he had just lost.

“Live by the sword die by the sword,” The Lord yelled out, halting everybody in their footsteps.  “You!  Bring you’re ear here to me.”

“I should have known," Peter said under his breath, knowing the Lord would put the guy back together again.

“You came for me, now you have me, let’s go, the others are not part of this.”

*

Satan, who had been whispering in the commander’s ear since he had first accosted Jesus, told him to just accept what Jesus said and leave with him before another scene arose.  The truth was, Satan was just impatient to get this over with.  He didn’t want to give the Enemy one second to develop a counter-plan against this tactic.

This was a bitter sweet solution to the Problem.  It would have been nice to go through the whole structure: from evil desire to enticement, sin and then death, but if not by the normal means, at least the same end.

The fact that the Enemy had not in any perceivable way fought back against this attack was troubling.  Satan’s repertoire of armaments against the Insurrectionist was getting thin.  In fact, this was the last weapon he had, if it failed…

But it couldn’t fail, and to see that it didn’t, he was overseeing every detail personally.  His captains of the divisions were on hand if he needed them.  As well, all the humans of his faction had been brought to a boiling point of hatred against the Subvert of the human race.

The thought of his human ‘children’ gave him a moment of delight.  He loved working through them against the Enemy.  In his dealings with them, the Enemy had made his mistake – out of his own mouth many years ago, he had said, “nothing that they purpose to do will be withheld from them.”  That was the key, Satan had realized.  When dealing with the Lord of Life he would have to take the Word of Life to bring death.  Man had been the recipients of the blessing of that Word for so long that whatever they purposed had to prosper.  With his guidance they would purpose to end their Author.

*

They are entering the palace now, my lord,” the captain of the Temple guard said to the high priest.

“Good, no delays, send Jesus right in.  We’re all assembled and waiting for him,” the high priest, Caiaphas, instructed.

The guard nodded.  “Also, my lord, they brought Jesus to Annas your father-in-law as you ordered.  The commander gave me this letter for you from him.”

“Thank you,” Caiaphas said, taking the letter.

The high priest quickly perused the letter and nodded then addressed the assemblage before him.  “Some of you might recall that some time ago I prophesied that it would be better for one man to die than a whole nation, Annas hasn’t forgotten.  He believes now, after examining this Jesus, that his death will save the whole nation.  Consider this as you render your verdicts.”

Two guards came in leading the prisoner between them.  They placed him in the center of the room and walked back to stand unobtrusively near the rear wall, the interrogation begun.

*

Jesus paid no attention to the questions they were asking him.  He knew scripture said, ‘like a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth;’ also, the Holy Spirit was holding him in check, encouraging him not to speak; and lastly, he knew that even if he were to answer their questions with the best responses, there was no way out of this, they were determined to kill him no matter what defense he erected.

This was it, this was why he had been born, the anti type of all the different sorts of sacrifices spoken of in the covenant given by Moses from God.  He would be The Spotless Lamb for a sin offering, He would be The Peace offering making a way between God and Man, and all the other types of offerings spoken of in the law.  Had it been worth all this?

He thought back over his life.  Like anyone, he could say there had been good times and there had been bad times.  He thought back to his younger days, his family life with his father and mother, brothers and sisters.  The thought nearly brought a smile to his face.  He remembered learning how to work wood from his father and the stories his mother would tell after supper to wile away the hours till bedtime, he remembered running around the city of Nazareth playing games with his siblings.  These were all parts of his childhood memories; times past never to come again.  Then he had become a young man, working with his father, traveling often: to Jerusalem learning from the sages, learning from the scriptures and admiring the temple.  He had traveled the countryside visiting cousins, friends and acquaintances fixing and mending their broken wood tools and furniture.  Lastly, he thought of his ministry years.  These had been some of the best and the hardest of times.  Funny, he thought, that after all that had happened, it was the moments like when he had stopped the mob from stoning the woman who had committed adultery or when he had forgiven the woman who had cried on his feet, which stuck out in his mind.

After such a rich life as he had lived, would he be able to give it up now?  He knew the scriptures spoke of a resurrection, he believed his Father would bring it to pass, but first he would have to die.

*

Herod Antipas studied the man Pilate had sent to him.  He certainly didn’t look like John the Baptist, but what said that a resurrected dead man had to look the same as he had in life?

“Should I send for sick people so you can heal, or will you do some other type of miracle?” Herod asked.  When no answer seemed forthcoming he decided to try a different approach.

“Are you sure this is the right man?” Herod asked one of his attendants.  “Maybe Pilate sent a mute by accident?”

The court erupted in laughter.

“The high priest sent this one to Pilate to have him punished by Roman justice,” the attendant answered after the chuckles had died away.

“To die, then,” Herod observed in an undertone.

“My lord,” one of his advisers whispered to him from his side.  “Perhaps it would be wise not to insult Pilate, this long standing enmity serves no purpose.  Maybe more could be gained by a friendship?”  He made a small gesture toward the man on trial as an example of the good will and cooperation of Pilate.

Herod nodded and waved the man back.  What to do with this one now?  He wondered, narrowing his eyes in thought.  He had long wanted to meet this miracle worker but now that he was here he didn’t seem that impressive, despite the stories he had heard about him.  Maybe he could provoke him to do something.

“Do you not speak the language? Perhaps, if I started hopping and screaming like a baboon like the rabble, you would understand me?” Herod derided bitingly.

Again, the hall burst into hilarity.  Some of the attendants tried to actually engage Jesus in a baboonish discussion.  Mocking comments were yelled at Jesus from all around the hall.

*

Michael and the angels with him watched the proceedings till finally, Herod got bored and by the counsel of the adviser by his side, ordered that the prisoner be sent back to Pilate for ‘disposal’.

The trip back to the Roman Preatorium wasn’t long, and again Jesus was made to stand before a judge.  Michael watched as Jesus waited patiently and quietly for Pilate to finish his discussion with the Jewish authorities.  When he had finished, Pilate walked over to Jesus, and standing directly in front of him said, “so, you’re the king of the Jews, eh?”

“Yes.”

“My king is greater,” Pilate said softly.

“If this were my kingdom my subjects would fight.”

Pilate stepped closer to Jesus, “my wife sent word to me about a dream she had, she told me to have nothing to do with you,” he said too quietly for anyone in the room to hear but Jesus.  Jesus remained silent.

“She’s a wise woman, she told me to have nothing to do with you, so I will have nothing to do with you.  Your own people can deal with you, your leaders brought you to me for judgment and I will give you back to your people for the verdict.”

“Get the other prisoner, we’re going to settle this matter by to the custom we have at the feast,” he ordered loud enough to be heard by his soldiers around the room.

Michael, after watching these things transpire, went out to Gabbatha, or the Stone Pavement of the judgment, to hear what the people would say once they heard that Jesus’ fate would be put in their hands.

*

As Pilate took his seat, his court official opened the session and brought the people gathered on the pavement to order.

Pilate rose and addressed the multitude: “You know why we’re gathered here today.  Your officials have charged Jesus, your king, with high treason.  Also, in Roman custody is Barrabas, an insurrectionist and murderer.  The custom of releasing one prisoner during the feast will continue, your task is to decide which one it will be.”

“Barrabas, Barrabas, Barrabas,” the crowd chanted.

Pilate raised his arms to call for silence, “and what should I do with Jesus?”

“Away with him,” they replied.

That should have been an end to it, but Pilate, who had had many criminals punished couldn’t bring himself to let this case go.  It didn’t feel right.

“Why should Jesus be condemned?” he asked.

No clear answer was forthcoming, but it was clear that the question had aggravated the thong.  Still, he didn’t want to let this happen, he hadn’t done this often, but Pilate signaled to a slave nearby for water to be brought.

“I ask you again, what should become of this, Jesus?  I am leaving this entirely in your power, in fact, I am washing my hands of this affair,” that said, he put out his hands and the slave poured out the water he had brought on them.

Pilate heard a few distinct voices in the crowd shout back, “crucify him.”  He also heard one man scream, “his blood be on us and our kids.”  That pronouncement seemed to trigger a mini vision of Jerusalem being utterly destroyed in Pilate’s mind.

“It will be required of you and your children and all of us” Pilate whispered.

*

“That’s enough,” Malus, the centurion shouted.  He didn’t want the crucifixion delayed because he had to carry a body outside the city to stick on a tree.  “Get him dressed, provide him his timber, and let’s go.”

The soldiers complied quickly.  They untied Jesus from the whipping post, got him dressed and handed him his cross.

“Let’s get this done,” Malus ordered, motioning his company forward.  The soldiers were well disciplined and they had done this many times before.  

When the gate to the Preatorium had been opened, Malus wished he had commanded the entire century along.  The crowd that awaited them was much larger than usual; he was executing someone of a celebrity, he was reminded.  Nonetheless, he wasn’t about to start gathering the rest of his soldiers now.  The men he had would have to do.

The soldiers with Malus were also perturbed by the mob, but they covered their nervousness by belligerently walking toward it.  By the set of their faces anyone could tell that they would bode no nonsense from this bunch no matter how many they were.

Malus just hoped a riot didn’t erupt.

*

Satan was tenser than he had ever been.  This had to work – it would work.  It was hard to concentrate on the tasks at hand, but Satan exercised all the mental control he could muster over himself and continued to deploy his forces in the appropriate defensive position around Jesus, the soldiers and the centurion.  He briefly considered taking up temporary residence in Malus, the centurion, but dismissed the idea after some consideration: first he wanted to maintain the overview he had of the situation, second he would be in a better position to act if they were attacked from the spiritual realm, and lastly Jesus had already demonstrated that he could take dominion over him and cast him out of any ‘dwelling’, which would be… inconvenient at such a critical time.

Angelic forces were also in position but so far they had not done more than watch.  They weren’t usually so passive.  A plan must be brewing by now, Satan realized.  The attack could come at any moment.  Fortunately a human wasn’t hard to kill; his forces would just have to hold out till this Half-Breed died.  He re-checked the positions of his host.  Nothing was getting through them.  Satan was almost pleased with the thought.

Something else came to Satan’s mind.  He moved quickly to stand in front of Jesus and see if he could read anything in his expression.  He was obviously in pain, both physically and mentally ,but there didn’t seem to be any resentment, anger, wrath or any other virtuous quality about him.  Satan swore softly.

He left Jesus alone and went back to his surveillance of the scene.

*

Michael watched the procession from the top of Golgotha, he could see both the transient and spiritual planes below, and all the activity in both.  Why was the Lord letting this happen? he asked himself again.  The question wouldn’t shake off.

To Michael distances were irrelevant. He could see his God’s human face clearly, he looked like a wreck.  His face was bruised and battered and the clothes he was wearing were becoming drenched with the blood that was flowing from his unattended wounds beneath.

Around him those in the crowd were mostly unsympathetic.  They hurled insults and curses.  Some of the bolder ones even threw dirt, something the soldiers would discourage when they could apprehend the offender by rapping him over the head with the flat of their swords; they didn’t defend the condemned out of any pity, it was because they also would get pelted when the dirt was thrown.

Like Satan, Michael had also dispatched his angels for the greatest tactical impact.  If their Lord called for their service, they would spring up around him.  Satan would find his forces permeated with his enemies.

But Michael still couldn’t see how this cataclysm could be happening.

*

Poor man, Simon of Cyrene thought to himself.  Poor man, Simon thought of himself.  He had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, which, up until this point, had been going quite well.  Not an hour gone he had left the inn where he had been lodged to get supplies, along the way he had been accosted and forced to carry this cross.

No man should be treated like this, and certainly not on one of God’s feast days.  Simon encompassed both himself and the condemned in that sentiment.  Dying was always a wretched business, how much more so when everybody was having a celebration.

Simon took a quick glance behind him again to get a micro-study of the man whose cross he was carrying.  Aside of his miserable state of health, there was nothing extraordinary about him, he looked like an average fellow.  Simon shook his head in dismay, you couldn’t tell by simply looking at somebody that he was a criminal.

From somewhere in the crowd, Simon heard somebody shout they would never have a false prophet as a leader over them, Jesus was getting what he deserved.  So this was why the great multitude was assembled - and he was carrying Jesus’ cross.  No man deserved this on one of God’s feast days, how much less a prophet.  Simon felt a heaviness enter his heart.  It wasn’t just the Jews, the whole world was always against God and his plans.  Simon remembered learning about Antiochus Epiphanes who had literally attacked the faith of the Hebrews.  There were many other examples, this was just the latest example on a national scale.

The road began to slope upward.  They had not traveled far outside the city, and now they were going up a little hill, Simon guessed this to be their destination.  The cross was heavy on his shoulders.  Jesus didn’t appear to have much strength left, Simon saw after another backward glance.  Simon wished he could somehow help Jesus out of this, but he knew that he could do nothing against the soldiers.  When the procession had crested the hill, the centurion himself pulled the cross off him and threw it to the ground.  Then he pushed Simon back so he wouldn’t obstruct his men’s grisly work.  He took Jesus and shoved him roughly down onto the cross.  Simon had seen men being crucified men, but he had never watched the process actually getting done, his stomach was already in knots.

*

The difficult walk from the Preatorium was finally over.  Malus had most of his company take up position around the hill while he and two others crucified the prisoners.  The Crowd had not been obstructive but some of them had been demonstrative.  A large, crushing thong like the one they had just passed through, some with deferring sentiments about the proceedings they were witnessing could always become volatile.  Malus wanted this over with as soon as possible.

The two thieves who had been added to his ensemble almost as an afterthought would be the first to be crucified.  The centurion with his two orderlies moved to the one on the left first.  Malus’ soldiers understood their centurions reasoning.  The two less important condemned men would serve as a test to gauge the crowd.  If the sight of the first two crucifixions didn’t arouse the ire of the people, they would also accept Jesus’ crucifixion.  If they did revolt at the sight of either of the first two executions, the riot might not be as strong as it would have had they seen their champion’s punishment.

The sight of the first two crucifixions would serve to catheterize the anger of the mass if it didn’t serve as a detonator.

The tension was palpable as Malus drove the nail into the first man’s hand, he screamed out.  Some in the crowd laughed at his suffering and crude jokes were shouted out.  As the centurion continued nailing the first man to the wood, he noticed the leaders of the people arriving at the site.  The people fell silent and some of those who were sympathetic to Jesus began to leave - they knew they could only get themselves into trouble if they stayed.  Malus was relieved to see that the dissidents were dispersing.

*

Jesus was left laying on the wood waiting for the centurion to return after crucifying the other two condemned.

‘Redeem my precious life from the power of the dogs’,

was the only scripture, the only thought that his mind could hold.  His body was exhausted and very sore.  His eye sight was dimming due to fatigue, and his wounds were stinging from the perspiration caused by the pre-noon sun and the walk out of the city.

The screams of the men beside him weren’t even distracting to Jesus tired mind.  Even the pain and fatigue of his body were secondary-

‘Redeem my precious life…’

It was a precious life.  A rich, divers, connected life that had much to see and learn and do yet if he continued in it. Maybe his Father had never meant for him to die here.  He thought of the incident between God, Abraham and Isaac.

Yes, had not the Father told him that he had put twelve legions of angels at his direct disposal after Peter had cut off the soldier’s ear?  Just then, the centurion returned with the two soldiers in tow.  He bent down and placed a nail against Jesus’ hand.  One of the soldiers grabbed his other arm while the other held down his legs and torso.  The centurion raised the hammer above his head.

“Stop,” Jesus commanded in a whisper.  “Come to me.”

*

The apostle John was standing next to Mary and some of the other women who had followed Jesus ministry.  This had to be the worst day of his not- so- long life.  His best friend, one of his kin, a man who had been closer to him than a brother, was being killed.  At Jesus feet he had learned so much, nearly everything he knew about life, now it was all coming to an end.

John heard the pounding of a hammer hitting a nail and a man screaming out, but he couldn’t see what was happening through the crowd.  Mary grabbed his arm tightly and looked up at him to know what was happening, but he could only shake his head.

“Let’s get a little closer,” he suggested.

John thought that the task of moving through the thong might turn out to be difficult, but he was wrong.  Most people didn’t want to seem to have any association with a criminal or even get near the fierce Roman soldiers.  They were in front of the crowd by the time the centurion was finishing his work with the second criminal.  He walked over to Jesus.  Mary turned her head away and John put his arm around her in an effort to console her.

John resolutely kept his eyes on the events transpiring.  Thus, he saw what happened next:  The centurion was about to drive the first nail into Jesus’ body when Jesus spoke.  Suddenly, from nowhere sprang beings into existence.  There was so many of them everywhere and they were fighting each other.

The beings were massive and terrifying.  John saw that many people in the crowd had either fallen down and were trying to be as inconspicuous as possible while others seemed to be immobilized by fear.  He himself had not moved, Mary hadn’t either except to cover her face with her hands.

Looking again toward Jesus, John saw that many of the soldiers around him had taken to their knees in prayer, and some had to avoid being trampled by the monsters fighting around them.  The apex of the hill was especially thick with the new denizens.

Lastly, John looked directly at Jesus half fearing he had already been trampled.  To his amazement he found Jesus laying in the same position as he had last seen him in, lying on his cross, and he was looking up at the fight directly over him.  The figures above him were more splendid than even the others who had appeared.  They were both head and shoulders taller than any of the others.  With the exception of their size, they appeared human yet their skin had a certain quality that no human could imitate with any type of oils or paints or lights.  They seemed translucent and at the same time florescent.  Light emanated from one while the other emanated darkness; but neither the light nor the darkness was of the type to help or hinder sight.

John was reminded of the passage in the book of the Assumption of Moses where Michael and Satan disputed over Moses’ body, these two had to be the same.  They each held what looked to be swords made of the most brilliant mirrors which held a kind of luminosity: one light the other darkness, and they were about to battle above Jesus.

Their swords collided with the force of thunderbolts, too fast for any human eye to follow their swords darted, parried, ducked, feinted and stabbed.  Neither one gave ground, they were equally matched.  John was mesmerized by the scene.

Three angels abruptly came darting out of the sky and all three slammed into the being that emanated darkness, Satan.  They were followed closely by three other winged beings, demons, who, when they saw what the angels had done to their leader veered off the pursuit to slam into the other luminous being, Michael.

Both groups went down in heaps; four supernatural beings in each.  One of the angels who had run into Satan was the first to arise.  Satan and Michael were both occupied trying to disentangle themselves from the enemy soldiers on them.  The angel took Jesus, wrapped his arms around him and extended his wings to take to the air.  Once Jesus was airborne, Satan’s efforts to disengage the two angels became more frenzied.  But Michael, who had also been attempting to get free of the demons, suddenly changed his strategy to holding them while Jesus and the angel escaped.

One of the angels who was attempting to keep Satan down got stabbed through the chest, he disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.  Michael, seeing that the lone angel was no match for Satan, and supposing that the angel who had Jesus had had enough time to get away, changed his strategy and started fighting his three demons off again.  The angel fell back before Satan and re-engaged two of the demons Michael had been fighting.  Michael now unrestrained, looped the last demon’s head off, like the angel earlier, he also disappeared.

John saw that Satan, after getting respite from the battle, had been looking skyward hoping to pursue Jesus, but when Michael got free, he had no choice but to take back up the fight against him.  John looked to the lone angel fighting off two demons and hoped he would be able to last against them or Michael would be outnumbered three to one.  Fortunately, the angel was wise enough keep up a retreating fight, never fully engaging them but never giving them enough room to leave him and go to their master.

The battle raged on all over and around the hill.  Some of the humans who had regained their wits, seeing that they weren’t being directly targeted were trying to make their way through the warring armies to safety.  John made a wondrous discovery then, whenever a human would inadvertently get in the way of the combatants, when their body met with the supernatural, they would pass right through like one of them was a ghost.  He also saw a few men get struck by ethereal demon swords.  The affects weren’t always the same, one man seemed to be struck blind, another fell dead and still another was apparently struck with insanity, for he continued walking on, now without concern and laughing and howling, falling and rolling on the ground in merriment.  The angels didn’t strike at people.

Then a trumpet sounded, and a mighty voice shouted that the Lord was safe; the angelic host disappeared.  The demonic force looked around in confusion for a moment, a few struck nearby men in frustration.  Satan let out a mighty yell and they too all disappeared as if they had never been.

*

Damnations and curses on him to the deepest darkest pit, never to see light again, Satan thought.  He was pacing the hill, again out of the sight of human eyes.

“Bring all the generals of my army here now!” he shouted to the closes demon.

And these generals too, he thought, might find themselves in a deep pit if he had his way, the bunch of useless… not seeing the ambush of hidden angels on the hill... Satan’s thoughts trailed off as his attention was reverted to what the centurion in the material plane was doing.

As Satan watched he saw Malus gathering his troops together.  Most of them had escaped unscathed, Satan was surprised to notice, considering that the hub of the battle had been among them when it had exploded upon their plane.

Satan sensed his generals gathering behind him, but he kept his attention on the centurion, he knew what the man was going to do.

“We’re going to split up, each group to one of the four corners of the earth, maybe the ahh… that flew off with Jesus put him down somewhere,” the centurion said.

“What do we do if we find him, worship him or try to crucify him again?” one of the soldiers asked.  He looked around nervously to see if any creature might appear out of offence at his words.

“You crucify him,” one of the leaders of the Jewish people said as he climbed the hill.  He had been standing well away during the previous events.

“How do we know it wasn’t his god that saved him?” the centurion asked.

“Why, couldn’t you feel it, the thing that bore Jesus away was dark and evil, but the angels trying to prevent his escape where light and good.”

Satan smiled to himself; he loved his children whose light was darkness.  “Divide yourselves up into four parts and join the groups going out to find Jesus,” Satan ordered over his shoulder.  He stepped forward and merged with the centurion.

*

Malus felt an urgency about finding Jesus come over him that had not been there a moment before.  Also, he felt the priest was right, it had been the ‘wrong’ side that bore Jesus away.  He needed to go out and find him to see that justice was done.

“A Jewish leader would recognize the Jewish God.  If it wasn’t him that saved Jesus then it was an evil power, if you see him, throw a javelin.  Don’t fear, our gods will defend you against retaliation,” Malus answered his soldier confidently.

“And so will the Jewish God,” said the Jewish priest.

Some of the soldiers didn’t look convinced, but they kept silent.  Malus quickly divided the soldiers into four bands, appointed a leader over three of them and sent them off.  He himself would lead the band that followed the direction Jesus was last seen being borne in.

*

“What do you mean, ‘he just disappeared’?” Peter asked.

They were assembled in the same upper room in which Jesus had the last supper with them.  The eleven and the women who had followed Jesus were there and John was telling them what had transpired on Golgotha.

“He didn’t disappear, he was flown off.  The spirits disappeared, first the angels and then the demons too,” John explained.

“Where do you think they brought him?” Matthew asked.

“I don’t know, but the Roman soldiers split up and went out to look for him, if they find him I don’t think they’re going to let him live again,” John answered.

“They’re going to try to kill him again after what happened?” Peter exclaimed incredulously.

“I think so.  I heard the centurion give the order to his troops to throw a javelin at him.”

They’re pretty stupid if they obey,” Thomas said, and the others around the room nodded in agreement.

“Maybe we should go out and try to find him too, we can warn him first,” James suggested.

“I don’t think he needs our warning, James.  You know the Lord, it rarely happened that he didn’t know things,” Bartholomew said.  The others agreed again.

Peter looked around in confusion, he needed to see the Lord.  What could he do?  The others didn’t know, but he had denied the Lord just as He had predicted at the supper.  Peter would have confessed to the others ten, but there was definitely more pressing concerns now.  And first, he wanted to talk to the Lord.  “I need to find him.”

“Peter, where would we look?  If the Lord wanted, I suppose he could come back with the force that got him off the cross and take Jerusalem.  Besides, if he can walk on water, and make a rock like you to also, then he can come meet us here,” John said.

At the memory of Peter walking on water with the Lord, a few of them started laughing and mimicking Peter when he had started to sink.  Even Peter laughed at their antics.  But the merriment was short lived.

“So, are we abandoned now or is he coming back to establish his government for ever?’ Peter asked rhetorically.

*

“It has been six months, Malus, and you haven’t found Jesus.  I have every available soldier out looking for him, which is more than I can spare and I’ve even called in favors from everybody I know almost throughout the whole empire asking them to send out troops.  Now, I have to call off the search because word of what’s happened has gotten back to Caesar and he wants to talk to me,” Pilate told the centurion.  After a pause he added, “you’re coming with me to Rome.”

“Yes, Governor.”

Pilate looked at his centurion for a long moment, wondering if he should discuss what was on his mind.  He decided to see where his questioning would lead.

“Malus, your zeal in pursuing Jesus has been well noted, I also understand that you have sought out knowledge of this man’s life and work.  What have you been able to discover?”

“Nothing but fables and lies having to do with the Jewish religion, my lord.”

“Tell me,” the governor pursued.

Governor…Of course,” Malus signed dejectedly after looking at Pontius Pilate’s face.  “He was a traveling religious prophet.  His ministry, as it was called, was based mostly in the north around the sea of Tiberius, but of course, as it was related to the Jewish religion, it had to be involved, at least nominally, with this city.”

“Continue,” Pilate urged him when his narration stopped.

“There isn’t much more to tell, Governor.  He went around, allegedly performing miracles, telling stories, proverbs, parables and axioms.  The only thing that I found peculiar was some said he intended to die here to fulfill some prophecy in their holy book.  I would think it worthy of the same attention due the miracles, but they actually read me a portion of the book and it did sound like a man being crucified.”

“You don’t believe he performed miracles?” Pilate asked.  He knew of another centurion’s servant being healed by this, Jesus.

“Sire, the country peasants who told me about these ‘miracles’ typically had heard from someone else who had only heard of it themselves, it was always detached information.”

“What do you make of the disasters,” Pilate asked, referring to the natural catastrophes that had come over the land since Jesus’ escape.  They had started in Judea and now they were expanding throughout the empire; some were attributing this to what the Jewish leaders and Romans had tried to do to Jesus.

“If anything,” Malus responded, guessing Pilate’s line of thought, “it would be the anger of the gods because we were unable to kill him.  Even most of the Jewish religious leaders agree he is worthy of death.”

*

“We aren’t doing it, your Worship,” the demon groveling in front of Satan explained in a whiny voice.  Most of them had taken to referring to their lord as ‘Worship’ to appease his anger.  Ever since Jesus’ flight off the face of the world, Satan had been in a bad mood.  Nothing could soothe him

“Then what is causing these droughts, famines, plagues, storms and even, I’ve just heard, meteors falling from the sky on the city of Ephesus,” He demanded.

“Really,” the demon forgot himself enough to exclaim in surprise.

Satan glared at him.

“We think ahh… The enemy might be doing it, your Worship.”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Satan actually laughed.  “Are you so desperate for and excuse that you would try to make me believe that He is doing this?”

“W-w-we just aren’t sure, your Worship,” the demon stammered.  “Maybe it’s natural.”

“All of it?” Satan yelled.  “I know nature enough to know it’s not natural you bungling idiot.  Find out what’s causing all this and get back to me, and you’d better get back to me quickly.”

Yes, your Worship, my apologies, your Worship.”

The demon nearly ran out of Satan’s presence, which was probably fortunate for him.

*

Michael lifted his head, he had been looking into the dried up bed of the Jordan River, now it looked like a highway of baked mud.  In the distance he could see two travelers coming from the direction of the city, obviously weary, stumbling and sick.  Michael knew he couldn’t help them.  One of them collapsed, the other took a few more steps onward and he too fell.  One of his soldiers approached.

“Will he eventually relent, you think?” Derick, an angel under Michael’s command asked.

“I don’t know, I don’t even know why he’s doing this,” Michael answered.

“That should be evident.  They did try to kill him after all.”

“Maybe.”

There was an uncomfortable silence between them for a few moments.

“There’s word that another plague has sprang up in Jerusalem, it is even more virulent than the last one,” Derick said softly.

Michael just nodded.

*

What most of the angels still didn’t know except those few stationed there was the continent across the waters was on fire; miles and miles and miles of forest were burning from the northern to the southernmost tree-lines.  The few people inhabiting that land were dying quickly.

The world was dying and it was all the results of human activities.  The fires across the ocean were the result of sparks from fires that had simply not cooled sufficiently by the time they returned to earth.  The plagues were natural bacteria resulting from sanitary conditions, ordinarily they died before incubation, but for different reasons and conditions they hadn’t this time.

Seismic activity, storms and even falling meteors were all natural occurrences that now happened to have all the right conditions to go wrong.  Providence had failed.

*

“How is it that nobody smiles anymore?” Caesar Tiberius asked.  He was seated in his private study with governor Porcius Festus of the province of Judea.

“Caesar, forgive me for saying it, but they don’t have much to smile about with all that’s going on.” Felix answered.

“No, I suppose they don’t.  Tell me, what’s the estimated number of casualties?”

“Almost three-eights of the total population have died in the entire Empire, Caesar.”

“And it all started in this city of Jerusalem,” Caesar snapped.  “Why Jerusalem? Yes, yes, I’ve heard about the crucified prophet.  Why should the God of the Jews care so much about one person to the destruction of everyone else?  And why can’t our gods do something to stop him from bringing the world to ruin?”

“I sent for the Pontius in charge of Jerusalem and he informed me in his return letter that he was going to bring the centurion who would have crucified the man, Caesar.”

Suddenly, from outside the Palace, they could hear a tumult arising.  There were screams and thuds and blasts– it sounded like chaos.  Tiberius and Festus ran to one of the many balconies that looked out over the city.  The scene before them was horrendously impossible.  It was raining fire, a meteor the size of a house came falling out of the sky and a revolt was going on in the streets.

The Praetorian Guards were trying to fight the crowd off, but it was apparent that they didn’t have the numbers to stem the tide seeking to overthrow their ruler.  The mass was coming into the palace.  Festus looked over at his king and saw the parlor of his face had become white.  He knew he was going to die.

Caesar was torn limb from limb later that day just before a meteor larger than any of the previous ones that had landed on Rome slammed into the Palace.

*

Satan couldn’t stop laughing.  This must be what euphoria was – or delirium.  He was the Ruler, he was Lord, King, Master.  Nobody could stop him.  The world was in his hands; the world was his.  He couldn’t believe it.  He hadn’t known for all these months that he had won.  He still didn’t understand.  But nothing was opposing him now.

 

The new order would be theft, Murder and destruction till there was nothing left.

 

The End

 

The purpose of this little work was not to delve into heresy but to provoke you to think what the world would be like had Jesus Christ not decided to fulfill prophecy.  The ending of this story could be changed, if one chooses to expand it to encompass one thousand or even ten thousand years.  But nothing would change - men would still be in their sin, there would be no joy in this world and no hope for the next.

We would be doomed to destruction.

It is hard to imagine a world where what did actually happen didn’t, but the central purpose of this work was to illuminate the truth that Jesus really didn’t have to die.  He could have chosen not to despise the shame for the joy that was set before him and instead focused on the joy that was behind him, that was, the life he was leaving.  Knowing all things as he does, I don’t think he would have come from heaven if he knew he would make such a choice, and we would be no better off.

God is good, consider, he gave his son and sent the Holy Spirit.  He could have kept both.  He has given himself to us.  There are risks in loving unconditionally, but he doesn’t stop loving or giving to us because of those risks.  He knows all things and still he loves.  Jesus is exactly like the Father, what Jesus did, the Father would have done had he been in his place.

 

 


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