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(I have posted this before, and I will again no doubt. This is how I imagine the whole thing in the cave went down, after Jesus hung out for a bit… It’s in my Adventures in Ordinary Time. In any case, a heartwarming tale for the coming holiday, I thank you…)

The first thing was the pain.

Well, before that was nothing, but like one follows zero, here, there, everywhere, was the pain.

Oh, and so very much of it. Everywhere! Hands and wrists and arms and head. And legs and feet too!

He wasn’t sure if it was dark or that he could not see through swollen eyelids, but it was still. He wasn’t sure if the pain was mocking him in his nakedness or if it was cold too.

He tried to speak but all that came was a creak.

Why did you leave me there, he thought to himself. Such humiliation, such PAIN! My god, my god, why did you abandon me?

I did everything you asked of me. Every single thing. You told me to lead and to spread the word, and I did those things. You told me to challenge the people and to fight the powers that push our faces into the dirt. I did those things. And more.

I brought your message of subversion through love and they tore my hide from me like the lamb being prepared for the ritual meal.

Oh, and they laughed! The guards and the priests and the governor too. He could still recall that man’s smirk as he washed his hands and listlessly flung the drying towel into his slave’s face, clearly enjoying himself.

And my followers, such men as these! They scattered like scalded dogs. Only the women remained to weep at the front of the crowd. The vision of it was like a fevered dream for him, thick with humiliation.

No man should die so bloodied and spat upon and naked before his mother and his wife! Oh! Better to die only among the soldiers, giving one bloodied cheek yet again to the one beating you so he will remember that he had to work to kill a man that day.

But they failed.

Oh, it almost worked, oh yes the Romans are thorough. But the nails and the hanging too? To set an example, apparently. Don’t mess with the temple. Don’t get between the priests and their money. Don’t mess with business!

Kill the lamb, skewer the corpse and roast it up for dinner after the audience leaves. But serve with bitter herbs of course! They are Pharisees and must show their leadership and piety with proper food choice, yes?

Ohhh, the pain. And what it does to one’s mind. And the pictures it paints! Those filthy Romans with their costumes and legions. Oh, to see them all weeping like women and kneeling before the beaten man on the cross. To lie prostrate before me and beg forgiveness for the greatest sin of all!

Oh! And the priests in the temple and all the “chosen people” who heard the message again and again. How many times must I tell you? How much more clearly can I convey the message?

A pox on you all! To the hundredth generation nothing but scorn and shame and terror. Wander the earth like the lord never gave you your promised land. I told you, the lord gives and the lord takes away! Oh you Judea, you will finally listen and know!

Yes, obsess over what you’ve all done for generations to come!

Ohhh, such righteous anger makes the pain a little blunt, yes? Makes the heart beat again strongly!

Rest first. Find out where you are, Yeshua. Then find that rock-headed Simon and the rest of those fools! Put a scare into their idiot souls and send them into the world with the fear of GOD!

Just seeing me walk in the room will do that, I think. Yes, you asses, “he is risen.” What did I tell you would happen?

Now I have a real plan. A real vision! A story that will chill the soul and shake the foundations. And executed right it will most certainly topple the powers of the world!

Yes, rest first. Lie still. We have nothing but time….

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