We walk with him. The teacher. Rabbi. Some call him the son of God or the son of man. We are with him every day. Every night. He talks with us. Eats with us. Sleeps with us. Serves us. Loves us. Right in the midst of this dusty countryside. He knows us. Not just know, but yada, a deep knowing of who we are. His eyes tells us that we are completed in his presence. We believe he is the one spoken of by the prophets. Mashiach. Our Messiah.
He tells us of the Father. We are to be one with the Father as he is one with the Father. The Father is a good man the Rabbi tells us. He will not give his children stones when they ask for bread. He will bring good news to the poor, heal the broken, free the captives, father the fatherless, and comfort the widows. The Father will bring justice and mercy. Our land will be restored and glorious. This great nation will bring blessing to those around them. No longer will we be oppressed, mocked, scorned. We are awed by the wonder of this man, Yeshua.
We arrive in the holy city for Passover. The people greet us. “Hosanna!” they cry. “Blessed is the King of Israel!” We are elated. Overjoyed. Prophecy is coming alive before our very eyes. We don’t know of the darkness looming. We don’t know of a plot to take the life of the one we love. That one of our own, one that he loves, will betray him with a kiss. We only know of this very moment, and we deeply drink of its beauty.
We sit together in a room. The Rabbi washes our feet. He breaks the bread. “Eat. This is my body broken for you.” He pours the wine. “Drink. This is my blood poured out for you.” He says he must leave, but that a comforter will come. We don’t understand. He loves us. How could he possibly leave us?
He retreats to a garden to pray. We try to stay awake but our bodies betray us. We are sorrowful when he asks, “Could you not pray with me one hour?” Suddenly confusion. A crowd. Chief priests. Temple Guards. Elders. Judas, our brother, betrays us with a kiss. We are angry. Peter uses the sword, cutting the ear of the high priest’s servant. “No more of this” he tells him. He touches the man’s ear and heals, showing love to those who hate him.
They take him away. Peter follows at a distance. Before the dawn arrives he denies Yeshua three times, just as he said. Peter weeps bitterly. We watch in disbelief as the one we love is falsely accused. Even the Roman government finds nothing to condemn him to die. In disbelief we watch as the crowd cries for the release of a murderer and the death of this man. The one who has loved us, cared for us and only spoke of doing his Father’s will. They beat him. They tear his clothes. They give him a crown of thorns. They make him carries his own cross up the hill to the place where they will crucify him.
We follow. Disbelief. Shock. Anguish. We cry out for mercy. A miracle. How can he die? The one we love. The one who loves us. There’s no waking up from this nightmare.
We stand with the crowd. We cringe as we hear the screams. The nails pound into his hands. His feet. The cross is raised up into the sky. And we watch. Six long agonizing hours we watch him die. A horrible death. The cruelest death reserved for the vilest of criminals. The cruelty of it all is almost too much to bear.
Then the moment. He cries out. And dies. How can it be? How could he be the Messiah and be dead? How could they kill this man, a righteous man? They take his body and lay it in a tomb. A large stone is rolled across and soldiers are placed to guard the tomb.
Three days we cry together. Weep. Mourn. We do not eat. Do not move. Shock. Disbelief. How? Why? We have too many questions and not enough answers.
Mary. I rise to go to the tomb. I knows it is only his body in that tomb, but I just want to be where he is. The stone is rolled away. I look inside. HE IS GONE. Deep sobs well up and escape my lips. Where have they taken him? Where? I run quickly back to the room. “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they put him!” My brothers run ahead. Yes. She’s right. He’s gone. They return to the room, leaving me alone crying.
I sees two angels. They ask me, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” I turn and see a man standing there. I assume he is the gardener. He asks me the same thing. “Please. Just tell me where you have put my Lord.” I beg.
The man looks at me. “Mary”. He says my name. And I know. It is he! Rabbi! I long to hold him, touch him but he forbids it. He tells me to go tell our brothers that he is returning to our Father. I run as fast as I can to the room. “He is alive! I have seen him!” Suddenly our sorrow has turned into rejoicing! He arose, just as he said! He appears to the disciples and lastly Thomas. Thomas must see the hands, touch his side to believe. Yeshua says “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The Lord, he is risen!
HE KNOWS MY NAME.Yesterday we celebrated what the world calls Easter. The Jews celebrated Passover. My friend, she celebrated Resurrection Sunday. She called me. Told me this story. Only she put her and I in the story. When she came to the part where he is standing by the tomb and he calls out Mary’s name…she said mine. And I cried. HE KNOWS MY NAME. I know He’s alive, He has risen and he called my name.
Yeshua knows my name…I know it. It’s the yada between me and the one I love. He’s not just my Savior, he’s my brother. He stands beside me, walks beside me and abides with me. He loves me and I love him. And he is teaching me about our Father. Abba. Adonai. The one and true God. The God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. See, I may not have been born a Jew…Hebrew, but I’ve been grafted into the family tree. Because my Yeshua…my Messiah…Savior…LORD…my friend and the one I love, LOVES me. Through him, I’ve been adopted. His death and resurrection means everything and it’s worth celebrating!
So yesterday I learned something new. Resurrection Sunday isn’t just about his resurrection…it’s about mine. I was once dead…but now I’m alive!
Oh what a contrast of days!