Sunday, April 16, 2017
The Beginning of the New Road
"And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. Matthew 28:7-8)
(continued from The End of the Road, Part 8)
A loud pounding sounded, and all the disciples jumped. James ran and put his ear to the bolted door. "Who's there?"
"Mary of Magdala--let me in. Hurry!"
James looked at Simon Peter. "Should I?"
"How do we know it's Mary?" Peter asked. "Or maybe it is, but the temple guards captured her and forced her to lead them to us."
"Who's with you?"
"No one but your mother, James. Please let us in. We have great news!"
James cautiously lifted the bolt and peered through the crack, keeping his foot in back of the door so it couldn't be shoved open until he knew who was there.
"Mother...and Mary. Come in."
The two women burst through the opening, their faces lit with beaming smiles. "He's alive," Mary Magdalene fairly shouted.
"What? Who?" Peter asked.
"The Master--Jesus. We saw Him!"
"I don't believe it," Bartholomew said.
"We saw Him die," James said. "How can that be?"
"Believe it," his mother said. "We're telling you the truth. It was really Him. We took the spices over to anoint Him for burial, but He's alive."
John and Peter shot out the door, and the clumping of their sandals on the stairway echoed through the room.
James the Less shook his head. "That can't be true. John and Peter will be arrested. Mark my words. It was pure chance that we happened on Peter after he collapsed on the street--otherwise, he would probably already be in prison waiting crucifixion."
"We're wiser to stay here. James, bolt the door again."
James ben Zebedee did, his eyes filling for the fortieth time with tears. "I would that it were true. You two Marys are cruel to strike us with this joke of yours."
"But..." Mary of Magdala cried out.
"Save your words, Mary. They will never believe us."
Glum faces surrounded the two women, but one by one they turned away. The men sat on the floor next to east wall of the room while the women subsided to the west wall.
It wasn't long before they heard someone thundering up the stairs and pounding on the door again.
Wearily, James lifted the bolt. If it was the guards, they wouldn't give up until someone let them in anyway.
John ran into the middle of the room and threw his hands high. "It's true! He is risen, just as He said!"
Peter clumped into the room behind him, panting like a winded horse. "He's alive," Simon choked out. "He's alive!"
The two Marys gazed triumphantly at each other. The other followers rose to their feet slowly, mouths and eyes gaping.
Peter and John hugged each other, then proceeded to pound each other on the back and dance with joyous abandon. It wasn't a moment before the others joined them.
"HE IS RISEN!"