Spying on Messiah
Spying on Messiah
They murdered God. They crucified Jesus. I didn't see it. I fell into a deep well of sadness, so deep Mother believed I was sick and let me lie in bed. I laid there, hardly even eating, until Micah came four days later.
"Jonathan," Mother called. "Micah wants to know if you can come out."
I walked out, squinting in the bright sunlight.
"Did you hear?" Micah asked. He was excited.
"They say Jesus rose from the dead?"
It took me a second to take in what he said. "He what!"
"Came back to life. Rose from the dead."
"That's what they say."
"His disciples. And the women and others who were with him,"
"Do you think it's possible?"
"Well, you know the things we saw him do. And Lazarus came back to life."
"That's right. Maybe he really was Messiah."
"Maybe he really is Messiah," Micah said, his eyes dancing. "Do you think we can find him?"
Jesus' disciples should still have been in Jerusalem, unless they had left for fear of the religious leaders. The holy men killed their master; what was to keep them from coming after his disciples? For all we knew, they had left.
We went to the house where they had eaten the Passover and were given a cold, peek-through-the-door reception by the lady of the house. "No!" was her brief answer before slamming the door. We looked for Galileans in the market place but found no disciples.
"Do you think it's really possible that he rose from the grave?" I asked Micah.
He didn't answer for a moment. "Well, they say he did. Or some of them do. And they say that he predicted his death and that he said he would 'rise from the grave on the third day.' But to say I really believe it . . .?" He was quiet again.
"I know," I said. "It's incredible. But it is possible. Look at all the things he did. And he brought others back to life. I'll bet if you asked Lazarus if he believed Jesus came back from the dead, he would say , 'Yes!'"
We had to be cautious in our search of the market place, where many people--often from other countries--and animals made a milling mass. There was one spot we had to watch out for: my father's meat shop.
If Father saw us, he would want to know what we were up to. What business did we have in the market?
The shepherds and farmers brought their lambs and sheep and goats and cattle to town. Father bought the animals and butchered and prepared the meat in a shed near the north city gate. Then he sold the cuts from his shop in the market.
Some of his best customers were the priests and rabbis who brought animals offered as tithes or sacrifices. Father skinned and cut them up and prepared them for the priests. He knew all the rules and had a good reputation with the holy men. They usually paid him with a tithe of the meat which he then sold.
As we were making our way out of the square, suddenly, right in front of us, was one of the disciples. We had seen him every time that Jesus had been in Jerusalem. Without a word, we dropped back into the crowd and kept an eye on him. He made his way around, buying food. He had three loaves of bread and was looking at fruit. After agreeing on a price, he bought a basket of figs. Finally, shopping complete, he headed down a side street. We trailed as far back as we could without losing him.
He went into a two-story house. We came up and looked it over. What now ? Was Jesus inside? How could we know? How could we get in to see him?
"You want to knock on the door?" Micah asked.
My head jerked toward him. "Not me. You do it."
"What will I say? I can't just ask, 'Is Jesus here?'"
"Think of somebody to ask for. We will peek in when they open the door."
"How about Eli? There are a lot of men named Eli."
Micah tapped on the doo