Galilean fool. John the Baptiser spoke so well, was so compelling. He just looked and stared – well now his unseeing eyes will look at the darkness of the underworld. Him? King of the Jews? I am of David’s line – I am the King! It is so tiresome to have so many mini messiahs: death has put and end to his claims, though every time I close my eyes I see his eyes burning into mine. This too shall pass – I shall have Pontius come and bring the gorgeous Claudia, a feast in the Emperor’s honour; that will shake the foul stench and troublesome sight of the carpenter king from our minds.
And so he lies, still and cold. He spoke of the resurrection and so I have pressured Pilate into guarding the tomb: those base fishermen and whores know a trick or two and so they will be prevented in whatever they are plotting. The temple guard search the city for them but with so many, the most I can hope for is for Judas to return and seek a little more money for a few more kisses. This should be an end. Here on the Sabbath we rest, at Passover we rejoice at the deliverance of Adonai, I give thanks for this rest from trouble and the deliverance brought through the death of this northern messiah.
Mary, Jesus’ Mother
I cannot sleep, my eyes bear no more tears, my heart will soon burst. He who I carried in my womb, birthed and cradled: I sang to him as Herod murdered the boys of Bethlehem, I nursed him and taught him. I washed his calloused hands in vinegar to harden the skin as Joseph shared the skills of woodwork. I wept as we lost him in Jerusalem. I wept. I have lost him in Jerusalem again. I washed his skin again. I sang to him but he could not hear me. I cradled him but he felt no comfort. They carried him away, wrapped again in swaddling clothes never to be unwrapped, never to be woken. Oh to hear his voice again “why were you worried, did you not know I would be doing my Father’s work?” Why this womb oh Adonai? Why could you not have taken me as you took Joseph? This mother would rather have been buried than have to have seen her son so broken. Where is the rescue that your promised? I listen, I strain, to hear the angel’s voice again. I hear only grave silence.
Simon of Cyrene
I have washed and washed but the stains of his blood are still there. Rufus and Alexander say they see them not, but I feel it there: where his hand rested on my arm, where the cross beam laid heavy on my shoulders, where he leaned in and thanked and blessed me, his mouth to my cheek. He thanked and blessed me – who was this bloody mess of a man? Why did he go to the cross? He is now gone. I came to Jerusalem for Passover and my life has been tainted in a way I did not invite. I want to wash away the stain but the Jordan does not contain water enough to wash away the mark of his blood.
To guard a tomb – to stand and guard a tomb. The necropolis is not a place for the living: the dead need no guarding. Orders are orders, and Pilate is a butcher, so I will stand my watch and watch no one stirs from outside or within! I stood my watch yesterday and saw this man’s life flow out of him. We broke the legs of the other two and they soon drowned in their own fluids. But he was already dead. Yet another order – stick him in the side, I hesitated. This man was no criminal, he was gentle and kind as he died. Now, as then, I think he was a son of the gods – this child of Heaven died like none I have seen die before; he cried out in Greek as he went to Hades – it is finished. Finished, like he had completed something – a hero of old completing a herculean task. Now he rests after his work, it is their Sabbath after all and I must guard him in his sleep.
Ciaphas has made an enemy in his personal crusade. Rome is not so easily bent to personal agendas. This Jesus of Nazareth was innocent of the guile they accused him of – they stood outside my house so as not to defile themselves and they sent in a bloodied and innocent man for me to send to the cross. Bastard hypocrites! They will pay for making me spill this innocent’s blood – if they have no king but Caesar then I will make them beg and bow and serve him as their only king: they shall have what they cried for. Rome shall undo this superstitious nation, that is why I taunted them with the plaque above the cross. Claudia begged me to have nothing to do with him: warned by the gods in a dream. She has wept the whole night and is making sacrifices of doves on the altar of our family gods even now. I cannot put him out out of my mind – his eyes, his manner, his peace, his determination. I do not understand what happened yesterday but I do not wish to think on it any more.
I kept waiting, hoping that he would do or say something: that Heaven would strike down the accusers and murders – I thought it was coming when the sky blackened, but nothing came other than the end of his life. Even now, even now, my heart is still blackened and dark but I hope – he spoke of death and of a rising again. It is impossible but he who woke Lazarus from death – can he not also turn death into life again? He who walked on water and calmed seas, will he not… my heart is broken. These are useless words but I do not want to believe what my eyes saw. He is gone.
He is alone. We saw where they laid him. I feel the darkness coming back. The voices whisper from the corners of my mind. They have taken my Lord, they have hidden him away behind stone boulders and a Roman guard. They wrapped him in a crude cloth and did not anoint him as they should. We must go and do it now. We cannot because the Sabbath law says rest. Where is the God of the Sabbath Law now? Is he resting? Did he turn his eyes away yesterday? Where is the smiter of the enemies of God’s People? Where is my Lord? The voices say they are coming for me, that my protector is dead, my hope has gone. I will go to him and cling to him and anoint him as he should be – maybe I should lay down my head in death too, maybe there I will find him again. Where is the hope now? He lies in the grave, alone, cold, waiting for a new anointing.