I had this terrible nightmare. In my dream, I was apprehended and imprisoned by men that were very evil. They accused me of all sorts of crimes I was supposed to have committed, but did not. They insisted that I confess to be guilty or else suffer severe torture and humiliation. They would whip me until my flesh would fall off my bones. They would put thorns on my head and tear off my fingernails and toenails. And, to shame me publicly, they would strip me of my clothes and hang me on a cross. The worst of all, they had lying witness, that saw me do these vile things. There was not a one person or friend that was willing to stand up for me and defend me. I was an open and shut case. And if there had been anyone; then, he would have been frightened to death just by the way all these evil judges looked at me. Their glaring and gloating eyes devoured me, their clenched fists and pointing fingers killed me and their squeaky and thundering voices buried me alive. In the midst of all the injustice, that was being perpetrated, I was helpless without recourse and doomed on top of it.
Easter is the crown of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Christ extends it into a hereafter, exempt from the miseries and tragedies that we face in this life. I have had more than my share in losses and suffering. When I lost 75% of the use of my hands, in a fire, I was taught to accept my tragedy as some disciplinary action of God. Later in life, I realized that accidents happen and we use them to keep us humble. I was told that God had a reason to let this happen to me. World leaders, political and religious, continue to exploit accidents and natural disasters to keep us in line with their thinking. Even the tragedy of Japan has become a disciplinary testing of our faith. Who is behind this kind of thinking? Who is doing the exploiting? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I do it to myself. The God, of the Bible, does not need to exploit my weakness or failures. My fellowmen do.
My identty and name may baffle you. To put your mind at ease, do not compare me to any other Mary. They had their place in Jesus' life and I had mine. All of us had noble roles and many of us were delivered out of dreadful bondages. Each one has her own story and please let me tell you mine. I am Mary of Magdala, a Gentile community. I was also known as the woman from Magdala; hence, they called me Mary Magdalene. Magdala was not exactly a place with a good reputation. We had a lot of licentious weirdoes in our town. I was exceptionally attractive and it was not easy for me to keep out of the claws of evil men. They did hurt me. It got so bad that these sinful people were glad to see me leave town. Their physicians diagnosed me as being incurable and as being dangerous to their citizens. My own family was well to do; but, they could not protect me from their neighbors that were afraid of me. I had become very violent and uncontrollable. I was the woman with the seven demons.
We were Roman soldiers and the Governor's bodyguards. Governor Pilate, in person, ordered us to take charge of guarding a tomb where the Jews had buried the Prophet Jesus. It was not what we expected to do during this time when the Jews celebrated some event quietly and orderly. The dead man we were to guard was Jesus. The Jews were superstitious to start with. Many believed that they would come back from the dead and live again. This Man had made such a prediction; but, when His death and an earthquake took place at the same time, they worried even more. And when their Temple Curtain was torn, they were even more afraid what Jesus or His followers might do. We guards were to guard against any foul play that would cause any embarrassment to the Jewish leaders. We were to report, to them, anything that may take place at the tomb.
We were in the secret service of the High Priest. We were nameless to the public; but, we were very valuable to our religious bosses. We had to do the work they did not want to be identified with. We were experts in plotting and inventing lies. Of course, we were well paid for our services. And this one event was important to our bosses. It had to do with a man called, "Jesus of Nazareth" in Galilee. We were given the instruction to spy and inform on Him and turn the truth into a lie.
I am the Roman Centurion, who was in charge from the time Jesus was handed over to our Governor until His body was turned over to Joseph of Arimathea. My account of the proceedings against Jesus is absolutely accurate. I am a soldier and I only report as I see the facts. I had nothing to gain or lose by what was transpiring before my eyes. I was not the only one who came to the conclusion that we had crucified the Son of God. During His last few hours, none of His followers were near Him, nor were they allowed to be near Him. Most of them were in danger of their lives. Only one disciple, who stood with Jesus' mother, was permitted to be nearby. I, alone, was face to face with Jesus before He died.
I am Joseph of Arimathea. I am the man that did not have enough courage to stand up for my Teacher. Yes, Jesus was my Teacher and I regarded myself as one of His students. Only, and because of my social position, I considered it unwise and impractical to declare in public my loyalty to Jesus of Nazareth. In my heart, I became convinced that He was God's Chosen Anointed. His deeds and miracles persuaded me to believe in Him. I am very sorry that I did not take His side when He was alive. I did nothing to let Him be crucified. I did nothing, when my fellow members of our highest council concocted ways how to trick Jesus into saying things that would hurt Him. I did nothing to stop His betrayal. Yes, I am a disciple that did nothing when it counted. I crawled out of my comforting hole when there were no more risks. I was afraid to put my reputation and wealth on the line. I was a rich ruler from the Jewish town of Arimathea. I could have defended Jesus. Instead, I remained silent, and a silent voice is as guilty as a vocal one.
I am the man that must plead guilty. I had the final say, what to do with Jesus, the King of the Jews. It did not, at all, turn out the way I had hoped. I was the most powerful man in the region; yet, I could not free One Innocent Man from being crucified. I was the Roman Governor, the most powerful nation on earth at the time; yet, I felt as if some one had tied my hands and rendered me completely helpless. If I stopped writing right now, you would already know who I am and fill in the empty pages regarding my inability to act. But because I am Pilate, who did sentence Jesus to die. I would like to tell you my side of the story. It was not all that simple and I have asked myself over and over, the rest of my life, what I could have done to prevent this travesty and perversion of justice.
I am Simon of Cyrene. There were so many Simons in Israel that we adopted second names. Since I had lived in Cyrene North Africa, I preferred to be known as Simon from Cyrene. We settled in Jerusalem and acquired some property in the country. Every day I would go to my property and take care of the cultivating, seeding, planting, weeding and harvesting. This particular day was our preparation day for the Passover. In the evening, we would kill our lamb, smear the blood on our doorposts as a sign for the angel of death to spare us; then, we would eat our meal remembering how our ancestors were delivered from Egypt. We would also eat, in the hope that the one Moses promised, would soon come and deliver us again. So far, many had come in the name of God, but no one had delivered us from our oppressors.
I am Malchus, the servant to the High Priest of Israel. My name means "king." Sometimes, I was called, "the little king." I came from the same background of Herod, the King. I, too, was a Nabateans or a Edomites. Edom, or Esau, was the older twin of Jacob, the father of Israel. Being a servant to a High priest, in Israel, was like being Prime Minister of a country. In Israel, the High Priest ranked above the King. He was regarded as God's emissary to the nation. The reason that I was in his Highness's service was that he did not trust his own people. And I was with the High Priest at Herod's request. What I am trying to convey is that I was no simple slave, but one who carried out the more essential tasks of the man who held the highest office in the land. I was ordered to stop Jesus from causing any inconvenience to the High Priest and his priests who were not exactly up front with the people. In my final attempt to apprehending Jesus of Nazareth, I lost and regained an ear all, at the same time.