Today, I conclude my alternative Holy Week story. This creative writing exercise has profoundly impacted me. As I reflected on the Biblical story of Jesus, the radical, nonviolent nature of the Son of Man hit me in a powerful way. Tomorrow, I plan to blog about my conclusions as to what it means that Jesus didn’t storm Jerusalem with soldiers and swords.
Early on the first day of the week, as dawn was just beginning to lighten the eastern sky, Jesus stood alone at a window in his bedroom at the royal palace.
He hadn’t slept a wink.
The view of three men hanging on crosses had haunted him all night. From his window, he could just make out the crosses on the distant hill.
He didn’t know why he didn’t feel victorious. He had accomplished exactly what he’d set out to do. He had re-taken Jerusalem, restored the Davidic monarchy by proclaiming himself king, and begun a process of making the Torah the law of the land again. He had broken the yoke of the Romans, and had dismantled their oppressive tax system. All of this fulfilled the Scriptural prophecies of the Messiah.
But it was a hollow victory.
In the meantime, he had executed one of his closest friends, alienated himself from the rest of the disciples, and found himself racked with constant anxiety and worry.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, he thought. It had seemed clearer before. He’d felt so much closer to his Father then.
Another voice told him that this was simply the way things had to be in the real world. Nothing happens without struggle. A military force only understands military force. You can’t really trust anyone in this world. Every human heart is corrupt, deep down. History is written by the victors.
He knew all these things. But it didn’t keep him from fundamentally doubting whether he’d done the right thing.
For one thing, it would be a long time before he knew that his revolution had truly been successful. The Roman army had retreated, for now. His spies told him that these were merely restocking on the eastern side of the Jordan River.
Pilate had gotten away free, too, and Jesus knew that he had significant resources at his disposal. Once Caesar got wind of what was happening, it was likely that Jerusalem would be attacked again. Only this time, the force would be larger.
Jesus wondered how long they would be able to hold out in a siege. He was also exploring the possibility of a preemptive strike against the resting forces. But this would require recruiting a large number of Israelis, training them, and deploying them in a timely manner.
And speaking of the army, how long would he be able to keep them happy? Could he prevent a coup d’etat? If Judas was willing to sell him out for some money, what about the other disciples and leaders? What about that flimsy Peter? Would Peter disappoint him, too?
Besides the military threats, there were plenty of domestic problems.
A new constitution was hastily being written, but already significant sides had formed around various interpretations of Torah. Most of the city’s social services were in disarray, since they had been used to receiving direct orders from their Roman supervisors. And everyday, a line formed outside his throne room from people who wanted to complain about the potholes in their streets, or wanted to have their picture taken with him, or wanted to ask theological questions about their pets.
He was overwhelmed, exhausted, and even a little afraid.
From his window, he saw the distant hills of Galilee. He dreamed of going up into the forest by himself, alone, to spend time with his Father again. Just like it had been before.
But it would never be like that again. Never.
Jesus was the Savior now. For better or worse.