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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Scars

Jesus, after resurrecting. Image source.
At dawn, on the first day of the week. The angel said "he is risen," and it was true. Here he was. Jesus stood near the tomb, feeling more confident than ever. It was literally the most amazing thing that had ever happened, and he had done it. Death, where is your sting?

There was so much to do! Forty more days on earth- he would need to talk with all of his followers. And he suspected the first one would be Mary Magdalene.

And there she was. The first to visit the tomb. She stood with her head down, crying. With one hand she held the bag of spices she had prepared for his body.

He walked closer to her and said "hello."

She didn't look up. "Please sir. They've taken my Lord away... sir could you tell me... tell me where they've put him and I'll go get him."

"Mary."

"Rabboni!" she cried, and ran at him with outstretched arms.

OH NO NO NO, he thought. Oh geez no touching. He froze. He couldn't think. He tried to make words, to say something that would stop her. No touching. "Do not hold on to me!" he blurted out, and Mary backed away. Oh, thank goodness. Okay, try to play it off cool, say something profound. He looked at her and took a deep breath. "... for I have not yet returned to my father. Go to my disciples and tell them."

She wiped tears from her eyes. "Yes, Lord," she said.

"I have to go. You go tell them, okay?"

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It was time to see the Twelve. Oh... oh, the eleven now. Oh. Try not to think about it. It's okay, everything's okay now, he told himself. I've conquered death. There's nothing to be afraid of now. Everything gets better from here.

But I'm not ready to see them, he thought. No no, you can do it. It's okay. It's really okay. I've resurrected. No one can hurt me anymore. They need me, really. They'll be really happy to see me. This is good. I have to do this for them.

He knew exactly where they'd be- upstairs in the house where they always ate. The door was locked, but Jesus found the spare key, took a deep breath, and pushed the door open. Try to stay calm, he thought to himself, and said to the disciples gathered inside, "Peace be with you!"

They all looked up, speechless. Finally someone said, "Oh my god, it's a ghost!"

Jesus smiled. Oh it was so good to be here again. "I'm not a ghost. Look at my hands." He pulled up his sleeves, and John and Philip came closer to look.

"Some of the girls said... but we didn't believe it... Lord, it's really you!" said Philip.

They were all so happy- well, shocked at first, but happy. Wow, this is great, resurrecting was such a good idea! Jesus had so much to tell them. Now everything was different- the whole world was different. Death is done. He started talking, explaining about the Holy Spirit, about the prophecies, about God's plan, about resurrection. Finally, it was so good to be able to talk about all this. The group of disciples listened, amazed. Definitely confused and overwhelmed, but who could blame them?

He'd never felt so alive. Yes, this was why he had come to the earth. He'd done it. He had won. After he had finished his teaching, somebody suggested they eat dinner, and the group's attention turned toward getting the food out.

THUD!

OHHHH my goodness, the pounding, the nails the nails the nails. Jesus jumped backwards, pulling his arms close to his body. One hand rubbed the wound on his opposite wrist. His resurrected heart beat so fast.

Oh, it was just the sound of someone pushing a table. It's okay. It's okay.

"Teacher, are you all right? You just about jumped out of your skin," said Andrew.

"...yeah... I'm okay," he lied.

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One morning a week later, Jesus went out to the shore, where he knew they would be fishing. They weren't going to catch anything though, not without his help. He smiled to himself, imagining the looks on their faces when their nets would fill with fish.

He started a little fire, and sat down on the beach to wait. The boat was pretty far out there; he'd have to wait a bit. Oh, it would be so great to see them again. And eat together, just like everything was back to normal.

The resurrection was so great, he thought. But it had been hard. So hard. Did anyone understand? It seemed like the disciples just wanted to move on and forget what had happened ... but ... but ... he couldn't.

The boat came closer. He stood up and called to them, "Friends, haven't you caught any fish?"

The answer came back over the water, "no."

"Throw your nets on the other side." He would never get tired of this trick.

He watched the figures on the boat pull their nets in and then toss them off the other side. Immediately the boat lurched from the weight of the fish filling the nets. Nice. Just like old times. Everything is okay.

And then- what the heck- someone jumped into the water and splashed toward the shore, where Jesus was. Ohhhhhhh it's Peter. Ohhhh of course it's Peter.

No no no no no no no he couldn't deal with this. Geez, why, why did it still hurt? He had defeated death. There was no danger anymore. But as Peter, soaking wet, half-ran and half-splashed closer and closer, Jesus felt trapped. Like the whole world was closing in on him again. He froze. What to do?

Jesus pointed at the boat and shouted, maybe a little too nervously, "Bring the fish! Bring the fish!"

Peter stopped, turned back to look at the other disciples in the boat, and waded in their direction. Oh thank goodness. Only then did Jesus realize how fast he was breathing. His body felt shaky.

The group of seven disciples came and sat down, and they all ate fish together. He felt better. People talked and laughed- it was like normal again.

But... but. No, something was still bothering him. Every time he looked at Peter, he had to stop himself from thinking... from remembering what had happened... Peter was a good guy, right? He's not going to do it again, right? Jesus knew that, but still, it wasn't enough...

"Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter looked up. "Yes! Yes Lord! You know I love you!"

Jesus heard him say it, but somehow it didn't help. How could he know he could trust Peter in the future? Would Peter be able to be a good leader? "Feed my lambs," Jesus told him.

Jesus looked at the sand. He didn't feel better at all. Maybe a little worse, because Peter had said exactly what he wanted, but it didn't help.

"Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter blinked. "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."

Yeah okay. But was it enough? "Take care of my sheep," said Jesus. Peter nodded.

One more time. "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter looked distressed. "Lord... you know everything. You know I love you."

Yeah... this wasn't fair to Peter. There really was nothing he could say right now that Jesus would actually find reassuring. This would take time.

He had shown them his wrists and his side. But the scars that ran deepest, they could never see.

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