THE BIBLICAL STORIES THAT TIME FORGOT
EASTER 2018 EDITION
Agrippa Aurelius tried to force his eyes shut but they won’t cooperate. This had been the case for the last three hours – he couldn’t just sleep not after what had happened today and what his eyes had seen.
About five hours ago Jesus of Nazareth the great prophet had breathed his last.
Agrippa decided to once again analyse all the things that had happened and maybe make sense of them.
His first run in with Jesus of Nazareth was about a year and a half ago when Caesar Augustus the emperor had sent for him and commanded him to stop one of Jesus of Nazareth who was allegedly starting a Jewish insurrection. If there was any part of being a centurion Agrippa hated, it was being sent to quiet little nonsensical riots and Caesar was fond of sending him to such useless riots – he was a rather insecure Emperor. Agrippa couldn’t even decide on who was more insecure between Caesar and Herod and Pilate – sometimes they were just the same. Agrippa figured out this was what power did to a person always made them scared of losing that power. That day Agrippa and his 100 men had marched out to meet Jesus prepared to intimidate him and shut him up forever but what they heard was quite the opposite of an insurrection. As they neared some people fled but others stayed. Agrippa commanded the men to be still and choose to listen to what Jesus was saying. Jesus was speaking calmly and telling the people to love those who hated them. He was telling them to turn the other cheek when they were slapped. He was telling them to pursue peace at all costs. It occurred to Agrippa that Jesus was doing the exact opposite of what Caesar thought he was doing but his soldier instinct won’t let him be so he stayed an hour to make sure Jesus wasn’t only pretending because he could see soldiers but all Jesus did was preach more peace and even heal the sick who were considered beyond healing. A rebel oblivious to Agrippa’s presence even asked Jesus what they should do and challenged Jesus claim that he was the Messiah telling Jesus to lead the Jews in war but Jesus responded with peace. When Agrippa was convinced Jesus wasn’t a rebel, he and his men withdrew and Agrippa had to battle the feeling of going to listen to Jesus speak again for almost two months and then gradually he almost totally forgot about Jesus.
That is till the day Tiberius his personal and most trusted soldier fell sick and was at the verge of dying. Agrippa had consulted all the doctors but they could find no cure and Tiberius was growing fainter by the moment. The last Doctor he had consulted; Doctor Luke had told him he was a follower of Jesus and had shared with him some ground-breaking examples of Jesus healing patients he couldn’t heal. Agrippa remembered who Jesus was but felt unworthy to meet him so he sent Dr Luke and some of the Jewish rulers who were loyal to him to Jesus. He had told them to tell Jesus he was unworthy of Jesus coming to his house and asked Jesus to just say the command. Thirty minutes later and Tiberius who was sweating profusely stood up and saluted to Agrippa – Jesus had done it again!
This two experiences were the reason he had been troubled since yesterday evening when Jesus had been arrested. Agrippa himself was with his family having supper when Pilate sent for him immediately and he arrived to meet Jesus of Nazareth on trial. Agrippa couldn’t see the reason they wanted Jesus dead – true Jesus might have been too bold and a little insane to call himself the King of the Jews but that was no reason to erase a man who was so good and kind. But there was a problem Pilate like all other leaders was weak and soft deep down and Agrippa knew it – he could see It in the way Pilate cringed when he attempted all forms of reverse psychology to no avail. Then Pilate sent Agrippa to take Jesus to Herod who wasn’t any better off and basically sent him back again. Agrippa had a moment with Pilate and asked Pilate not to sentence Jesus to death – Pilate’s wife too joined in the plea and Pilate promised to try his best. Agrippa believed him till Pilate released Barnabas (who had taken him two years and an injury later to capture) to the people. Agrippa touched the place where Barnabas had stabbed him in that final battle and nearly stabbed Pilate in anger! How could a man be so soft!
Then the inevitable happened, Pilate gave the crucifixion order. As Agrippa led the contingent he wanted to cry but he couldn’t. His soldiers were having fun laughing and making fun of Jesus and for once he too was like Pilate, Herod and Caesar – scared and insecure of losing their respect. So Agrippa distanced himself from the mocking and flogging instead and focused on leading and executing the crucifixion. At a point, Agrippa could not take Jesus crying any further and flagged down a poor traveller and made him carry the cross. As he assisted the cross off Jesus and onto Simon, Jesus looked at him and in that moment the pain in Jesus’ eyes transformed to love as he mouthed the words “believe”.
An Hour later, Jesus was pinned to the cross and as the soldiers lifted the cross, darkness suddenly overcame even though it was still afternoon. Strange Agrippa thought. He watched as his soldiers made fun of Jesus one last time and Jesus comforted his mother one last time. He watched as Jesus girthed in pain and cried out to his supposed father up above asking why he had forsaken him. But Agrippa was absent minded in all this as he tried to grasp what the words of Jesus meant. At about the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, “Father into your hands, I commit your spirit”
Agrippa froze. There was a great earthquake and massive roar. Tiberius who was keeping guard at the Jewish temple for fear of a riot from Jesus’ followers rushed on his horse to Agrippa told Agrippa that the temple curtain had torn into two.
Agrippa stared up at Jesus and proclaimed, “Surely this man was the son of God” As was customary Agrippa even though he hated to had to thrust his spear into Jesus to confirm he was dead by himself and blood and water flowed out. Tears filled Agrippa’s eyes that was all he needed – the last sign he needed to believe. He rushed home blocking the voices of his bewildered and shaken soldiers asking for directions and wept to Jesus for mercy.
An hour later Pilate sent for him again to confirm Jesus death and when he confirmed it he was directed to give the body to Joseph or Arimathea an Aristocrat and Nicodemus a Pharisee. It was speaking with Nicodemus and Joseph that Agrippa gave his life to Christ and felt a surpassing peace.
Agrippa’s eyes finally gave way to sleep and as he closed his eyes, he promised himself to find the disciples and join them in spreading the wonderful news of Jesus of Nazareth!
Authors Note : Good Evening readers and happy Easter. Honestly I’ve never understood why Christmas is more celebrated because Easter is actually the turning point of history. Our calender reads AD – After death. Jesus death was the most focal point of history. I pray as you celebrate this year you reflect soberly and extend love to others. Once again Merry Easter