Jesus has been convicted of being a terrorist. It’s a trumped up charge, but the authorities are tired of agitators and unpredictability. In unprecedented swiftness, the legal system has set a quick date for his execution. Jesus refuses to make any appeals for a stay.
He is moved from his cell to the death house. He is laid on gurney, and prepped for the needle. Though at peace, he seems to be carrying the weight of the world.
In the viewing room, the authorities have gathered. Though the rooms are supposed to be sound-proof, Jesus can hear their sarcasm: “Hey, if you are a hot-shot messenger from God, save yourself.”
Only one of his closest friends is present. His mother is there, with some women who believed his message. They look forlorn.
The warden says to Jesus, “Any last words?” His reply: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
An attendant swabs his arm with alcohol – to protect him from infection? A needle is inserted. A drop of blood oozes out. An IV line is attached. The building vibrates from thunder.
Jesus seems to be overwhelmed now, as if confronting something he has never faced. His eyes trace the flow of lethal fluid toward his vein. He says, “It is finished.”
His chest no longer rises and falls. A doctor moves forward with a stethoscope. He listens intently, frowns, and says, “Time of death, 3:00 PM.” The warden murmurs, “This was a righteous man.”
Curiously, a wealthy man has volunteered to oversee the burial. It must be done quickly, per regulations. On such short notice, the only option is to bury Jesus in his own plot, in the oldest, most fashionable part of the cemetery. Within hours, Jesus’ body is entombed, in a hardwood casket, then a concrete vault, and covered with three feet of dirt. A police detailed is posted, just in case there are any shenanigans.
Watching a dead man’s grave is the ultimate in boring cop duty. After twelve hours of caffeine aided vigilance, the shift changes. Twelve hours later, another shift takes over.
It happens at the end of the third shift. A brilliant blast of light startles the detail into alertness, then stuns them into unconsciousness.
When the police regain consciousness, they see dirt flung aside as if a grave has exploded. They stagger from their car, and stumble over the concrete lid of the vault. That lid must weigh 500 pounds. Who moved it? They see the casket opened and empty. Some women are running away from the scene, flowers carelessly falling out of their baskets.
What just happened?
It is the question we all must answer.