Jesus, The Son

1 Apr

Jesus saw lines of crucifixes radiating from his hands as if the hills were an horizon and his body the zero point. Countless were the generations emanating from emaciated limbs, and before him were his children. They were a fractious lot. Those who came before him mocked and spited him. Before him, where he could not turn his back to them, to shield himself, his children pleaded for mercy and justice. Jesus wept.

“I didn’t like his mother,” Jesus’ heard far away to the left. “She was knocked up before the wedding.”

Another younger woman chided him. “Three men visited his mother every Friday.”

A Buddhist nun stood before the base of Jesus’ crucifix. “I want to learn about love, gentle brother.”

“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven.” Jesus instructed her.

The second woman sniffed, “Was that a nun, or a monk? I couldn’t tell!”

A prophet with long, unkempt hair and a beard wearing a borrowed suit approached Jesus and motioned the crowd to silence. “What about justice? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?”

“Do not resist evil. Return love for hate, and all you own. Instruct him in the way of the Father by your example. Give to all even when you have nothing.” The crowd cheered the man who saluted them with open, outstretched arms.

The first woman moaned behind him. “He can even give away what isn’t his to begin with!”

An orphan, vague and wispy, approached Jesus as the blood flowed down the wooden beam unto the stones. “What would you say about adultery?”

“Don’t look at women with lust in your heart.”

“That’s it?” The first woman was dumbfounded. “That one won’t last the evening. God’s lion-maned son is a lamb.”

Jesus summoned the strength for one lesson. “Do not covet the treasures of this world. Your Father in Heaven will provide for you. Look, the birds sing!”

“The pigs roll in the dust!” the second woman cackled.

A centurion and two soldiers brusquely shoved a leper as he approached Jesus’ feet. The centurion addressed Jesus in his stentorian voice. “You are the Messiah?” A few in the crowd replied for the criminal who had never raised his hand in anger. “Then tell me what you can do a soldier of mine lying paralyzed in his barracks bed? A Judaean mob broke his back in a riot. He’s worthless now and hopes for death.”

Jesus contemplated the Roman’s story. “I praise you for your devotion to your subordinate. If this soldier believes in God, and with a centurion like you to guide him, he will become ten times the man he was.”

The first woman sniffed, “And, never commit adultery again!”

“Or, ever make a fortune!” the second woman added. “He’s going to Heaven for sure!”

Suddenly, a demon-possessed man ran past the centurion and his soldiers. He made straight for Jesus. He kissed Jesus’ feet, consuming the blood without being seen. “I am sated.” And the man walked away, a free man.

A third woman behind him said, “That’s something you don’t see everyday.”

The centurion was baffled. “What did you do to him?”

Jesus raised his eyes and replied, “The Father provides.”

“Sorcery!” the centurion spat.

“No, Centurion!” Jesus scolded him. “The Father needs soldiers like any general. It is the strongest among those who walk the earth who suffer most, for evil treasures discord and to pray on the weak who without those who hunger for the Father’s guidance. Find your phalanx and arm yourself for the coming battle.”

The centurion scoffed, and the three moved on.

A young man impaled on a crucifix behind him spoke up. “Where did the evil in that man go?”

Jesus bowed his head and nearly lapsed into sleep. “The sight of the spectacle multiplies the evil in them.”

The third young woman asked, “Then what was the point of healing the possessed man?”

Jesus summoned strength. “He is the mustard seed among the weeds.”

The young man snickered, “But the weeds will strangle the wheat!”

Jesus responded angrily. “No, the Father is sufficient to smite the evil, whether his hand be one good man or a nation!”

The young woman who never married because her lover died in battle said, “You sound like a demon who loves war.”

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.” The last exchange taxed Jesus’ strength and he faltered. “Oh, Father, why do you let me die here?”

A voice from somewhere taunted him.” Did you think the rabble would cheer waving palm fronds you as you entered the city on an ass? Or, perhaps you contemplated running off to Egypt, like Joseph? Worse still, any of these girls would take you for a husband. You could hide in a bed all day and night.

The first woman cackled. “Not him. He never liked women! But they chased him.”

Jesus cried out. “Where are my disciples?” A few people in the crowd stopped to listen to Jesus.

One man yelled. “Judas betrayed you! He’s living in a fine house near the governor’s palace.”

A woman at his feet said. “We are your followers.”

Jesus wept. “Where are you, little James, and the other James, Bartholomew, Simon, called Peter, and Simon? Bring me Jude and Phillip and Thomas! Most of all, what can I do without Matthew. And, Andrew. I would even welcome Judas.”

The people in the crowd began to mumble. They said, “He is going mad. His time is drawing nigh.”

“Where is John?” Jesus cried out. “I cannot enter my Father’s kingdom without him!”

“The Baptist is dead,” the woman reminded Jesus. “Herod executed him.”

Jesus wept openly. “That whore Herodias made our sovereign do it!”

The young woman behind him asked, “Do you hate all women in this world?”

Jesus said, “The Father will provide.”

The woman at his feet protested, “My father is old and feeble.”

Jesus said, “I proclaim the new Israel.”

The woman at his feet pleaded, “Won’t you even look at me, Jesus?” Jesus looked beneath him and searched for the young woman. She soaked a cloth in vinegar and offered it to Jesus on the point of a wooden stick. Jesus refused. “It’s not enough,” she realized.

The first woman behind him scoffed, “It’s all you’ll ever get from the likes of him!”

Another woman in the crowd consoled her, “Count yourself lucky! In the end all we get are the scraps from the table!”

The young woman walked away brokenhearted. “I will make my own way.” Men and women began to protest. “What an asshole!” “He’s nothing more than a false prophet!” “What did you expect?” “His kind is always asking for blood and sacrifice!” “I’m not waiting another minute for him to be resurrected!”

And then, there was a commotion in the rear of the crowd as chariots’ wheels thundered on the flagstones of the road to Jerusalem. Soldiers barked orders and whips cracked. No one heard Jesus cry out one last time before his rib cage collapsed and the blood burst from his lips. He gasped for one last breath. Jesus died alone, unnoticed.

The first woman said, “Now you’re no different than us.”

The second woman said, “The vultures are already hovering above him.”

The third woman said. “Look, how his eyes are raised to Heaven!”

The young man said. “Our family deserved so much more!”


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