As I promised, here is the final installment of the story:
That First Easter Morning
by John Fischer of the Purpose Driven Life
(Part III of a three-part series of historical fiction around the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.)
"The sun rose that first Easter morning on an entirely different world than the one that had existed hours earlier. For most people, to be sure, it was the same. Birds twittered as they usually did in their pre-dawn revelry. Lazy dogs barked at the sound of the first early risers. In his penthouse in downtown Jerusalem, Pilate rolled over in bed and moaned at the mockingbird making a racket on his veranda. He could feel his wife’s stiffness next to him. He didn’t even have to look to see her wide, sleepless eyes locked on a crack in the ceiling for fear of the dreams that might come back if she closed them.
In the nearby barracks, a soldier snored on in thick oblivion. Soon his comrades would wake up to wicked hangovers, a usual Sunday morning experience. Things were always quiet on the Jewish Sabbath, so Saturdays became party time for the Roman soldiers. Out in the courtyard, roosters crowed, and Peter, curled up next to a stone wall, was sure he heard every last one of them. He hadn’t been sleeping, either. All those great plans and dreams for himself and his nation had vanished with three denials and two rooster crows. Roosters had been rattling and cackling in his brain for two nights. They wouldn’t let him sleep, and they wouldn’t let him forget that look on the Savior’s face that left him frozen in his betrayal.
On the edge of town, three women made their way quietly through abandoned narrow streets, clutching vials of sweet-smelling perfume. In the hazy light of early morning, they were headed for Joseph’s garden, where the remains of the man they pinned their hopes on as the Son of God laid without proper respect. There had been no time on Friday to anoint the funeral wrappings, and such activity was forbidden on the Sabbath. Nicodemus and Joseph had done a credible job with limited time and little preparation, but it fell to the women to complete the burial requirements – as much for their own sake as for the sake of the custom.
Just when they started to wonder who might help them move the huge stone over the face of the tomb, they found, lo and behold, that the stone had already been moved away. The soldiers guarding it shifted on the ground in a deep sleep; the wrappings that should have been around the body lay limply on the rocky shelf inside. And an angelic being, bright and glorious, asked a question that would change them and the world forever: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
May your Easter celebrations be filled with the same joy and wonder these women experienced on that first Easter morning!"
Praise to the risen Lord, who bought and paid for my salvation! All honor and glory to Jesus Christ the King! I love you, Lord Jesus, my life is yours.