Ernie, roll away the stone!
Um, what? Jesus, surely you didn’t mean what I thought you said.
Yes, I did. Roll away the stone!
Now, let’s not be hasty here. Yeah, I know you’re God and all-knowing and all that. But, let’s be honest, you haven’t really been around for a while. I’m not sure you fully, ah, appreciate what’s on the other side of that stone.
Oh, really? What do you think is on the other side?
Well…. for one thing… y’know… them.
Y’know, those people. The, whaddya call them, the Pharisees. Whitewashed tombs! Those people who act so high and mighty, always pointing out other people’s sins rather than their facing their own.
Yes, I remember the Pharisees. What about them?
Well. I just thought. I mean, you couldn’t stand them. I can’t stand them. Can’t we just, y’know, leave them on the other side?
Interesting. Do you think I avoided the Pharisees?
Well… I guess not, since you ate at their houses. But wouldn’t your life have been easier if you didn’t have to deal with them?
Depends. Do you mean “easy” as in worshipping Satan, so he would give me all the kingdoms of earth without having to go to the cross?
You seem to think I despised the Pharisees. The opposite is true. The reason I was so angry with them is because I loved them so much, yet they broke my heart. Yet even their folly was a critical part of God’s plan.
You mean… even like… him?
You can say his name, Ernie. Judas.
I… I don’t understand, Jesus. If anyone deserves to stay locked behind the stone, it is someone like him. Someone who’s received all the blessings, holds all your power and authority, then ends up sacrificing you for the sake of money.
[Jesus pauses, and looks at me]
This isn’t really about Judas, is it?
No. No it is not. How could you, Jesus? How could you leave your church in the hands of so many arrogant, blind, self-righteous men? Who praised you with their lips while cursing the prophets you sent to speak the truth? Who publicly blessed the men who went home to abuse their wives and exploit their slaves? Who reveled in their wealth and position, and cared nothing for holiness or the gospel? How can you bear to have your name associated with men like that? How can you ask me to expose myself to their stink and hypocrisy?
As opposed to?
[Suddenly broken, I fall to my knees]
Lord… I know. I know I wouldn’t have done any better. But still. I can’t help but feel that you, that if you had been here, that we… we wouldn’t have screwed things up this bad. We wouldn’t have had to go through all this. I… I wouldn’t have had to suffer like this. Or… do all the things I did. That… that broke your heart.
Please. Please don’t make me open that stone. Even if that corpse in there is me. I can’t bear the thought of everything I was without you. The stench… it is too much. Can’t we just… let it go? Pretend it never happened? Can’t we just… forget?
To be continued.