The torn curtain hangs there. The ground has stopped shaking under my feet and my head has stopped pounding so much—it’s more like a numbing throb now, and I doubt it will ever go away. People are crying, laughing, a stew of mixed emotions in the hot, baking sun. I don’t feel any of it. I mean, if I think about everything that has happened in the past three years, even today alone, wonder and sorrow and joy surge through me, but when I look at Jesus’ body, he looks so… dead.
Sure, the Son of God could bring back others from the dead and start earthquakes and even make the whole sky turn to night, all as he hung there, but he couldn’t save himself. He wouldn’t save himself, despite everyone needing him. What kind of a—?
No, I can’t think that. They’re dragging his body away now, the guards, leaving a trail of blood and dirt. They pass by me. They haven’t closed Jesus’ unseeing eyes, and his head flop over and looks at me. I don’t know what I expected, but his eyes are the same as they always were—dark brown, almost black, only this time there’s a lifelessness to them. All signs of godliness, glory, goodness are gone. The Son of God has never looked more human. I turn away.
I can’t help but think of what he said to us, about coming back to life. I believed him when he said it; everything he said felt true. I believed him the moment he died, with the temple curtain ripping and tombs splitting open and the power of God revealed before my very eyes. But now? I want to, but I can’t get the image of his limp, scarred body out of my head. With the image comes another horrid thought: What if I was all a lie? It doesn’t make sense, I know, based on what I’ve seen and felt and heard, but the question glues to the inside of my skull.
I look up to see where Jesus’ body is, but the guards are gone now. There’s a few workers cleaning up the filth, masking the torture, and suddenly I want to be anywhere but here. Take me from this hell! I plead. It sounds like a prayer, but who am I praying to? God is dead. He can’t hear me. The tears, the visible anguish, finally come. Snot and dirt mix with them and my feet give way. I am overcome with the sharpest form of grief, and I am helpless and weak and so, so tired. I can’t do this anymore.
More than anything, I want Jesus to be the truth, like he said he was, but he’s dead now. Nothing’s going to change that, no matter how much I hope.