“When the Time of Pentecost was Fulfilled”, By Rachael Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User hickory hardscrabble


“Jesus is dead” assured Caiaphas, exasperated and angry. This should be over. There is no reason why people should still be talking about Jesus of Nazareth. He, Caiaphas, the high priest, had done what he had to do, protecting the word of God against a dangerous blasphemer. But rather than bringing an end to the obsession with Jesus, his death seemed to throw fuel on the fire. One thing disturbed his mind and kept sleep from his eyes more than anything else – how did his followers steal the body? It had been guarded well. Sealed by a stone, watched over by Roman guards. How then, was the body missing?

“He has risen from the dead!” He turned the words of Jesus’ followers over and over in his mind. They unnerved him. They disturbed him. Resurrection was ridiculous. Jesus was dead, receiving a just punishment for his outrageous claims of fulfilling the scriptures, calling himself the Son of God.  Disgust billowed up again in his throat, but he caught it and crushed it back down, determined to maintain his posture of composure.

The body had never been turned over to Pontius Pilate. His soldiers had brought him bodies alright, crucified even, but not the Nazarene, and the time had passed when it would be possible to recover. Of course, the soldiers who lost the body in the first place had been executed. Rumors had reached the palace that Jesus’s body had been seen by many, but not bound in burial cloths – alive. That he was walking amid the people again in Pilate’s very province. As he drained the last of his wine, Pilate inwardly longed for his term in Jerusalem to be over. These people were impossible to govern.

Out in the dusty and stone cracked streets, the men and women pushing through the bustling crowd began to hurry on their way. A storm was brewing and a peculiar breeze pricked through the humidity, and in a way lessened the burden of their travel. But as the sky churned and the wind pulled and whipped at their garments, all ran to take cover inside of the nearest structures. A bright crack of lighting seared through the dark sky and a brief but powerful shower of thick drops assailed all the stone walls, washed down the streets and everything standing in Jerusalem. And then it ended as soon as it begun. Slowly, the surprised crowd began to accumulate again in the streets now smelling of fresh rain.

One man burst from a house into the streets. His sudden appearance caused many around to stop and stare, but as he turned his eyes up to the crowd, he revealed an expression of complete elation. Several other men similarly burst from the house and ran into the streets. They began to shout, addressing those listening nearby, but the absurdity of this scene caused a woman nearby to laugh out loud. “Too much wine already? It’s not even 9 in the morning!” Many snickered, but the smile of the first man who appeared did not diminish and he spoke louder and the passion in his voice caused all around to fall silent. “You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you and listen to my words.” As the man spoke, the crowd began to grow from curiosity. It was strange. The faces in the crowd were many different shades – immigrants and travelers from various countries who normally communicate in bumbled hand gestures, using awkward fragments of a foreign language to make simple market-place transactions. But now, each face no matter the shade of brown, was locked in comprehension, drinking in every word the man said with total understanding.

Something was happening. They were talking about Jesus. And although the mention of that name normally necessitated a hush out of fear of punishment, they could not stop listening. They spoke about Jesus being the one the ancient scriptures predicted. “God raised Jesus from the dead; of this, we are witnesses.” The crowd began to murmur, but with intrigue as opposed to outrage. The crowd grew and drew in closer, pulled by the magnetism of the incredible things being said. The men continued to speak about a power they had just received from God. They called it the “Holy Spirit.” They did not seem to be afraid, though the crowd now recognized the men speaking as the disciples of Jesus himself, who had been mercilessly hunted by Roman soldiers in the weeks past as they searched for the missing body of Jesus. They told the crowd that they, too, could receive the Holy Spirit through Baptism.

Three thousand people were Baptized that day, and soon they began to see remarkable things from the men who they first assumed were drunk, speaking in the streets. They began to heal the crippled, cure the sick and drive out demons in the name of Jesus Christ. Those disciples were inevitably punished for what they did and said. They were beaten and thrown into jail countless times, but even from the depths of the dark prison cells, dried blood and dirt on their faces, the disciples could be heard joyfully singing praise to God to the astonishment of the other prisoners and guards. Despite how their bodies were punished, they were unbroken by the power of the Holy Spirit that guarded and sustained them. It was this Holy Spirit that burned across the earth and changed it forever.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Connect with Us

See our latest posts on Facebook and Youtube

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply