Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Day In Between

The priests quietly prepared the temple for the morning sacrifice. The silver trumpets sounded, signaling the sunrise and the beginning of the daily ordinances of worship. It was the Sabbath, the calm after yesterday’s storm.

Yesterday was Passover and Jerusalem had been a noisy, busy place, half the people crowding toward the massive temple gates, Passover lambs in hand, even while a Roman execution entertained the other half. It had been chaotic. The Galilean Jews had celebrated Passover two days before in accordance with the calendar observed by the northern Jews, an anomaly tolerated by the priests as it spread the sacrifices over two days, making the celebration easier to manage.

But yesterday. Oh, what a day! The Galilean carpenter had been condemned to the cross, not a week after entering the city to noisy acclaim. And what a week it was. He’d taught daily in the temple, silenced the priests with his answers and riddles, and condemned the corruption of the religious system. Some wondered if he was Messiah. Others thought he was a cheap pretender. It no longer mattered, however, because the Romans had crucified him yesterday. Whatever the Galilean movement was, everyone thought it was over
The Garden where He lay was deathly silent. The guard was in place, the seal unbroken. The disciples were nowhere to be found—some said they were in hiding, others that they had fled towards Galilee. A rumor was circulating that He would rise—but it was just a rumor. But some were saying, wait until the third day and then we will know if it’s true.

The priests, on whom the lot had fallen to trim the lamps in the Holy Place, entered the sanctuary and began their duties quietly, until one gasped. They looked at the offender who’d broken the holy silence. With terror in his eyes, he was pointing to the curtain. Turning to look they saw that the great veil was torn and they could see directly into the Most Holy Place, dimly illuminated by the lamplight reflecting off the golden walls. The Mercy Seat was clearly visible.

One fell on his face, overcome by terror. Most of the others fled. One fell to his knees, lifting his hands and face toward heaven, his mouth filled with praise. He’d been listening to the Galilean, and now he finally understood. The final Passover Lamb had been slain—yesterday—on the cross. The Way to Elohim was now open.

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