By Eugene C. Scott
Two thousand years ago this week one man turned history upside down. I would give anything to have been there, seen him, heard his voice. Instead we can only use our imaginations to re-enter ancient history. Each day this week, called Holy Week, we are going look at this day in ancient history through the eyes of a fictional character who witnessed part of that day as Jesus lived it. Join us as we believe a better story: the greatest, truest story ever told.
“Little David, you need to go to Jerusalem. Maybe there will be something for you there,” my friend Baruch told me.
Baruch was right. One swipe with my blade–it made a small sound, snick–and the fat pouch dropped into my hand. Then I was off to the next contributor. They paid me no mind, a dirty, hungry run-away. Looking at me meant touching me, caring.
Besides they were listening to the Rabbi with death on his face. He was teaching from under a leafy fig tree. The Rabbi gestured toward the tree. Snick, and the next pouch was mine. It was just like shearing sheep. I tucked the money inside my robe and eyed another contributor who had more than he needed.
“Ohhhh,” the crowd moaned. Someone pressed against my back.
I’m caught, I thought.
Then I saw it. The fig tree. It’s leaves were suddenly brown, withered, trembling. One leaf dropped to the ground, lifeless like the sparrow I once hit mid-flight with a stone.
“He killed it with only words,” an old woman in front of me said.
The Rabbi lifted his voice, his eyes grabbed mine, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for . . . . . . in prayer.”
I pulled my robe tighter over my stolen money. It felt heavy against my thigh. I slipped behind the old woman. The Rabbi strode away from the dead tree and away from Jerusalem. The mummer of hundreds of Jews singing Psalms rose with the dust from their feet. He–they called him Yeshua–walked with dangerous determination. Enough to finally change things.
Those brave, or foolish enough to follow him, would see him hung on a Roman cross. I was one of the foolish ones. That day the pouches under my robe became even heavier. I took them to the temple and left them. Baruch was right. There was something for me in Jerusalem.
This story illustrates small things, seemingly unimportant things–some call them butterfly effects–often become bigger than we ever imagine they could. A small, insignificant boy saw a poor, homeless man wither a fig tree. And then walk to his death, joining thousands of others killed on Roman crosses in his day. The Roman government barely noticed, the gossips and story-tellers (news media) quickly moved on to bigger stories. Jesus made a choice that would tear the fabric of history. And something changed this day, at the very least millions of lives we have no record of.
Hebrews call this day Yom shenee, the second day. In the modern world we call it Monday, the first day. In whatever language you speak, on this day some two thousand years ago Jesus was terminal. He had five days to live. He made small choices that propelled him toward the cross rather than run away from it. Thus, by the choices Jesus made, and the ripples in time those choices would send out, this is the sixth most important day in history.
Had you been there what would you have seen? Would you have followed? What decisions would you have made? What would Yeshua have seen in you?
Eugene C. Scott was changed because of those choices Jesus made. He also loves to read and write stories. Eugene is currently writing another blog called The Year of Living Spiritually. You can join the Living Spiritually community by following that blog and clicking here and liking the page. He is also co-pastor of The Neighborhood Church.
Read more about this day in history in Matthew 21:12-19, Mark 11:11-19 and Luke 19:45-46.
Also, go to tnc3.org for info on how The Neighborhood Church is remembering this week in history.