What If

Yesterday Herod’s troops murdered my son. “He might be the Fake King,” they said, “so Herod, the Real King, says all pretenders must die. Tough deal.”

They tore him from my arms and killed him. No checking parentage. No apologizing. No questions. Nothing. Just murder — heinous, hateful, ignorant and cruel. Yesterday.

Today I am battling hate. I hate the soldiers, the king and their cruelty. I hate the eastern magi who came to my town searching for Israel’s Messiah. I hate the shepherds who came dancing into town singing angel songs and searching for a newborn in a manger. And I hate the God who sent His Son to my town and then abandoned me to the cruel king and his empty-hearted soldiers.

Why did the Nazareth family slip away without warning us of Herod’s hatred?

Where is the “peace” promised in angel songs?

Who will dry my tears and comfort the mother of my son?

God’s Savior child has cost me my son! I beg God to let me die with him.

Those were my words 30 years ago, my heart shredded as I clutched the broken body of my son.

Today, standing in a silent crowd on a hill near Jerusalem, I heard my own wrenching cries of loneliness and pain burst from the bloodied lips of a dying Messiah. He too called for his Father and received no answer. Yet, in Him I heard no hate. At the end He surrendered, His heart broken, dying as I have wanted to so many times.

Today’s sky was even blacker than my sadness, as if Jehovah Himself was mourning His own dead Son.

I watched them take Him down, mother and friends weeping as I had wept. Hands closing eyes as I had closed the eyes of my son. A linen sheet, much nicer than mine. A small group carrying Him to a forgettable cave.

I have listened to this criminal Messiah for some weeks and have chosen to believe. Maybe it’s the way He wept with those who weep and loved when others would have cursed. Maybe it is my desperate hope to believe my own son did not die in uselessness. Maybe it is because His words filled my heart with hope.

The hill has been swathed in expectation, as if Someone somewhere is taking a deep breath.

This Man was not normal. He was bigger, better, wiser, kinder. Like the love He proclaimed.

He was the Messiah the shepherds and magi sought. Of that I am sure.

Because of Him, my son died. Yet, in Him, I have shed my hate and accepted His love.

I wept when they beat Him, when the blood flowed from His crown and when He screamed out His loneliness.

I wept when He died.

Now night has come, but my soul trembles with urgency. If the angels’ song is true, all graves are about to burst open and all lungs fill with the breath of Heaven.

I weep no more.

November 30, 2018 / Just Like Jesus
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