She rejoiced, for hope had come!

The woman had spent years being used and disgraced, but one moment with him had changed everything.  He had protected her when others wanted to stone her and she in returned had pledged her love to him forever.  Not the kind of love that could be sold for gold coins and certainly not the kind of love that meant marriage.  This was different.  She was different.  She who had been a woman despised, had become a woman of love.  A woman who could love a man of power and authority without relying on the enticement of her body, wanting nothing from him other than to drink in his wisdom.  She could sit and listen to him for hours and his holy love brought healing with every word. With her head lifted higher than it had ever been, she was clothed in strength and dignity now.  The past was the past and her future had never been brighter.  They welcomed him into the city and she followed quietly behind, content to be in the shadow of the man from Galilee. 

They dined together that night, his closest circle of friends and she knew something was not right.  His conversation was vague and tinged with a deep sadness she had not seen in him before.  She waited on him and prayed quietly for this man she had grown to love so deeply.  As she cleaned the dishes and prepared the house for sleep she felt his distress.  She caught his eyes and a smile crossed his lips, not of flirtation but of kindness and genuine love.  A love that she had never known.  She went to sleep full of hope that he would accomplish his purpose and be the reigning King one day.  On that day she would gain back her reputation, her heart would be truly healed, on that day she would enter the Kings court and serve him with adoration and expectation.  She drifted off to sleep with the scent of her costly perfume in her hair. 

She was awakened by weeping and wailing and jumped to her feet.  What could this be?  she thought to herself.  She ran to the kitchen to find many gathered there all repeating the same thing, Jesus had been taken.  Taken, she thought this cannot be.  She listened to the conversations for awhile, tears clouding her vision.  Taken and abandoned by his friends.  This could not be.  I must see for myself she thought and she slipped out the door of the host home.  Heading for the center of town and listening to the whispers of those who just yesterday had cheered him on as he wound his way through town.  She came to a sudden stop, where there he was for all to see.  His robes gone, his skin ripped open like a sacrificed animal, his blood pooling all around him.  She couldn't bear to look at him, but how could she not?  This was the man who had saved her life, this was the man who had healed her heart, this was the man that had changed everything about her life.  She stood still and willed him to look at her.  The Roman guards were not done beating him yet and every strike of the whip made her jerk her head away.  Look at me, she cried out in between blows.  He looked up and for a split second their eyes locked and then the crack of the whip came down and his head was wrenched in pain to the side.  She screamed out and fell to the ground.  I will not leave him, she thought.  He will not go through this alone.  There she stayed, watching and allowing him to see her waiting.  It was as if by seeing her, he was able to endure it.  Their eyes would meet briefly and a small glimmer of hope would cross his face.  She was powerless to do anything to stop it.  The blood staining the stone ground began to flow towards her, eventually staining the hem of her garment.  The blood being pulled up into the very fabric of her dress, I will not leave she thought to herself.  Then suddenly they came and took him.  They pulled him by his arms, his legs limp behind him.  Leaving a trail of blood in his wake that made her consider the fact that perhaps, he had lost to much blood. Perhaps, he would not survive the night. She pulls herself up only to find her hands now covered in his blood.  She wipes them on her skirt that is already stained across the bottom and walks away, leaving a bloody footprint trail.  Where will I go she thinks.  Who would take a woman like me into their home.  She looks for the disciples but they are no where to be found.  She knocks on doors that no one will answer.  She searches for friendly faces that she had met along their journeys, the people that had crowded around to hear the man from Galilee.  Everyone looks away from her, the blood stained mad woman running through the streets.  She yells out his name looking for his followers, but no one claims to know her Jesus.  She heads towards the outskirts of town where the other outcast are gathered, she sleeps in the trash thrown out by the city.  In her heart she knows no matter how desperate she is, she will never go back to her old lifestyle. 

She awakens to see a crowd going up the hill, men condemned to die leading the way.  Brutally being forced to carry their own crosses.  She runs towards them terrified of what she sees.  No, no, no she screams as she realizes every hope she has had is now dashed to the ground.  She screams out his name and he turns his head towards her, his gaze piercing through to her heart.  The covenant, the covenant, the words play around in her mind as she watches them climb the hill. What will happen now to the Kingdom he had promised, the hope for a nation was now being led up a hill to be slaughtered.  She can't  bear another moment watching, she throws herself in the ground face first.  She begins to pray as she has heard him pray, rhythmically she cries out to the Father in heaven to intervene she continues for hours even as she hears him scream out something indescribable.  And then suddenly the sky grows dark and the earth trembles.  She screams as she runs for shelter under a tree, she falls there exhausted from hours of tears and mental anguish.  She fitfully sleeps until dawn and then arises looking to find where they have buried him.  The tomb is freshly cut and covered with a large rock, men stand watch outside of it.  How strange she thinks to herself why would you need to guard a dead man?  Then she is reminded of Lazarus, he too had been dead.  Maybe all was not lost, maybe there was still hope.  She finds a place close by to hide and wait.  She recounts his stories in her head, his words that he had spoken, the parables until she falls asleep right where she is.  She awakens in the morning hungry and goes in search of fruit or some type of food.  She sees some women in the distance but is to afraid to approach them, what if they too hate him and are looking to hurt his followers.  She stays out of sight and finds a fig tree to eat from.  She returns to be in view of the tomb, nothing has changed.  She stays quietly there until night time comes again, the hunger in her stomach of little thought to her as she tries to unravel the mystery in her mind of how the man from Galilee who seemed to know all things didn't seem to know this was going to happen.  He must have known, she is thinking as she drifts off to sleep.  She awakens with a start, of course he knew.  That was what that whole dinner conversation had been about....Someone had betrayed him and this was all a part of his plan, what was it he had said?  I must go first.  She jumped up quickly and ran to view the tomb and there she saw the stone rolled away.
Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder, she spun around quickly and there he was.  The man from Galilee, with holes in his hands and feet but no blood.  She wrapped her arms around him and he spun her around.  She laughed and cried uncontrollably as she touched his face and marveled at the smile that was filling his face.  No more pain, no more death, hope had come and her heart was filled with a new kind of love, the love of a savior. 

I too, have been loved by the King and changed forever.  The Kingdom has come to my heart and hope lives there.  Though my mind my forget the hope I have, my heart always remembers.  Faith is not for the faint of heart and I am forced to pick myself up, dust myself off and remember that He is alive!  I look into his face and see my hope restored.  He lives to fulfill His covenant in me, in my life.  He has made a way, I need only trust in Him.  It may get dark sometimes, but Sunday is coming!  He paid the price, set the captives free and gave us victory over death.  He is the resurrection and the life.  Happy Easter friends, may the great I AM fill your heart with hope as we celebrate His resurrection. 

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