When the laughter stopped, I told my story. All of it. How I followed from a distance, how I denied Jesus three times, and then how I watched as the Romans killed him and didn’t do anything to stop them.

John interrupted, “I heard that Simon carried his cross. I just assumed that it was you. We saw you sitting by the tree but figured if you wanted to join us, that you would.”
“I thought about it, but I was too ashamed. I thought you all knew what I had done and hadn’t done.”

Mary, Jesus’ mother, turned and looked at me, “Peter, stop being so full of yourself. There was nothing any of us could do. It had gone too far. Even Pilate tried to stop it and couldn’t. If the governor of Palestine couldn’t stop the madness, a fisherman from Galilee certainly couldn’t.

But I wish you could have been with us to hear his words. He wasn’t able to say much. It took so much effort for Him just to breathe. But, he told John to take care of me.” She turned and looked at John, “I guess we’re stuck with each other.

“And it was bizarre, one of the thieves next to him said ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,’ and Jesus looked at him and replied, ‘Oh, I remember you, and today you will join me in paradise.’

“And Peter, he said, ‘Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’ Those words were for all of you. All of you who thought you’d failed him. Even Judas. If Jesus couldn’t forgive, then all he taught about forgiveness was a lie.

And it’s not over. It looks like it’s over, but it’s not over.” Mary stopped and looked around at us, “This shouldn’t have come as a shock. He told you over and over again that they would kill him. And it was terrible to have to be there. To watch my son in such pain was horrible. But this isn’t the end.

“Most of you don’t know the story’s beginning, but some of you do. The promise that was made was that Jesus would save the world. And that hasn’t happened yet.”

“But he’s dead. The Marys saw them put him in Joseph’s tomb.” The words came from Thomas, but we were all thinking the same thing. “The time has passed, Mary. I know you want to believe that it’s not over, but it’s over.”

“No, it’s not over. You saw him defeat death. You saw him give the widow back her son in Nain. You watched as he spoke the words, and Jarius’ daughter breathed again. Lazarus was dead for four days. Four days and Jesus asked his Father to give his friend the gift of life, and he did. You saw it happen.

“Jesus defeated death over and over again, and death is not going to defeat him now. You need to believe. Don’t give up. Will you please stay until tomorrow? Just one more day?”

And we did.

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