What might it have been like to be with Jesus in the final hours before his arrest? What follows is an excerpt from the novel, We Called Him Yeshua. In it, you will see one persons experience during those hours. What she saw was this: the more someone loved Yeshua, the more those final hours hurt.
They called him Yeshua; we call him Jesus.
– Anna –
“Anna, let’s go.” Neri took up my limp hands and lifted me to my feet. The late afternoon sun had fallen behind the Temple, casting Solomon’s Porch in shadow. How long had we been sitting there listening to Yeshua preach? The priests had stayed away, which gave Yeshua a chance to talk of other things. But I hadn’t heard a word he said. Worries had sucked my thoughts too deep inside to even notice what my eyes had seen.
Neri guided me out of the Temple and through a maze of streets. Everything around me felt wrapped in a fog. The world felt distant and fuzzy. We walked through a doorway and into a courtyard. Above was a covered terrace, where people were placing cushions around a table.
I looked about the courtyard, pushed Neri away, and rushed over to Yeshua, where he stood at the base of the stairs. I gazed numbly up into his face.
“Master,” someone called from above, “the Passover meal is almost ready.”
Yeshua ignored him, and looked sweetly into my face. “Anna …” He reached over and pushed the hair out of my eyes. “As I promised, I will return soon. Don’t fear. Be strong.”
“But … how will I find you?”
“You’ll find me when you seek me with all of your heart. Just look inside yourself. It won’t be easy—too many distractions battle for your mind. The world wants control, but you must resist. Quiet your mind, look inside, and give your thoughts to me.”
“I … I don’t know if I can.”
“I understand. But I’ll be there to help you. At first, you’ll remain in the world and merely look below the surface—you may get glimpses of me from there. But slip deeper, under the surface, and leave the clamor of the world behind. Yes, your mind may still try to control your thoughts and keep you from seeing me. But,” he took my hand, “remember. I’ll be there to help you.”
He let go my hand and turned to the stairs. With a foot on the bottom step, he paused. “Anna, don’t worry. You have what you need.”
Then he started up the stairs. To his back, I silently whispered, I love you.
I snuck out of the courtyard and into the dark streets of Jerusalem.
Sitting in the shadow of my olive tree, I looked up at the half-full moon as it dimly lit the grove. Dying campfires dotted the hillside. All was quiet. Though wrapped in my heavy cloak, an ominous chill slithered up my spine.
Our camp was empty and, even though the hillside was crowded with other pilgrims, I felt so alone. Then, I heard murmurings and looked up to see gray shapes of people coming up the hill toward the camp. Yeshua and most of the others silently walked into the grove. When they spotted me, Neri and Ruth rush over.
“Why did you leave the house?” Neri whispered.
“I told him to stay at the house with Abigail. Jonathan and Abi’s son are there too.” Neri put his hand on my shoulder. “She’ll keep them safe.”
Yeshua and The Twelve walked to one side of the clearing and sat huddled in a tight circle. Yeshua began speaking to them in hushed whispers. Everyone else who had followed from the city went to their tents, though none crawled inside. Neri and Ruth stayed with me. And we all quietly waited.
I watched the moon slide toward the hills on the far side of the city. The sounds of sleep gradually grew. I looked over—Ruth lay curled up next to Neri, his hand resting on her shoulder. He was wide-awake, frequently peering into the shadows, like he was looking for something, or someone. His hammer sat in his lap.
Suddenly, Yeshua left The Twelve and walked toward me. “Anna,” he knelt down and softly took my hand. “Whatever happens, don’t follow, don’t watch. Promise me. After I’m gone, don’t go looking for me. Instead, wait, be patient. Then three days from now, look for me.” He squeezed my hand and stood. “You know where you’ll find me.”
He put his fingers to my lips, “Just believe.” He wandered off by himself, the sound of his footsteps stopping somewhere up the hill.
Within the black shadows of the trees, I crept after him, slipping so close I heard his labored breathing. He was kneeling, his face in his hands. Pale moonlight painted him a dull gray. “Father, everything is possible for you,” he whispered. “Please, take this burden from me. Yet not what I will, but your will be done.”
He lifted his face from his hands and raised his arms to the sky. In the dim moonlight, he looked almost like a little boy, reaching for his father to pick him up and hold him.
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