Silent Saturday Journal Entry from James, Son of Thunder

It’s the day after the worst day of my life.

It’s hard to get out of bed this afternoon. Why should I even try? The word on the street is, they are looking to do us just like they did ……. Him.

I can't say his name. That would somehow make what still feels like a nightmare … real. I stumbled into consciousness today like the way you do when a soul-crushing event happens the day before and the emotional exhaustion causes you to fall into a sleep so deep that when you drowsily emerge from it and awake, there’s a moment- maybe a few seconds, before you remember how devastatingly life has changed. Like grasping at steam, you try to hold on to that world that existed before the heartbreak, but it evaporates into the atmosphere of the gut-wrenching reality. There’s no going back.

This is not a bad dream I can simply shake off with more sleep or amuse myself with entertaining diversions. Like blood rushing to the surface of a fresh, deep wound, the pain wells up with inevitable and overwhelming certitude. They really killed him. He’s really gone.

How could this be? He was supposed to be the hope of our people? I still remember that cloudy day three years ago when little bro and I were arguing about whose fault it was that we wasted a whole night on the lake without catching any fish. I told him we should have moved further away from these large crowds of people and he tried to blame me for my net tossing technique! I taught this brat everyone knew! As the angry words were about to turn into angry fists, we saw more people running toward our dad’s boats to get closer to … Him.

As some fell into the lake trying to get in the boats, John and I begrudgingly shared a smirk. We were still mad at each other but seeing these land-loving idiots epically fail to do something so basic was too funny not to share a laugh. We decided to see what all the hype was about. We were ear hustling — listening — but acting like we were just minding our business and our nets. What we heard struck us with more force than the thunderous voice people say little bro’ and me have when we get worked up.

But His power wasn’t about volume but virtue and valor. I’d never heard words so beautiful yet bold, challenging yet comforting, holy yet so earthy in their realness. As he ended his … I don’t know what to call it … “lesson,” he got out of the boat (clearly he had wisdom unlike those who fell), and walked toward us. We looked down pretending that we hadn’t been paying attention but he came right up to us and his eyes peered into our souls. Somehow I knew that he could read us like a book, he knew how moved we were. He said “Follow me” and instantly I knew I had to go, and I instinctively could tell that my brother felt the same. I didn’t know how Abba would respond to us just quitting his fishing crew on the spot to follow this Teacher or how he would fare without us .. but I just knew I had to go. From that moment, I was all in. I saw things I never thought were possible before. He worked miracles in front of thousands, yet cared equally about one person as he did 5,000. And he knew what each person needed. Like that poor woman who everyone knew was suffering. She hadn’t been able to participate in our feasts since my oldest was born: she was ceremoniously unclean for over 12 years! No one got near her and everyone wondered what she had done to cause “God’s judgment”. Not Him. He restored this woman who was sick and alone and gave her dignity. How did he know she touched him and that she needed him to embrace her in a crowd that big?

It was the same with us. He knew exactly what we needed. Grace and truth. Even when he called us out, I knew he loved us. Like that time when we got so mad at those Samaritans for disrespecting us that little bro and I weren’t just ready to fight, we were ready to use our newfound clout as His disciples to rain down God’s judgment on them. He checked us — hard. I was so embarrassed to get called out like that, but he knew we needed it and he showed us a better way. And even when I and little bro got mom to ask him for special treatment, he did something different than condemn or condone. He showed compassion. I knew then, that this was the man God sent to change everything.

If he wasn’t going to fix everything why did he let us call him Messiah? Since he seemed so in tune with God’s will, how couldn’t he prevent this from happening? We gave up everything for him and now we have nothing, most of all we lost Him. I read in the Scripture that God would not let his Holy One see decay … but not he’s rotting away in that rich guy’s grave.

Why didn’t we fight back? When Simon cut Malchus’s ear off I thought it was about to go down! I was ready too but then He told us not to… so if we couldn’t fight the only thing to do was run. Now I wish I would’ve squared up. I can’t believe we went out like that.

Little bro’ told me that after our dinner together the other night when he was trying to see what the Romans were gonna do to Him, he saw that Simon denied knowing Him. Wow. When He needed us most we left Him hanging. The women showed up but his closest brothers didn’t.

Damn. It’s over.

Matthew invited all of us who were there from Galilee back in the day to a get-together for Passover weekend and moral support. Well, all of us except for that snake Judas (don’t let me catch him in these streets!). But I don’t know if I’m going. I don’t deserve support. But He did.

Besides, what does the Passover even mean now with Rome on our necks? Why celebrate when we need to be rescued. We see all this injustice around us and our leaders who are supposed to preach the word about it, are even more corrupt than the Romans.

Was He wrong? Is all this stuff just made up? … But I saw what he could do and how he loved us. That could only come from above. Right?

I can’t believe this. We thought he was the One. If he isn’t then who is? I'm done. Simon was thinking about starting his own fishing crew. All our fathers are still mad at us so we can’t go back to them for work. Simon’s plan sounds good, I think I’ll go back to what we know back up in Galilee where the Chief Priests won’t try to ambush us there like they might down here. These Jerusalem streets are treacherous. I’m done with trying to be a revolutionary. I’ll remember Him and teach what He taught us to my kids, but that’s it. Now, I’m just trying to stay alive. I don’t know what else to do.

Tomorrow, I head back up north to the country, to my home. I might go and pay my respects at the tomb … if I’m up for it.

But for now, maybe I can get back to sleep and maybe just wake up from this nightmare.

James,

Son of Thunder

Passover Saturday, 33 A.D.

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