“My friend this is too risky, even for you…don’t expose yourself like this. It’s not worth the trouble.”
Nic: “My friend this is too risky, even for you…don’t expose yourself like this. It’s not worth the trouble.”
Me: There’s no way I’m going to stay quiet. Firstly because I know I will be haunted in my dreams. Secondly I am a father and I cannot allow such a young man lay dead and abandoned…
Nic: But he’s not your son…
Me: I know he’s not my son, but if you connect the dots, one will find that at the very least I am a distant relative. It’s bad enough that he’s dead but to leave him abandoned is another thing altogether. Just tell me once and for all if you’re with me on this or not.
Nic: Of course I’m with you my friend; I’m always going to be on your side no matter what. I just don’t want us making any rash decisions. Tell you what, go ahead and see if you can get the governor’s approval. Whatever he decides we will handle it together but for now it’s best you go alone, so I have the freedom to intervene should the need arise.
I initially didn’t like his response. Matter of fact it sounded rather cowardly to me and the truth is my friend Nic is cowardly; he hates confrontation of any kind even if it’s for the right cause. A case in point is when he chose to visit this dear friend of ours at night, rather than during the day for fear of being criticized. On the other hand he is a true and loyal friend. Which could also imply that I myself can be considered a coward because after all birds of the same feather flock together.
And truly I have acted like a coward for so long but today it all comes to an end. Today I must face the governor and get his approval to bury an honourable man, whom most people consider dishonorable, especially my learned colleagues. Hmm…my learned colleagues, the same people who committed this man to his death. I feel so ashamed to be associated with them in any way.
You see I am a lawyer by profession and I’ve risen through the ranks to the coveted title of Chief Justice, so you could say I am a Judge, but I prefer to be called a lawyer because I take more pride in being a lawyer than a Judge. So my learned friends (and I) all belong to the Supreme Council of Judges; and they all took a unanimous vote for this friend of mine to be killed.
I wasn’t present the day they voted and initially I was glad I wasn’t present, but now I’m not so sure my absence was a good thing because even though none of them knew I was linked with this man in any way, that day they would have known, for I would not have stayed silent. Why was I silent you ask? I was silent because I was afraid that if any of them knew I was connected to him, it would cost me my career and I would lose my social status. Now you see why Nic and I are birds of the same feather.
The governor had been expecting me and was already waiting for me in his office. Apparently there was no need for me to panic because he granted my request in less than five minutes. At first he seemed shocked to hear that the young man had truly died and needed confirmation to this effect.
He summoned his chief security officer who confirmed that the man was truly dead. Maybe I imagined it but he seemed saddened by the news and without any further enquiry he granted me permission to give him a decent burial.
Nic was surprised to see me return so quickly and hurriedly concluded that my meeting with the governor must have gone horribly south. But when I told him it wasn’t so, he looked deeply in my eyes to be sure I wasn’t playing pranks and immediately he swung into action.
Nic: We must act quickly, you know tomorrow is the Sabbath and night is drawing near.
Fortunately Nic had already made arrangements to get all that we would need for the burial and so he brought along some linen cloth, a mixture of myrrh, aloes and spices, which cost about seventy five pounds. We rushed to the hill were our friend remained hung on the cross and were not all that surprised to find his mother and another female companion still there weeping over their loss.
We soberly greeted them and gently took him down, carrying him to a small burial site which I had bought for my own death, some years ago. It was truly a virgin burial ground where no man had ever laid before. We hated the fact that we were doing a rushed job of cleaning his body but we didn’t have much choice, Sabbath would commence in less than three hours.
As we progressed with the cleaning of his body, we couldn’t help but twinge with pain for every horrible bruise on his body. All this while we worked in silence but at some point I couldn’t take it anymore as tears streamed down my face. And Nic in a tearful voice said,
“The prophet Isaiah was right for truly He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
And so it was with great sadness we wrapped our friend’s body in the linen cloth and buried him in accordance with traditional burial rites. And together Nic and I rolled a huge stone to cover the entrance of the tomb. The women had accompanied us and where watching us soberly all this while and so we bade them goodbye and went our way.
The next couple of days went by in a haze but not without some drama. Apparently my other colleagues had learned of my visit to the governor, including how Nic and I had buried The Lord. And the rumour making the rounds was that we were considered traitors.
Some had even suggested that we be put in jail for our dastardly act. But the issue that was most urgent to them was for the governor to get his most trusted soldier to first of all confirm that his body was still in the tomb and once that was confirmed, to stand guard by the tomb to make sure nothing happened to the body.
Their theory was that since we had gone through such trouble to give him a decent burial, we might go as far as removing his body from the tomb in line with the report which claimed that he would rise from the dead on the third day. By this time the governor was truly a confused man and only wanted peace of mind, so he granted them their request and instructed a guard to watch over the tomb. All this while Nic and I stayed locked up in our homes.
However on the third day I heard voices on the streets. I looked out of my window and saw about three of the governor’s guards having a heated conversation. They were trying their best to keep their voices low but with my house nicely positioned at a vantage point on the street, I could hear snippets of their conversation.
They were saying that some of the women were saying that The Lord had risen from the dead and with this news the guards had decided to go inform some of the leading priests about what they’d heard. Better to inform the priests than to inform the governor, for surely heads would roll. As their voices faded in the distance, I knew I had to see Nic.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this thought because less than ten minutes later Nic busted into my house, flinging his arms my around my neck in the warmest embrace ever, saying repeatedly,
“He is risen, He is risen…Joseph my friend, He is risen.”
I was a little bit tempted to ask how true this could be, but in my heart I knew it was true. As we sat and talked about what next to do, one of the workers working in the court house stopped by my house to inform us that the priests had just given the soldiers who brought the news a large bribe, instructing the soldiers to tell the governor that Jesus disciples came in the night while they were asleep and stole His body. With this new information we both knew we had to go see the other disciples.
In the end our joy was complete, when before that very day ended we saw our Lord Jesus with our very own eyes and we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was truly The Saviour of the world.
Reference: Mark 15: 43-47; Luke 23: 50-56; John 19: 38-42; Isaiah 53: 7; Matthew 28: 11-15; John 20: 19-23 & 30-31.
Nkoyo Itegboje is a writer based in Lagos, Nigeria. You can connect with her via her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nkoyo.itegboje or send her an email via firstname.lastname@example.org