I sat thoughtfully in the hideout as the sun peeped over the horizon. Forty days had passed since Jesus’ death. It was hard to believe that all that time, I had laid low in my family’s ancient refuge outside Jerusalem. I closed my eyes and thought over all that had happened. While my servant Malachi had tended to my wounds, nursed me back to health, and provided me with food, rumors had spread across the land that Jesus was alive. I refused to believe it. Suddenly, Malachi’s head appeared over the rocks.
“It’s true!” He exclaimed. “It’s true beyond a shadow of a doubt. Jesus is alive.”
“But how could that be?” I questioned. “Jesus is dead. I saw him die.”
“I don’t know,” Malachi responded, “but hundreds of people saw him at once. And that was not the only sighting either.”
I shook my head. “It couldn’t be. It must be an impostor who just looks and sounds like Jesus.”
“But the marks of the nails… on his hands… on his feet…”
I bolted to my feet. “They saw the marks of the nails?”
“As clear as day. I don’t know what to think. Could it really be?”
I gripped Malachi’s shoulder as a thought struck me. “Rabbi Micah showed me the truth. It cost him his life, but he opened my eyes to reality. Jesus was the Messiah. Could not God have raised him from the dead?”
“There’s a Psalm I’ve heard Rabbi Micah mention in connection with the Messiah,” Malachi mused. “It was written by King David and speaks of the grave…”
“Yes, I know what you’re speaking of!” I exclaimed. “Psalm 16.” I closed my eyes and tried to remember the passage. “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”
“Yes, that’s it!” Malachi burst out.
“If this truly is speaking of the Messiah, as Micah believed,” I said thoughtfully, “and if Jesus is the Messiah, as I believe, then he has been raised from the dead. The God who spoke the heavens and the earth into existence could easily resurrect his Son to life again.”
Malachi nodded slowly. “Well,” he said, “I have to go into the city and buy food. You still haven’t decided where you’ll go?”
I shook my head. “Anywhere to be safe from Zechariah. He wants my life. Will you come with me?”
Malachi stared at the ground. “I don’t know.” He turned and clambered down the hillside toward Jerusalem.
I turned and closed my eyes again. If the Messiah was alive, shouldn’t I try to find him? He would probably be able to at least give me valuable advice about what to do. Maybe he would let me follow him—let me even be his disciple! I would wait for Malachi to return, then we would go in search of Jesus together.
A sudden noise halted my thoughts. It sounded like a large crowd of people, coming from over the hilltop. I scrambled to my feet, clambered up the slope, and peered over the edge. Yes, a large throng of men, women, and children was gathered on the Mount of Olives. They were listening to someone speaking. Who was it? I strained my eyes and ears. Could it be Jesus? It certainly looked and sounded like him.
I caught a few words and scraps of phrases; “teaching them… all that I have commanded… with you always…” The people were rapt in attention, watching the Messiah.
I hauled myself to my feet and began running over the rocks toward Jesus, just like last time.
But now it was different.
Suddenly I stopped and stared. Jesus was rising into the air, raising his hands in a final benediction. The crowd stared up at him, open-mouthed as the clouds covered him.
Jesus was gone.
I dashed toward the people on the Mount of Olives as fast as I could manage over the rocky terrain. I barely even noticed as two men in bright garments appeared, spoke to the people, and then vanished. Shining golden in the glow of the setting sun, Jerusalem loomed gloriously across the Kidron valley.
I stumbled into the midst of the crowd. They stared at me curiously—a group of fishermen from Galilee with the smell of brine in their scruffy beards and rough clothes.
“I’m Peter. Who are you?” a burly man asked gruffly, but his voice belied his beaming smile.
“Hilkiah,” I said. “I’m—I’m nobody important. I just wanted to be Jesus’ disciple.”
Peter’s smile only grew wider. “Well then, come with us,” he grinned.
“Come… with… you?”
“Yes! We’ve just been told to go back to the city and wait for the coming of the Helper whom God will send.”
I sank to the ground, overcome with joy and gratitude.
The Messiah had come; the light had dawned.
I was content.