Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
By James Clem
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"Fascinating," he remarked to himself. "It does seem quite a puzzle, with no ready answer available." Reaching deep into one pocket, he pulled out an oval lens attached to a handle--the most useful of his possessions. As he scrutinized every detail, he idly wiped the lens with an edge of his robe to remove the slight layer of dust that had collected upon it.
John had taken to wearing a full-length robe of a plaid design in basic earth-tone colors. It made him look quite distinguished. Children laughed and pointed at him as he passed--a sure sign of envy. Out of another pocket, he produced a small pipe which he placed idly in his mouth without bothering to light.
At a casual glance, all appeared to be just as Mary (the one from Magdela) had said. The massive rock that had sealed the tomb was unmistakably moved. Through the magnifying lens, John was able to discern that many people had recently been in the vicinity; the mark of their footprints identifying them to be Roman soldiers. A bit odd itself in most cases, but perfectly logical in this one. By Pilate’s order, the tomb containing the crucified body of Jesus was to be guarded around the clock.
John frowned at the thought, venturing into a dialogue with himself. "Where are the guards? Well actually, it would be quite reasonable for them to be gone if the remainder of what Mary stated is true--that the body of Jesus is gone. A Roman soldier who has failed in his duty would be wise to flee to the very ends of the Earth."
John pushed at the rock but it did not budge or roll in the slightest. Applying his full weight to the task produced no better result. The logical conclusion: the stone could only be moved by a group of strong men; Mary and her friends would not have been able to nudge it away.
Suddenly, his associate Peter arrived and, (much to John's utter dismay and astonishment) dashed directly into the tomb. John shouted after him, "Peter, stop! Don't touch anything. I must see it exactly as it is."
Fortunately, Peter had yet to disturb anything and turned to proclaim the obvious, "Jesus’ body is gone."
John proffered him a look of pure wonder, "Indubitably, Peter, I suspect this is so. It is what Mary told us we would find and the very reason we have come; I shouldn't wonder that she would not be confused on this detail." John carefully inspected each area, viewing all available evidence through his magnifying lens. "It is most strange that the grave wrappings remain here."
Peter watched John poke methodically at the liniment, thinking again how ridiculous that new cloak looked and wondered what John was thinking when he had purchased it.
"Well, Peter, the answer is all very elementary. When one has eliminated all other possibilities, whatsoever remains--however plausible it might or might not be--is the truth."
"Of course! Obviously, the Romans took the body; what other answer is there?"
"Peter," John cocked his head as though talking to a two-year-old, "Why would the Romans take the body?"
"I don't know. To accuse of us doing it, I suppose."
"They're Romans; they don't need an excuse to hunt us down. No, the only answer that is left to ponder is that Jesus is risen. Do you remember when he said, ‘This temple will be torn down, but in three days it will be rebuilt again’? It is intuitively obvious that it was not the temple he was speaking of--he was speaking of Himself."
"John, people don't come back from the dead. Well except for Lazarus... and that boy whose funeral procession passed right in front of us... and also, that time..."
"Yes, Peter, exactly. Jesus had power over death. Or more rightly to say, God the Father has raised Christ from the dead. If we review the ancient scriptures from this vantage, it all makes perfect sense. This mystery is solved. The great plan that God instituted at the very beginning of time has led to this very moment.”
“Jesus is the Messiah. He was crucified, dead and buried... and now He is Risen!"
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