The sun had gone down. The many cypresses which adorned the slope of the hill, casted long shadows. In the evening light a small group of men rushed onward. They descended along a narrow path that came down along the slope of the hill. Two of the men were clothed ceremoniously and seemed to be important office holders. They carried something heavy in between them. It was a body. The body was wrapped in a big piece of linen. From the feet the cloth was folded over the head and laid back over the body towards the feet. At some places the linen colored red from blood. Four men carried the body. One of them continually pressed a sweat cloth against the head. The sweat cloth was soaked with blood. The blood sticked to one of the hands. In a short distance of the men followed a small group of women.

The four men were in a bit of hurry. The moment of sunset marked the official start of the Jewish Sabbath. The doing of any servile work was absolutely prohibited. The presence of two Jewish magistrates made the case even worse. With the action they put their reputation at severe risk. However, the task was too important to put it off until after the Sabbath. Any postponement was unthinkable. Therefore, they hastened onward with the necessary precautions.

They soon reached the foot of the slope. For a short moment they halted and stood while panting heavily. Then they continued walking. They passed a low wall of stones and arrived in a garden, that was lined with bushes and cypresses. The garden was located against the slope of the hill in which a sepulcher was hewn in stone. An enormous round stone stood near the opening of the sepulcher, in a ledge, which ran along the opening.

The body was carefully carried into the tomb. On the inside, it was dusk. With some difficulty, they could distinguish the bottom of the place which was hewn as a last resting place. While they laid the body down with devotion and reverence, the place turned out a little bit too small. The body was larger than average and the only possibility was to lay it down with the knees bent and the head a little forward.

Exhausted from prolonged walking in a bent posture with a heavy load, the men stretched themselves a few times backward, with the hands in the waist. For one small moment, the colossal sadness that had filled their hearts for a complete day, made place for some satisfaction in a job accomplished. But immediately the anguish hit them again. The women who were following, came into the tomb in order to see how the body was laid and they were sobbing heavily. In spite of the prohibition by Jewish law, they bent down to caress the linen in which the body was enveloped. The men went outside and waited until the women were ready with offering their tribute to the deceased. When they all stood outside again, the wedge, that held the stone, was pulled away with some difficulty. The stone rolled along the ledge downwards and covered the opening of the tomb. Only a dozen of strong guys would be able to open the tomb again.

- September 15, 2021 -

easter novel

The Lord is risen indeed