Who are you? Those looking up at you shout taunts about saving yourself, about some power you are supposed to have. And the placard above you names you king—my king. Can it be true? I don’t know much about you, yet those who seem to hate you most speak of great deeds of power. If your sympathizers said it I might doubt, but your enemies…

So tell me, did you actually calm a stormy sea? Could your touch really cleanse the leper, free a mute man’s tongue? And what about this Lazarus, whose still heart, they say, you quickened back to life? And why does my heart, dead to all pang of pity or remorse, quicken and pulse at the sound of your voice, “Father, forgive them”?

And at our companion’s jeers, I heave myself upwards in a shock of torment and fill my lungs with air: “Our condemnation—my condemnation—is just. I deserve nothing better. But he, he is innocent.” Then I fall back into silence.

Who are you? You are more than a common criminal, more than an innocent falsely accused! Why would the Lord of Life bow his knee at the altar of death? Yet Lord of Life you remain. Why?! I want to scream at you, Why are you here at my side when you should be seated in judgment? Why are you here? Because I have to believe that you’ve chosen it. But what good can it do?

And as these thoughts race through my mind and soul, all the agony of my situation is forgotten in the burning desire to know: Who? Why?

I look at him. And at that moment his head slowly lifts. He meets my eyes and I am lost in those depths that know me and love… me. Who and why? My doubts dwindle into nothingness in the presence of the Answer. I know I must complete my prayer.

“Jesus,” I say. My King, my Judge, my Lord and—yes, I have come to believe it—my God, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

“Today you will be with me in paradise.”

And as the clouds gather, as the sky darkens and the thunder begins to groan, all I hear is the echo of his voice in my heart: WITH HIM!  TODAY!

Today is my last day and my first. Today my leprosy cleansed, my sight restored. Today I am Lazarus. Today begins Eternal Dawn.

Photo Credit: Jes