The Resurrection Wager
Over the next half hour, the crowd about doubled, and the excitement grew. Word began to spread that the Teacher was almost there. He was riding on a donkey, and he would be there in a few minutes.
Catherine looked at Paul, his eyes looked glazed, and he seemed unsteady on his feet. The morphine was having an effect. She took him by the arm and led him to the stump of a small tree; she slowly eased him down until the stump was taking most of his weight. The small jagged stump must be digging into his buttocks, but at least he would not pass out. She hoped he was not so high from the pain medications that he would not remember this event. Tom had moved to join him, and she could tell he was excited about what was going to happen.
Catherine remembered back when she was in college. She had gone to a campaign rally for the soon to be President Bush. She recalled how impressive it was to see in person a man that was most likely going to become the President of the United States. When she saw Tom’s excitement, she realized that he was about to see a man that he believed was God.
As she was considering this, she became aware of the crowd becoming more animated.
There was a contingent coming down the road towards them. There were several men on the road and behind them was another figure seated on a donkey.
Catherine was almost as excited as Tom. Here was one of, if not the most famous people in all of history. He was a pivotal player in the society that she dedicated her life’s work to study, and he was coming down the road and would pass directly in front of her. She checked to make sure that her garments were straight, that no folds were obscuring the buttonhole cameras that were recording this event.
As he approached, she saw people laying palm branches, which they had recently collected, on the road in front of the donkey. Jesus smiled at the crowd, occasionally stopping briefly to speak to one person or another. Catherine was fascinated by the loving look on his face as he talked to the people.
She was aware of someone touching her arm and looked to see Paul. He had stood and was using her for support, but he too was studying the approaching figure.
For his part, Tom was staring with his mouth half open. This was not what he was expecting. All of his life he had an image in his mind of what Jesus would look like and this was not it. He did not look at all like the photo on the wall in his office. Jesus had darker, Middle Eastern features and black hair. Certainly not the Anglo appearance he was expecting. He was close to six feet tall, and his eyes had an intensity that he could not explain. He had a medium build and was about one hundred and sixty pounds. Other than that there was not much noticeable. He was somewhat ordinary in appearance.
When he had approached and was directly in front of them, Jesus stopped the animal again. However, this time he smoothly dismounted. As he did, he held up a hand, and those with him held back.
He looked directly at the three foreigners and approached. Tom immediately dropped to one knee. Paul felt his legs beginning to weaken, his heart pounding.
The Teacher stopped just inches from them. Looking at them, he said in a quiet voice, using clear perfect English, “You do not belong here. You must not interfere.”
As he spoke, he reached out and placed his hand on Paul’s shoulder. The sensation was immediate, the fog surrounding Paul’s mind cleared instantly, all traces of the narcotics gone. At the same time, Paul felt something within his damaged arm move, and the pain immediately vanished.
Responding to Christ’s words, Tom replied in Latin, “We will not interfere, Lord Jesus.”
With that, Jesus smiled and looked down at the kneeling believer, and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“Stop doubting and believe,” He said to Paul.
He then turned around and remounted the donkey.
As he moved on, Tom slowly got to his feet. He was briefly unsteady, a look of shock on his face. He turned to the others and said, “He spoke to us. He touched me; he actually touched me! The Lord touched me!”
“I know Tom, I know,” replied Catherine, trying to calm Tom’s excitement. “We heard and saw. What I want to know is how did he know that we aren’t from around here? What did he mean by you must not interfere?” After a moment’s pause, the most surprising detail came to her. “He spoke English! How’s that possible? How would he know too, even if he could have?”
Tom was about to respond when he was interrupted. Paul moved forward and placed a hand on Tom’s back. “Tom, did you see? He touched me too.”
Tom looked at Paul and responded, “He did? That’s great.”
“You don’t understand,” Paul said, and he pulled his other arm out from under the cloak, “Look! When he touched me, my wrist was healed!” He quickly unwrapped the material holding the splint together and let the wood fall to the ground. He made a fist several times and rotated the wrist in both directions.
Catherine had been listening, and watching as the man on the donkey continued down the road. Now she whipped around and stared at Paul’s arm. The wrist and lower arm that had been fractured, swollen and crooked were now completely healthy in appearance.
Is there any pain?” asked Catherine.
“None, as soon as he touched me it was healed.”
“You were weak from the pain medication,” added Tom. “Is that better too?”
“Yes, it also cleared up at the same time as the pain.”
Tom smiled and said, “You see, he isn’t just a wonderful preacher and historical figure.”
“I suddenly think that I might actually lose the wager,” Paul said.
“I knew that from the beginning,” Tom replied.
“Yeah, I guess you did.”