Marcus leaned against the tomb. His eyes were heavy. His watch, the last watch, was almost up. The sky was just the tiniest bit lighter in the east.
He hopped up, paced. He’d fall asleep if he sat any longer. He just needed to get through one more hour. Staring at the sky, he prayed for time to pass faster.
To whom was he praying? He couldn’t answer that.
The Roman gods had never meant much to him, done much for him.
The Man in the tomb was obviously not a god, or He wouldn’t be dead.
So who was left?
Stretching his arms above his head, he locked them together behind his neck. As he thought, ideas chased each other in circles.
It wouldn’t be long now. Might as well wake the others. “Aulus, Gaius, Lucius. Up.” He nudged the sprawled bodies with his sandaled foot. They groaned and sat up, then dragged themselves toward the entrance to the sepulcher.
“I cannot wait to get to my bunk.” Aulus yawned.
“I want a huge cup of spiced wine first,” Gaius added.
Marcus ached to see Flavia again, but he certainly wasn’t going to tell any of them.
A brilliant white light filled the sky with a force so tangible Marcus and his men were knocked down.
Unable to speak or move, he sat among the trees, his weight back on his hands, mouth open.
A figure, clothed in flaming white, placed his hand on the stone and slid it aside as if it were a pebble. The Man walked out of the tomb and down the path out of the garden.
Marcus fell back on the ground, his hands on his head. Oh, the trouble he would be in. He was the commander now. Maybe not officially, but Decimus wasn’t here, and it would be his neck on the block. No one would believe him if he told them what he had seen. At the very least he had let the seal be broken, the body be stolen.
Female voices. No...Who was coming? Heart racing, he smacked his comrades, backed up further into the trees.
Peeking through the leaves, he saw three or four women approach the tomb. One peered inside and talked to the brightly dressed figure, then they all ran away.
“We have to get out of here!” He scrambled for his sword and jumped up. “Let’s go!”
“We have to tell the priests!” Aulus said.
“No one would ever believe this.” Gaius shook his head.
“Of course they would. Isn’t this exactly what they said would happen?” Lucius said.
“Yes, but no one knows it happened but us...” Aulus raised a finger.
“The priests don’t want this known. We could make a lot of coin here.” Lucius grinned.
Marcus backed away. “I’m...I want nothing to do with this.” He left the other three and headed straight for Flavia’s shop. The priests could try to keep this quiet, and they would probably even spread the story that the body was stolen, which would keep him safe from his superiors.
But the truth would get out eventually. Those women knew.
He knew...what exactly did he know? The Man had been dead. The body had been in that tomb, and now it was gone. That tomb had been sealed, and no one could have stolen it.
The rest? The rest would probably be argued for weeks, maybe years.
Of one other thing he was certain. As his centurion had said, the Man he had nailed to the cross was more than just a Man.And soon everyone would know.
He is not here, He is risen, just as He said.
If you have any questions about Jesus, and what His death and resurrection mean for you, please feel free to contact me or any of us here at Faith Friends and Chocolate. We'd be delighted to introduce you to Him or just answer any questions you may have. You can also learn more here.