When the Sun Rose

How did we get here? I look up to the huge cross towering over me. “Jesus. It shouldn’t have happened. Why?” I shout, “God, why did you take Him away right when He was saving lives?” A small, still voice comes to me, “This is only the beginning.”

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“A sower went out to sow his seed,” Jesus surveys all the people sitting around Him. I sit in awe, as usual, at how amazing my life is. The lush green grass breezes below my leg as I sit on the top of a small hill not too far from Nazareth. I turn my head and notice an abundant crowd forming below us. There’s easily hundreds of men, women, and children. Jesus especially loves the children, and they love Him too. They sit in his lap and laugh as he shares with them stories of his amazing adventures.

My life has changed a great deal since I started getting to not only see this happiness and laughter, but to also experience it. I began traveling with Jesus when I saw the miracles he performed. Traveling with him was the best decision I ever made. Jesus tucks a piece of his dark hair behind his ear and stands. He grasps John’s hand and bows his head. He closes this story in prayer. I pick up my cloth satchel and swing it over my shoulder.  

“Teacher, what might that parable mean?” James asks as others gather around him.

Jesus answers, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; but to others in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” Jesus continues to explain the parable he told the people. I ponder on the few words that he continues to share with us. He says, “But that on the good ground are they that, in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience.” We all step back, and the crowd floods to Jesus. Everyone goes to simply touch him, and witness the miracles. A woman runs and falls on her knees crying out to God, a crippled man limps over to Jesus, and a wealthy man holds a bag of coins. I gently push through the hundreds going up the hill as I head down. In the distance I catch sight of a familiar face, Mary!

“Sorry. Excuse me. Hi! Sorry.” I break my way through the people. I finally make it down the crowd, and spot Mary a little bit farther up the hill than before. “Mary! Hi, how are you?” I say.

Jesus’s mother turns around, and says, “Hello, Mary Magdalene! It is so great to see you.” She embraces me in a warm, inviting hug.

“What are you doing here?” I ask. Her long dark hair falls, framing her face. The rest of her hair is unseen because of the headscarf around her neck. She is clothed in the most beautiful sky blue tunic tied at the waist with a dainty leather rope. You can barely see her leather sandals peek out from the bottom of the tunic. We discuss how our once ordinary lives have changed to be very unordinary.

“I’m going to try and go up the hill to see my son. Goodbye Mary. I am so very proud of you. See you soon,” Mary says. She turns to her other son behind her and heads up the hill, into the growing crowd of people. I stroll over to some young children playing by an old structure, and bend down to speak to them.

“Greetings, children,” all of them begin to smile and run over to me.

“Do you know Jesus?” a little boy around 8 years old gazes up at me with his huge brown eyes. His sandals are torn and his long tunic, covered in dirt, is ripped at the bottom.

“I do. Did you get to meet him? He loves children just like you,” I say. Other children, of all ages, walk over to join our little circle. The little boy shakes his head and frowns. They haven’t met Jesus yet.

“Come. Come and meet our Teacher.” I hold the little boy’s hand and turn back towards the hill. He lets go.

“No, there are too many people.” He looks down at the ground.

“What is your name?” I bend down to about eye-level with the young boy. The other children keep their eyes directly on me.

“I am Ananias, and this is Imma, my sister,” Ananias points over at his sister. I smile at her, and she gently raises her hand to a wave.  

“Let’s go see Jesus. He’ll make sure to speak to you,” I say with a smile. Imma reaches out her hand, and I guide them up the hill. After waiting for a very long time, we finally make it to Jesus. Ananias and Imma’s eyes light up, and they drop my hands as they walk up to see him.  

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My leather sandals shuffle across the dry land as I hold up the side of my long tunic. Peter and James, leading the group, begin to veer off to the right. The rest of us follow. On the side of the worn-out, dusty path we walk on, is a huge, flat rock. Andrew places his items on the rock, so I suppose this is where we will take a little time off of our journey. A group in front of us, keeps going down toward Jerusalem. I tuck my long tunic underneath me and sit on the edge of the rock. The tunic itches the back of my ankle, and I notice a small bug bite. As the bite continues to itch, a small drop of blood emerges from the bite. My mind shifts back to the whole reason we are on this very journey now, Passover. I can only imagine the horror the Egyptians faced as they noticed their beloved Nile was turned to a bloody, ruined river.

I pull a blade of dry, brittle grass from the side of the rock and smear off the blood. As I throw the grass down, I notice two men walking out from the brush. One carries a short, brown rope used to tie animals together. I peer farther to see what animal is tied at the end. A miniature, four-legged donkey trots behind the men. His brown body walks strong and his ears are perched up high.

“It’s a donkey,” I whisper to myself. I can’t help but smile. The men walk closer to us. Jesus steps off the rock and walks toward the donkey. The two men take off their cloaks and lay them across the donkey. Jesus sits on the animal.

“We shall be heading into Jerusalem now,” He says. Peter, now holding the rope, guides the donkey down the dusty, dry path. I gather my small belongings and follow after Jesus.

As we approach the city, I hear many voices united together. They are all chanting something. It is very gentle and quiet now, but as we get closer, the volume increases.

“He’s here! He’s here,” a tall, lanky man yells to the crowd jammed by the city gate. He takes his hands and pushes the people back to create an entryway.

“Hosanna to the Son of David!” The group chants. They all are holding something up in the air, but I can’t tell what it is. My eyes focus, and I realize they are waving huge, green tree branches in the air. Across the dirt path, are cloaks that have been laid by the people.

I feel as if I am part of the royal family. To get this kind of treatment is… well, rather peculiar. Some people really do love Jesus and his work, and those people are always so welcoming, but others are not. Jesus remains seated on the donkey as people push their way to the front of the crowd asking, “Who is it? Who is this man?”

“This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee,” one of the disciples behind me says. The people continue to wave their branches and praise Jesus. I watch him, and he doesn’t wave like a king or kick the people when they come close to him. He genuinely wants to know these people. That’s what makes me remember I am not a part of the current royal family.

As we get closer into the city, the people seem to just flock to Jesus. They all just come to simply touch him or have a conversation with him. People flood the streets, and it is taking a little longer than I anticipated to get to the Temple where Jesus will tell his stories. Jesus takes this time as an opportunity to talk to the people lined up on the streets. Now I’m noticing that each second that we stay here, our group seems to keep growing. We entered with about twenty to thirty followers, and now, I can not even fathom the number behind me.

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We finally arrive at the bottom of the steps leading into the Temple. About fifteen steps lead up to the massive stone doors. Still following Jesus, we enter.

The tall building opens up before me, and it’s beauty glistens with the light peeking through the door. I hear coins clattering and people yelling. Tables and benches fill up the once-open entrance. Pigeons are locked in cages, and linens are laid out on tables for sale. I realize what is going on. People are using the Temple to sell things. This building is a place used to worship the Lord our God, but by the looks of it, that’s not what it is being used for now. I look at the disciples. They have the same look on their face. I can’t fully describe it, but it’s a mix between confusion and hurt.

“Why are they doing this?” I hear Andrew ask from behind me. Jesus slowly turns His head from one side to the other and gazes across the room. He takes a few steps, and I hold my breath, expecting Jesus to call out to these lost people. Sitting behind one wooden tables is a short man with a thick, dark beard. His long robe brushes against the ground. On the table is a weaved wooden cage holding two pigeons. I glance back over the whole room and see that this is only one of the many tables selling all sorts of items. One man has three cloaks laid out on his table, while another has leather sandals. Jesus walks to the short man selling pigeons and skims his hands over the top of the table. A taller, heavier man stands beside Jesus, and I’m guessing he is there to buy a pigeon. Before I know it, Jesus has flipped over the table. The little man is left sitting in his chair with coins rolling beneath him. He scurries to pick up the money.  

Jesus makes his way around the whole room flipping over the tables. When all of them are overturned, everyone looks astonished and faces Jesus. What will He say? He stands in the middle of the room with authority and says, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Jesus clears out all the people buying and selling. The tables are gone, along with the items. The only people left are standing, sitting, and leaning against the stone, beige walls of the room. Many are sick. They cough, sneeze, and even cry out in pain. We, the followers of Jesus, stand on the other side of the wall, closest to the entrance. Jesus walks over to the sick and hurting to sit to talk with them. Before we know it, it’s back to normal: Jesus begins healing and changing lives.

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I step over a blanket lying on the floor as I make my way through the people. Making my way around the room, I arrive at Jesus who is walking over to an elderly lady. The woman’s eyes immediately light up when she sees Him. He gently grasps her hand. A turban is wrapped around her head with little white strands of hair poking out. Her long blue tunic is similar to most of the others in this community, but this woman’s is torn and ripped at the bottom. A light cloth is laid over her legs.

“You can help me,” the woman tells Jesus. “You are the One. You’re the One we’ve been waiting for.” Her pale lips barely move with every word she speaks.

Jesus says, “Rise.” Without any second thought, the lady carefully removes the cloth over her legs. I hold her other hand, and she wobbles to a stand. Her feeble body can barely hold herself up. She takes a deep breath of relief. Her hands are shaking, and she looks at Jesus. “Thank you.” Her grip tightens, and a tear falls down her cheek. An older man, who I have established as her husband, stands up next to her. She releases her hands from our grip, and the couple hugs. I look at Jesus. He smiles and says, “She believed.”

I sit beside the couple, and we continue in a conversation about their lives. Then I walk over to some sick little children that are patiently waiting on Jesus to come and heal them.  All the followers are spread throughout the crowd: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Nathanael, James the Younger, Judas, Jude, Levi, Philip, Simon, and Thomas. Along with the apostles, some others follow with Jesus: Me (Mary Magdalene), Joanna, Susanna, and others. The children around me begin chanting, “Hosanna, to the Son of David.”

The chief elders and priests at the Temple all stand in a small corner of the room. The lame, sick, and blind are all away from them. They have a sour look on their faces as they survey the room. One of the elders whispers into a scribe’s ear and they both nod in agreement.

“Jesus.” the chief elder calls, “Do you hear what these people are saying?” All the leaders of the Temple look at Jesus concerned, like this was an issue. Jesus walks over to them and says, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” The elder takes a deep breath and walks toward the door. The others follow him.  

Jesus finishes up healing some others in the room that came to him, and then starts rounding up the disciples. We all get our belongings, and head out of the Temple. The sky glows a light blue mixed with a light purple, and the moon is barely peeking out from behind a soft cloud. We step over rocks and branches with our leather sandals. As we arrive upon Bethany, Jesus shows us our places to stay. I am with Susanna and Joanna tonight. We have all gotten quite close in our small quarters. We have also grown quite fond of Peter’s wife. We always love when she accompanies Peter on trips.

A lovely couple has allowed the three of us women to stay with them for at least tonight.  All of us sit in the high upper room of the multi-family house. The room is quite bare. There is nothing more than a small table in one corner and a dark short stool beside the door. The home is actually a nice size house: a two story, four room home.

“Today was such a beautiful day. I spoke with a young boy that said it was the best day of his life,” Susanna says as she returns from getting the jug of water from the corner table. She sets it on the stool, and gently blows on the lamp to release the remaining light in the room. I pull at my floor mat until I am comfortable. This mat has been all over with me. It is very easy to roll up and tie together. Most of us have our own mats, so wherever we are, we have something to cover the ground. I lay my heavy cloak over my body to keep warm.

“It was beautiful. Seeing all of those young children praise Jesus for His miracles just warmed my heart,” Joanna answers. Even though I can’t see Joanna in the dark, I know she has a huge grin on her face. Her husband, Chuza, is a very high official working for the King. I really respect her because she could have lived a very wealthy life, but instead she lives traveling and supporting Jesus’s ministry.  

“Goodnight Mary and Joanna,” Susanna says as I roll over and fall asleep.

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I wake up to the sound of people walking in and out of the courtyard below us. The tall wooden door squeaks and creeks with the light breeze blowing outside. The birds begin chirping, and I squint my eyes toward the small window beside the door. Only a glimpse of light appears, so it must only be sunrise. I pull the cloak off of me and look to see if the others are awake.

“It’s a beautiful morning!” Susanna cheerfully declares. She walks up from behind me where we have our belongings placed. She pours water from the household jug into our individual water pouches.

“Oh, it is! You really don’t have to do that. I could have. Thank you though,” I tell her. Susanna is another woman that I highly admire. Like Joanna, she gives everything to Jesus and His ministry. She is always joyful and going out of her way to serve others, even something as simple as filling a water pouch.

“It’s my pleasure. We have a full day ahead of us. We must get going to meet up with Jesus and the others,” Susanna tells us. Her long red hair is gathered together on the right side of her head braided together like a rope. She has already gotten ready today, so most of her long locks are tucked into her head scarf. Like all of the women here, she wears a long tunic, but on Susanna, it doesn’t look like just a normal tunic. The overlay material is very light and a soft tan color. She is radiant. As we have seen through our journeys, clothing can easily get ruined. Once, while in Bethany for a visit, I was talking with some children. Behind me more children were playing with a ball, just cloth wrapped together. Apparently there was a puddle of mud, and they accidentally kicked the ball into the mud, splashing it on my tunic. From then on, I said I must forget about my clothing, so I can always be ready to help change a life. Now I carry about three to four different mismatched items to pair with each other.

“Hi, are we off to Jerusalem again today?” Joanna asks as she peeks up from her slumber and rubs her eyes. I glance at Susanna for today’s agenda.

“We are. Let’s get going!” Susanna says.  

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Once we are all ready, I open the tall door leading into the open world. Every morning when I open the door, I get a feeling that I’m making a difference, but today, that feeling is so much stronger. It feels like this Passover is going to be very memorable.

I walk down the stairs leading into the small courtyard. Three children sit playing with a ball made of rice and cloth. Animals roam around the area. We take a left turn and gently knock on the tall door.

“Well good morning! Is everyone off so early?” The older woman, who provided the upper room for us asks. She sits in the middle of two women at a round table in the middle of a room used for cooking. I’m guessing the women are her daughters, and the children outside playing are most likely her grandchildren. The older woman’s husband must have already started on his work today, because he is not here.

“We are. Today we are heading back into Jerusalem. And thank you so much for providing us a place to sleep. It means so much!” Joanna says. The little lady’s eyes light up, and she hands us some bread for the travel. We exit the room, and walk out of the courtyard into the busy town. Many people walk the streets with animals, food, children, and many other things. A lot of people are heading the same direction as we are, most likely going to Jerusalem too. Jesus and his other followers are gathered together talking with some people from Bethany. We head toward the Temple in Jerusalem.

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I walk up the steps leading to the huge Temple doors. Still flocking to Jesus, the people all sit below him in a circle when we enter. As he begins teaching, an elder speaks out, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Everyone turns around and faces him. Surrounded by the chief priests and other elders, the group stares directly at Jesus.

Jesus rubs his hands together and walks closer to the priests and elders. I look over and make eye contact with Peter, sitting across the room. “The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” Jesus asks.

I really don’t know what the elder will say next. The elder turns to his “group” behind him, and they begin discussing. I assume that they are having a little dilemma from this question.

The elder faces the crowd and Jesus. The room is silent. He strokes his long grey beard and answers, “We do not know.” 

Not looking at all surprised, Jesus says, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. What do you think? A man had two sons…” Continuing in His teachings, Jesus doesn’t let the elders, Pharisees, or priests cease his mission. This happens quite often, where the priests don’t believe what Jesus is saying. They often disagree on certain topics. As Jesus preaches simply on loving God and your neighbor, the priests and Pharisees focus on following laws and rules.

The day continues with amazing stories from Jesus. I gather my mat, that I brought to sit on, and go to say goodbye to a woman I met. Someone taps me on the shoulder and I turn around.

“Hi. I- I’m sorry to disturb you. I was just wondering if I...” her gentle voice trails off as she looks down at the ground. She tucks a strand of her brown hair behind her ear.

“Hi. What’s your name?” I ask her. I use this method of communicating with other people. Usually if they seem nervous, I will ask them their name and let them feel comfortable. I used it on Ananias, the boy I met only a few days ago.

“I’m Sapphira,” she says as her dark brown eyes meet mine. By the look of her tunic, I can tell she is wealthy.

“Well, hello Sapphira. I’m Mary. It is so great to meet you.” I tell her.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” She continues, “This may sound absolutely crazy, but I have to ask. Is there any way I can start traveling with Jesus?” I smile. She does look young, but then again, she also looks very capable.

“Absolutely. We would love to have you. Have you gotten to speak to Jesus yet?” I ask as I embrace her into a side hug, and we walk over to continue our conversation.

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 A small wooden weaved basket sits at a table in the corner of the room, the treasury. Everyone walks by and places their offerings into the basket. Jesus sits across from the treasury and watches as the money is placed inside. Many wealthy families, dressed in fancy clothing, walk by and place large sums into the treasury. Behind the family of four, an elderly woman walks by. Her tunic is torn near the bottom and in other various places. Dirt covers it. Her very thin, white hair barely peeks out from her head scarf. She drops in two small copper coins. Jesus comes over to us. “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

I truly hope that I have been able to give everything that I have, and even then, I will still give more. The days go by quickly leading up to Passover, and lives are continually being changed.

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“The meal was delicious,” Susanna thanks Martha for the food she provided to us. “It is so special for you and Mary to open your home to us while the others are having supper.”

I sit on the floor of the large open room. Susanna, Mary, Martha, Salome, the other Mary, and Joanna all sit around me.

Martha smiles and says, “My pleasure. You all travel so much, so it is great to see everyone.”  Martha loves to plan meals for groups of people. Actually, not too long ago, she had a meal for Jesus and some other people. She has a brother, Lazarus, who is very good friends with Jesus.

“How has your time at the Temple been?” Mary, Martha’s sister, asks me from across the room. Just by looking at these two women, you would definitely be able to tell that they are sisters; they are almost like twins! They both have long dark hair, like most people here do, and large smiles. Other than their looks though, they are actually very different. Mary loves talking with people and having laid back discussion times, but as for Martha, she loves having structured dinners. Each one has very unique gifts. They have become our dearest friends!

I answer Mary’s question, “I have seen so many amazing things. Jesus has taught very powerful messages. Did you hear of what He did the first day?”

“I did actually. He overturned the tables,” Salome says as she giggles with the other Mary. These two other women are both mothers of the group, and we all look up to them. Salome’s sons are James and John, and this Mary is James the younger’s mother.

“What were the people doing?” Martha asks.

“Well, as we entered, everyone saw that the Temple was not being used for praising our God, but instead-” Joanna is interrupted by a heavy knock on the door. I lean up and excuse myself from the group. The women continue talking as I walk toward the door. I pull up the long wooden board, unlocking it, and open the door. A curly-haired, tall man stands on the other side looking at the ground. It’s John!

“Hi, John.” I welcome him inside. John is usually very joyful, but right now, he is not. My stomach clenches. Something’s not right.

I try to meet his eyes to get any insight as to what has happened. He runs his hands through his coarse hair, and his cheeks grow a rosy pink tint.  

John goes to sit beside his mother, Salome. He looks up at us and says, “It’s Jesus. He’s been arrested.” The room is silent. Tears form in my eyes, and my breath is knocked out of me. “Wait. What do you mean? How did this happen?” I ask as I turn around, shut, and lock the door.

He takes a deep breath, “We had the Passover meal, an- and it was fine. Then, Jesus said that someone sitting at the table would betray him.” Martha gasps and covers her mouth. We all stare in disbelief. Who would do such a thing? John continues, “Jesus wanted to go to the Mount of Olives to pray. When we arrived at the garden, he went farther in to begin his prayer. He told us to stay awake, but my eyes were so heavy. We all kept falling asleep. When he came to us the third time to wake us up, I noticed a huge group of people coming towards us. At first, I didn’t understand who they were. Then they came into view, and I realized Judas was the leader. They all carried swords and clubs. It was like Jesus was a criminal.” He looks down at his lap in despair.

“No,” I whisper. Everyone is full of sorrow. God, let your will be done. Let your will be done.

“Judas betrayed him. Then they arrested Jesus. I fled. We all fled. They took him.” John says. He rubs his head, and Mary cries into her hands. Surely they will release him. What harm has he done? There is nothing he can be tried for, right?

I jump up from my sitting, and strongly say, “What are we doing just sitting here? We must go.”

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People surround me, and I’m shoved into the lady beside me. Her eyes expand while her lips are pursed together, and she hisses at me, “Watch it.”

“I’m sorry,” I apologize. My mind runs wild. How I pray Jesus gets released, but what if he doesn’t? Will they kill him? What is to come of him and his mission? Oh, I can’t let my mind wander off about that. God, let your will be done. Let your will be done. Joanna bumps my arm.

“Can you see anything?” she asks.

“Not right now, I’ll try though,” I reply back. I stretch my neck out to try to get a glance at the stage. The two guards open up the tall golden door, and Pontius Pilate, our ruler, walks out.

He whips his long leather strip. Guards open a tall, slender door on the right side of the wall. A big, masculine man parades himself out. Two guards hold his chains around his wrists. The man stares at the crowd with a snarl on his face. A smaller door, on the left side, is opened. Jesus walks out, and my heart drops. Cuffs sag around his wrists and ankles. His body wobbles along when the guards drag him to the round platform. Pressing into his scalp is a sharp ‘crown’ weaved from thorns. A purple robe sags around his body. They’ve mocked him. They think this is a joke. I swallow hard, and catch my mouth open in disbelief.

Four small steps lead up to Pontius Pilate’s tall, broad chair. Pilate stands up and yells to the crowd, “Who do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, the murderer, or Jesus, who they call the Christ?”

He shrugs his shoulders. The elders and chief priests point their fingers at Barabbas and yell, “Let Barabbas go! Destroy Jesus!”

I try to jump up through the crowd. I yell, “No, let Jesus go!” I try to scream louder, “Let Jesus go! Release Je-” My voice is slowly drowned out by the rest of the people continuing to yell for Barabbas, the murderer. No matter how loud they get, I, along with the other followers that are here, never stop yelling for the release of Jesus. The lady I accidentally bumped into earlier, jerks her head around at me.

“Jesus speaks blasphemy.” She says. The lady shakes her head in disbelief, again pursing her lips together. She yells even louder, “Let Barabbas go.” My heart beats fast.

Joanna tries to yell louder, “We want Jesus!” It doesn’t work. There is no way Pilate can hear us now. He raises his hands to symbolize silence. Pilate points to Jesus and says, “Then what shall I do with the man who you call King of the Jews?”

“Crucify him!” A deep voice yells from the front of the crowd. Many people join him. “Crucifixion!” They yell.

My heart beats faster. “Let him go! He has done no wrong!” I say. Again, our voices are drowned out. I look at Jesus. His eyes, once open and alive, now stained purple and blue, swollen shut. His knees, once able to walk miles and miles, now bent and looking frail and weak. He stares at the ground as if he knew this would happen. I survey the people and remember our entry into this city. The same people now wanting to kill Jesus were praising him and yelling, “Hosanna!”

Pontius Pilate handles all the people’s rioting voices. He motions two finger at the guards handling Barabbas. One tall, dark-skinned guard, takes out a small key and unlocks the chains on Barabbas. Pilate motions to the guards holding Jesus. They jerk Jesus to the ground, and his body lies still on the dusty, dry ground. I try to run up to the front. Joanna runs behind me, pushing through the crowds. A man runs in front of me and works his way up to the front. A lady does the same, and before I know it, we can’t see anything. I try to peer through heads, and finally I am in a position to see them. Jesus shrieks out in pain as the guards start scourging him. They torturing Jesus with a long whip composed of leather and metal.

Tears fall down my face. Why does this have to happen? The crowd cheers the guards on, and I wish I could take the place for Jesus right now. Joanna huddles me in her arms as we both pray silently.

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A small, wooden door opens. I, across the dirt path, am trying to see who is coming out from the door. Three tall wooden crosses lie beside the door, and unfortunately, I know who will be on one of them. People are joining together on the streets waiting for Jesus to emerge. After what seems like forever, I spot him. His blood drips down his head. Bruises pound on every portion of his body. Huge gashes sit open across his stomach and back. With swollen eyes and trembling hands, his body sways from dizziness. A crown made of thorns jabs into his head. A guard instructs Jesus to pick up the cross, but I know (and they know too) that he will not be able to carry a huge cross. He can barely pick up himself.

More people start lining up on the sides of the street when they catch sight of Jesus. Mary holds a soft piece of linen in her hand. She weeps beside me for her child. Salome comforts her as they both walk through the people to get closer to Jesus. He struggles even more to carry the cross. The guards push Jesus forward, and he stumbles.  

“Help him!” A guard yells at a man standing close to Jesus. The man lifts the wood onto his own shoulders, removing most of the object’s weight for Jesus. We continue until we get to the outskirts of Jerusalem’s walls. A small sign reads, “Golgotha: Place of a Skull.” The ground elevates up, like a hill, and Jesus collapses onto the ground. The man carrying the cross sets down the large piece of wood and goes to help Jesus stand. The guards dash over to Jesus and whip him to stand back up. They restrict the other man from going any closer. Jesus’s eyes roll back, and his mouth hangs open. The guards roll him onto the cross and tie ropes around his arms. A huge nail is driven into his right hand and then the left. Blood pours out and drips onto the ground. They cross his feet, and a nail is clobbered through them. Jesus screams out in pain. I move in closer to Mary, and she burrows her head into my shoulder. The sounds of her cries echo in my mind.

The cross is raised high in the air after a sign is placed over the head of Jesus. It reads, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  Blood seeps down Jesus’s face and down his body. The linen cloth wrapped around his waist is drenched in sweat and blood. A short man passes in front of us. He turns to me and says, “He can save others, but not himself.” He shakes his head with a grin on his face. I whisper a prayer out loud, “If this is what you want God, let it be done.” My whole body trembles, and Mary holds me tighter.

Are you not the Christ?,” someone yells from above. “Why don’t you get us down from here?” A man on a cross next to Jesus says.

“We deserve this, but he… does not,” another criminal, on another cross, speaks out, and then turns his head to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

“Today you will be with me in Paradise,” Jesus says. He could barely walk, but those words come out so clearly. The criminal’s words ring in my head. Jesus truly did nothing wrong. I throw my head down into my hands and cry.

“Why does this have to happen?” I whisper. I open my eyes and look up at Jesus, but the darkness never releases. My hands begin trembling even more. A clear vision comes to my mind of when I first met Jesus. I was in a bad place, but I remember when I first saw Jesus, I felt the need to go to him. He healed me of the demons that controlled me. He gave me my life back, so I knew I had to give everything up. I was no longer living for myself, but I am now living for God. I know God sent Jesus, and he wants me to share what I have seen.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus cries out into the air. My heart breaks. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” He’s gone. I know people are speaking, but I can not hear them. I realize I have not taken a breath since Jesus spoke his last words.

“No…” Mary runs up and sits below the cross. Her hands hold her face, and she cries. It begins to shake underneath me, and I hold on to the ground.

How did we get here? I look up to the huge cross towering over me, “Jesus. It shouldn’t have happened. Why?” I shout, “God, why did you take Him away right when He was saving lives?” A small, still voice comes to me, “This is only the beginning.”

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The sun rose up from behind the trees. A blue sky soars over us, and a very light breeze brushes against my face. My puffy eyes itch from my constant crying. Jesus has died, and there is nothing I can do about it. My stomach aches as I walk beside Salome and Mary, James the younger’s mother, as we head to Jesus’s tomb to anoint him with spices. The other women walk on the sides of us.

“Who will roll away the stone for us?” Salome asks as we turn the corner. A stone is laying beside an opened tomb. My heart thumps against my chest. This can’t be correct. We must have gone to the wrong tomb...right? No. I assure myself. This is definitely it. We peer inside only to find no body lying on the stone bed.

“Oh my. What has happened?” I ask. A tragic idea crosses my mind. Has someone stolen the sacred body of Jesus?

“Do not be alarmed,” a young man stands in the corner of the stone tomb. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.” Salome drops the spices in astonishment. He tells us to go and tell the disciples. Everything happens so quickly, but we immediately dash off to find the disciples. As we approach the city, I see Peter walking into a small courtyard. He presses against the wooden door.

“Peter, Peter!” I say. I hold up the side of my long tunic and bounce my feet over to him

“Hello Mary,” Peter gently says. He spots the concern in my eyes. “What has happened?” His dark eyes stare down at me in concern.

“It’s Jesus. He’s gone. An angel said he is resurrected!” I tell him, still doubting that fact myself.

Peter’s eyes get huge. His face turns white, and he says, “Someone stole the body? He’s gone?”

Salome runs up behind me. Panting, she says, “No, the angel said he is resurrected. Go see for yourself!” She adds a little smile to the end. A dash of belief, that Jesus is actually resurrected, springs into my mind. Peter takes off quickly, heading to the tomb, and I quickly follow.

Peter peers around the opening of the tomb and gasps, “You were right, Mary! He is no longer here. I have to tell the others!” A smile radiates across his face. I say goodbye to him as he heads back home, but I can not leave the tomb. I hold my hands up to my face and cry. Could Jesus really have resurrected or did someone steal the body? If so, who was that man inside the tomb? A small sound makes me jump. I glance to the tomb. Holding up the side of my long tunic, I glide over and step inside the tomb. My eyes are taken back by two figures sitting inside the tomb. They adjust, and I realize that the figures are not people, but they’re angels! The white light glistens off of their figures as one sits where Jesus’s head sat and the other where his feet laid.

“Woman, why are you weeping?” they ask me. I step farther into the tomb, still confused.

“They have taken away my Lord, an-” my voice breaks, and I wipe away a tear. “And I don’t know where they have laid him.” I turn around and notice a man standing outside the tomb.

“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” the man, who I am guessing is the gardener, asks. My hands wipe my eyes. An idea comes to my mind. This man could have easily taken Jesus’s body.

“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” I manage to say in between my cries. 

“Mary,” he says. I look up. Jesus stands in front of me. His body gleams and the wind blows his dark hair. Tears begin rolling from my eyes, and my heart explodes.

“Teacher!” I run to Jesus.  

“Do not cling to me, for I have not ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Before I know it, Jesus is gone. I stand in awe. I witnessed it. Jesus Christ resurrected.

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When the sun rose on the third day of Jesus’s death, I learned more than I ever have before. I realized that the death had to happen, so God could use His amazing power to defeat it. There is no denying the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, I witnessed it. I saw the miracles, the trial, the death, the burial, and after all that, the best part was that I saw the resurrection. Death is now defeated, because when the sun rose, the Son rose.

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When the Sun Rose was so much fun and eye-opening to write. I learned so much about Jesus’s life, trial, death, and resurrection. Starting off, I thought this book would be easy to write, and I would know everything, but quickly I found that was not the case. I spent hours researching and writing different sections of this book. I followed through the four books of the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and tried to make everything as Biblical based as possible. Most of the words of Jesus and other characters in When the Sun Rose, are direct quotations from the English Standard Version Bible.There are even some small details in the story that you may or may not have caught while reading. Here are some of them, along with Biblical references to occurrences in the story!

Page 1, Paragraph 2: “A sower went out to sow his seed,” Jesus surveys all the people sitting around Him. You can read more about this Matthew 13 or Luke 8. Out of all Jesus’s teachings, I chose this one because in Luke 8:2, it says that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and some other women were traveling with Jesus. They may have been at this teaching, and they may not have, but I have reason to believe they were!

Page 1, Paragraph 5: “Sorry. Excuse me. Hi! Sorry,” I break my way through the people. I finally make it down the crowd, and spot Mary a little bit farther up the hill than before, “Mary! Hi, how are you?” Jesus’s mother turns around. I wanted to add this little encounter with Mary Magdalene and the mother of Jesus, because in Luke 8:19 it says that Mary, Jesus’s mother, and Jesus’s brothers went to speak to Jesus. This is written after the seed story in Paragraph 2.

Page 2, Paragraph 6: My mind shifts back to the whole reason we are on this very journey now, Passover. You can read more about Passover in Exodus 12. Starting here (Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19:28, and John 12:12), I begin going story by story through the Gospels.

Page 4, Paragraph 7: As we arrive upon Bethany, Jesus shows us our places to stay. I am with Susanna and Joanna tonight. This part was very fun for me to write. I loved getting to describe the house that they stayed in. Doing the research to find how the houses looked and what would have been inside, was very cool! Matthew 21:17 says that Jesus stayed in Bethany, so I am supposing that his followers that traveled with him, stayed there too.

Page 6, Paragraph 5: As he begins teaching, an elder speaks out, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”You can read this in Matthew 21:23

Page 6, Last Paragraph: “Hi. I- I’m sorry to disturb you. I was just wondering if I...”This encounter Mary has with a young woman named Sapphira, likely did not really happen, but I would guess a lot of people left their lives to follow Jesus. This symbolizes two things. First, it symbolizes how Jesus’s apostles dropped everything they had to follow him, and it also symbolized how we forget about our old, boring life to follow Jesus.

Page 7, Paragraph 5: A small wooden weaved basket sits at a table in the corner of the room, the treasury. You can find this story in Mark 12:41 and Luke 21.

Page 7, Paragraph 7: “The meal was delicious,” Susanna thanks Martha for the food she provided to us. You can find the story about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38. This section also says that Mary and Martha had a dinner with Lazarus and Jesus. You can read about that in John 12. Mary and Martha are very interesting women, so I encourage you to do some research and reading on them!

Page 8, Paragraph 3: “Hi, John.” I welcome him inside.  I struggled writing this section at first, because I truly don’t know if the women were at the Last Supper, but I decided to make them not there, because I wanted to show how people reacted when they heard of the arrest of Jesus. I also encourage you to read about the Last Supper, which is in Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:7, and John 18.

The rest: For the remainder of the book, I tried to stay right on target with the Gospels. I used direct quotations from the Bible, so I would love for you to look them up! I would also encourage you to read at least the trial, death, and resurrection in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You will learn so much about that amazing time in history!

Like I said, I tried to make everything Biblical based. When I was confused about a certain story, I would try to look it up, but ultimately I found that the Bible had the most descriptive and accurate accounts.



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"Sometimes just living fearlessly can be one way to show non-believers how powerful God is." -Emilee