EDITOR’S NOTE: The fourth installment from the Daily Matzo, a rare extant parchment throw-away rag of 30 A.D. Jerusalem coffee shops, chronicles the unprecedented events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of one Joshua Ben Joseph, the Galilean boat builder, and coincidentally, the “Son of God.”
[Daily Matzo] Editor’s Preface of April 9, 30 A.D. : All Jerusalem is astir this morning, as the startling events of this week continue to amaze and bewilder the entire populace, along with the estimated one and a half million passover visitors to the city. We have attempted to keep loyal readers of this humble parchment aware of the tumultuous events of the developing story surrounding the Galilean prophet, Jesus of Nazareth, who was summarily tried, convicted, and executed through the official auspices of our Roman procurator, Pontious Pilate, this past Friday morning, following what knowledgeable observers have called an “embarrassing travesty” of failed justice for one of our citizens.
JERUSALEM — Words will never describe the event that has been reported in the environs of our holy city this morning. Unimpeachable sources are confirming that, not only is the crucified body of the Galilean prophet, Jesus, missing from the tomb of its internment, but the prophet has been reported alive and fully sensible by numerous witnesses.
We pick up the story with our sources inside the Sanhedrin, who have confirmed a group of chief priests gathered at the home of Caiaphas near midnight, Friday. They discussed their fears concerning the prophet’s assertions that he would “rise from the dead on the third day.” They appointed a committee to officially request a Roman guard be stationed at the tomb, to prevent his disciples from stealing the body by night, and proclaiming to the people that Jesus had risen from the dead.
“Did not this Jesus tell you, even in Galilee,
that he would die, but that he would rise again?”
Subsequently, Pilate did provide a guard of ten soldiers to accompany the ten Jewish guards. These soldiers rolled yet another stone before the tomb, and set the seal of Pilate on and around these stones, lest they be disturbed without their knowledge.
Witnesses confirm the tomb had indeed been sealed with two stones. The larger of these two stones is a huge circular milled stone, which moves in a groove chiseled out of the rock, to be rolled back and forth to open or close the tomb.
On condition of strict anonymity, a source tells Matzo the Jewish guards and the Roman soldiers, in the dim light of the morning, supposedly saw this huge stone begin to roll away from the entrance of the tomb, apparently of its own accord— without any visible means to account for such motion.
Our sources say the entire contingent of soldiers panicked, the Jews fleeing to their homes, the Romans to the fortress of Antonia. Reports are now circulating that the guards have not been disciplined— but in fact, have been paid bribes and have been instructed to say, “While we slept during the nighttime, his disciples came upon us and took away the body.”
Are we to believe the few fishermen, carpenters, and common folk who followed Jesus, overcame twenty soldiers of the Roman and Jewish guard?!?
Are we to believe all twenty soldiers are so derelict in their duty they ALL TOOK A NAP??
AT THE SAME TIME???
What— Are we a putz!?
But the story grows even more incredible.
Matzo has learned that, early this morning, Jesus was seen by— and spoke with— one Mary Magdalene, and four other women who were attempting to complete the proper burial preparations on the body of Jesus. (They had agreed amongst themselves to do so, after having secreted themselves near the tomb Friday and witnessing the haphazard internment of Jesus.)
Mary Magdalene, in an exclusive interview with Matzo, is adamant that she has in fact spoken with the risen Jesus, whom she refers to exclusively as “the Master,” on two separate occasions since approximately three-thirty o’clock this morning. Our exclusive interview:
A little before three o’clock this Sunday morning as the first signs of day began to appear in the east, five women, with an abundance of embalming lotions and linen bandages, started out for the tomb of Jesus. As we passed through the Damascus gate, we encountered a number of soldiers fleeing into the city more or less panic-stricken, and this caused us to pause for a few minutes; but when nothing more developed, we continued on.
When we arrived at the tomb, we were greatly surprised to see not one, but two stones rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, inasmuch as we had been wondering on the way out, who will help us roll away the stone? We set down our supplies, and stood looking upon one another in fear and amazement.
As we stood there, trembling with fear, I ventured around the smaller stone and dared to enter the open sepulchre. (She explains the tomb is on the hillside on the eastern side of the road, and it also faces toward the east.) By this hour there was just enough of the dawn to enable me to see where the Master’s body had lain and to discern that it was gone. I could see only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact; the covering sheet lay at the foot of the burial niche.
Standing in the doorway of the tomb for a few moments (I did not see distinctly when I first entered the tomb), and seeing that Jesus’ body was indeed gone, and seeing only the grave cloths, I cried out in anguish. The other women, having been on edge ever since meeting the panicky soldiers at the city gate, became terror-stricken and fled. And they did not stop until they had run all the way to the Damascus gate, where they realized they had deserted me at the tomb, and started back.
I was greatly afraid when I failed to find my sisters waiting when I came out of the tomb. After a long and fearful moment, I saw them approaching, and rushed up to them exclaiming: “He is not there— they have taken him away!” Going back to the tomb, all of us entered and saw that it was empty.
We at first conjectured that the body had been moved to another resting place. But we were at a loss to account for the orderly arrangement of the grave cloths; how could the body have been removed since the very bandages in which it was wrapped were left in position and apparently intact on the burial shelf?
As we puzzled over this, I looked to one side to see a silent and motionless stranger. Thinking he might be the caretaker of the garden, I said, “Where have you taken the Master? Where have they laid him? Tell us that we may go and get him.” But the stranger did not answer me. I began to weep.
Then spoke this stranger to us, saying, “Whom do you seek?” I said: “We seek for Jesus who was laid to rest in Joseph’s tomb, but he is gone. Do you know where they have taken him?”
Then he said : “Did not this Jesus tell you, even in Galilee, that he would die, but that he would rise again?” These words startled all of us, but this figure was so changed that we, I, could not yet recognize him with his back turned to the dim light. As we pondered his words, he addressed me with a familiar voice, saying, “Mary.” And when I heard that word— so well-known to me, and filled with sympathy and affection, I knew instantly it was the voice of the Master, and I rushed to kneel at his feet; I said, “My Lord, and my Master!”
And then all of my sisters recognized it was the Master who stood before us— in glorified form— and they too knelt before him.
I sought to embrace his feet, but Jesus said: “Touch me not, Mary, for I am not as you knew me in the flesh. In this form will I tarry with you for a season before I ascend to the Father. But go, all of you, now and tell my apostles— and Peter— that I have risen, and that you have talked with me.”
After we had somewhat recovered from the shock of our amazement, we hastened back to the city and to the home of — well, I cannot tell you— but where we related to the apostles all that had happened to us; but they were not inclined to believe us. They thought we had seen a vision, but when I repeated the words Jesus had spoken to us, and when Peter heard his name, he rushed out, followed closely by John, to see these things for themselves.
Again I repeated this story to the other apostles, but they would not believe; and they would not go to find out for themselves as had Peter and John.
I returned to the tomb, downcast and despairing at the apostles, who would not believe me. My heart longed to be back where I had heard the Master’s voice.
When I arrived back at the tomb, Peter was saying the body had been stolen by enemies of Jesus, but John reasoned that the grave could not have been left in so orderly a fashion— and how to explain that the bandages had been left behind, so obviously intact?
I lingered at the tomb after John and Peter had left. And in a moment, the Master again appeared to me, saying, “Be not doubting; have the courage to believe what you have seen and heard. Go back to my apostles and again tell them that I have risen, that I will appear to them, and that presently I will go before them into Galilee as I promised.” I immediately did as the Master instructed, but again they would not believe me; they were filled with fear.
My sisters had gone to the home of Nicodemus and told them what had happened. Some of those gathered there felt the Jews [the priests?] must have taken the body, but Joseph [of Arimathea] hurried out to see the tomb, particularly the grave cloths; and they were the last to so view the sepulchre, for the captain of the temple guards arrived at the tomb at half past seven o’clock and removed the grave cloths.
We at the Matzo are not unaware of the strange and unbelievable nature of the events we report, but we do so that you might decide these things for yourselves.
The story even now continues to unfold, and despite many threats now being directed at our coverage of this story, we intend to tell the story despite all risks. Liberty is indeed dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.