The Unwelcome Visitor
This is my eighth entry from my upcoming booklet, “Our Darkness, His Light” and raised the question that changed the world, “What if a dead man could come back from the dead?”
THE UNWELCOME VISITOR
A knock at the door. Martemeus looked up from the darkness of the room. The knock came again, insistent, unrelenting. Fear filled his heart and he shuddered. Outside, the sky hung like clotted blood. Rain cascaded from swollen clouds, and the earth trembled as if in labor. He did not want to open the door. He did not want to embrace the unknown. He huddled closer to the meager light of his lamp, pulling his cloak about him against the cool, damp air.
Who was at the door? A friend? Unlikely. A stranger? Perhaps. A foe? Certainly. In these times, to answer the knock at the door was folly. It might let in death. Rap, rap, rap.
“Martemeus, let me in.” A faint voice. He glanced up from his corner at the rough hewn wood of the door. Thunder shook the walls again. Could it be? Impossible! He stood shakily and crossed to the door. His hand, shaking with fear, reached to the latch.
The door swung open on a gust of rain-filled wind and she stood there. White linen draped her figure, hanging from her head, wet with rain. Her face gleamed in the lamp light with moisture and she stepped into the warmth of his home.
“Martemeus.” Her voice was soft.
Martemeus fell back away from the door, stumbled on the soft rug, fell against the table. The lamp light guttered in the wind and the room was cast into stark shadows. Lightning spilled in through the door, knife edged, cutting away the blackness.
“Sara?” He mumbled, his hand to his mouth.
She moved past him to the lamp and orange light filled the room again. “Close the door,” She said.
He shook his head in confusion as he shut the door against the wind and rain. “I do not understand.”
She turned to him, crossing the dirt floor gracefully. The white linen fell away from her head and he saw her face, soft, radiant. Her eyes glowed with life, her cheeks ruddy.
“I came back to tell you.” She reached out to touch his cheek.
Martemeus pulled away fearfully, his fingers touching the spot on his cheek where her warm hand had caressed. “How can this be?” He whispered, feeling the hardness of the door bite into his back.
“I cannot stay long.” She came nearer. “Why are you hiding?”
“Hiding?” He managed through numb lips. “Have you seen what is going on out there?” He motioned toward the door.
“We all had to run. Hide. There were soldiers everywhere. They would have killed us.” Martemeus stopped, shame silencing his rambling. He pushed past her and went to the only window in the room. He unlatched the bar and allowed the wooden panels to swing inward. The rain had slackened, the thunder abating. Across the wind swept streets, clouds threw hesitant shadows. He squinted into the wind toward a distant hill that overshadowed the city. “He’s up there. Now. Nailed to that cross. What was I suppose to do? I’m not one of the twelve but I followed Him. I can’t fight all of Rome.”
Her hands came to rest on his shoulders, warm, reassuring. “I came to tell you there is hope.” Martemeus turned to her, and her face was a plane of murky shadows. “I came to tell you there is more. Do not hesitate to believe that one can rise from the dead. Do not give up on Him. He will not give up on you.”
Martemeus’ heart pounded and tears swelled in his eyes. “But, I let him down! All of His followers did. Even His disciples.”
Her smile warmed the room. “There is forgiveness, Martemeus. You will see. Forgiveness and hope.”
She turned and started for the door, casting a lingering look around the room. “You’ve let this house get filthy, Martemeus and I’ve been gone only two weeks. But, do not despair. There are more important things in life. And, in death.”
Martemeus ran to her and stopped as she opened the door. Outside, the wind had ceased, the rain no longer fell, and sunlight streamed in the alleyway. “Remember that I love you.” She whispered, reaching out to touch his lips with hers. “And, there is hope.”
She turned and started down the alleyway, leaving him alone in the doorway. With tears in his eyes, Martemeus watched her begin the long walk back to her tomb and clung to the knowledge that death, this day, had been forever defeated. Would He rise again?
Matthew 27:52-53 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.