When we left our story our poor hero was still hanging on the cross, speaking to his mother, “Woman behold thy son,” he said. I mean like, lady look what you did to me.
Then to his brother, I think it was Simon, he said, “Brother behold thy mother.” Like, look out, she’ll do the same to you. I don’t think he got it, but his story is another story. Some four centuries later the Emperor Constantine made his mother a virgin again and sent her off to heaven.
According to the story in the Book, our hero agonized for 3 hours and then, with a loud cry, gave up the ghost. There was an earthquake, tombs broke open, all kinds of bad stuff happened and the thug on guard exclaimed, “He is the son of God.”
It gets a bit complicated here. Anther thug threw a lance at our hero and he bled and water flowed and a guy, Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of our hero, convinced the thugs our hero was dead ,took him down off the cross, wrapped him in white linen and placed him in a tomb carved in a rock and, to keep the secret safe, rolled another rock over the entrance.
There did exist at that time a Jewish sect, the Essenes, about whom many Greek and Roman historians wrote. They were kind of Jewish monks, without women, without money. They’d got the hell out of the cities because they were as filthy as our planet is today. They were gardeners. They made the desert bloom, Pliny said. They were also healers and often took in little boys who worked for months to prove their worth and joined them. I think our hero spent his missing years there, learned their ways, was a teacher, a good man, but one who could not live with the celibacy part of the deal. Sort of a man of the cloth without the cloths,” As Carl Sagan once said.
Let me tell you something about healers: before one can heal one must learn to heal oneself and our hero, according to ‘their’ Book, even says, “…physician, heal thyself..” Which physicians in those days couldn’t do any better than they do now.
Stashed safely in the tomb, with his girl friend Mary Magdalene, he recovers from his wound-you’d be amazed how quickly the body can heal itself and this was a strong, healthy young man. (He certainly wasn’t the creature in the pink nightgown religious artists paint floating off to heaven with a bleeding heart. Because this is often the image you see of our hero, Philip Roth called him, ‘the Pansy from Palestine’. That, of course, was back in the days when there was a Palestine.)
But I digress.
Three days later, he and Mary shoved back the rock, went outside, said goodbye to friends and he and his love got out of Dodge.
They left. Hand-in-hand. Married. Had lots of kids and, today, have something like 416 million descendants-I rounded that down-world wide.
(Well, something had to balance the one out of six creatures today who are descendants of the Genghis Khan.)