I've been reading lately. Old stuff. Really old stuff.The Bible, actually.
Ever read it? Me neither (not completely).
Anyway, I am reading this new translation called The Voice. If you don't know about The Voice you probably should not go to sleep tonight without owning it. And you certainly can't continue to claim that you don't identify with the Bible. If you like stories, you'll like this one. Or, you can keep avoiding it. I don't care.
If you do want to continue avoiding it, you should stop reading this now, because I am about to hit you with it.
Luke 24, I recently decided (this morning), is my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. It is, in my opinion, the only one that you really need to read. Without it (and it's counterparts in the other gospels, boring though they are), we could really throw the whole Bible out the window. It would make no real sense.
So, here is my paraphrase of that chapter (The Gospel According to Jacob):
Early Sunday morning, a couple days after Jesus was executed, a few of his friends went to the cave where he was buried to mourn and lay flowers. When they showed up, the big rock that covered the entrance to the cave was pushed away and Jesus' body was gone, and these two other guys were there, glowing.
The ladies that came to pay their respects totally freaked out and fell down.
The two guys that were there were like "What made you think Jesus was still going to be here? He's gone, you just missed him. He left like ten minutes ago."
The ladies were like "What?"
And the guys said "Yeah, didn't he tell you? He said he told you."
"Yeah, I mean, he told us that but, you know - they killed him."
"Yeah well, he's not dead anymore."
The ladies got up and went into town to find the rest of Jesus' gang. When they found them, they told them the whole story. But the guys were like "No way. They killed him on Friday, we were there."
One of the guys though, Peter, had to see for himself, so he took off, running to the grave. When he got there, it was just like they had said. Jesus was straight up gone.
Later that day, a couple of guys who were also friends with Jesus were walking outside of town and Jesus himself walked up and talked with them for a bit. They didn't recognize him though, so it was no big deal.
They talked for a long time and then Jesus came over to their house for dinner. Right when they were about to eat, Jesus took a roll and buttered it up, then he said a quick prayer and just disappeared. Totally gone, again.
The two guys immediately realized it was him because he was the only guy they knew who could just disappear like that. Then they were both like "Dude, I totally knew it was him the whole time, I just didn't want to freak you out."
After that they thought they should go tell the rest of the guys, because they felt really cool that Jesus showed up to them first and they wanted to brag about it. So they ran like seven miles into town to another guys house.
When they got there the rest of the gang had already been there a while, and the two guys started to tell their story, but the rest of them didn't believe it. Before they even finished talking, they looked up and there was Jesus, standing in the back of the room chillin'. And the two guys were like "YEAH!! I told you guys!!!" And whole room was half amazed half freaked out, because they all saw Jesus get brutally murdered like two days before.
Jesus came up to the front of the room and gave the two guys he almost ate with earlier a fist bump and they were like "Nice."
But the rest of the group was still totally freaked out and Jesus was like "Okay, everybody chill out, what's the big deal? I told you I was going to do this. Remember when we had that meeting a few days ago?"
And the guys were like "Yeah, but..."
And Jesus goes "Remember? I told you guys there were going to kill me? But that I was going to use my get-out-of-jail-free card and just totally come back to life?
"Well? Do you remember that?"
"Well I was being serious."
"Okay. But, like, they really did kill you. We watched. They were totally stabbing you and stuff."
"Yeah, I know." Jesus lifts up his shirt "Check this out, this is where they stabbed me a few times."
And they guys were like, "Holy crap, that's freaking crazy." And they still didn't believe it, because they literally watched him die.
And Jesus was like "Whatever, you guys got anything to eat?"
One of the guys threw Jesus an Oatmeal Creme Pie.
"Okay, sit down." Jesus said. "We need to talk about phase two. Now that I am back alive, I'm going to do some traveling. You guys are driving me crazy."
Then Jesus realized that the guys have absolutely no clue what is going on, so instead of spending forever explaining everything, he just telepathically makes them understand it. And all the guys get totally brain-zapped and then they are like "Ahhhh. Okay, continue."
Jesus continues. "So, like I've been telling you guys, I had to get killed and then come back to life. Now that I've done that, we can move on to phase two. I am going to take off for a while. You guys need to stay here and keep telling people the same things I've been saying all along, but now that this last part has happened, you have to add that. Got it?
And the guys were like "Wait, what?"
And Jesus says "Just keep doing what I have been doing. Tell everybody that they don't have to go to hell now."
"Because I took care of it."
"Yeah, so since you guys have seen all of this firsthand, you are really the only ones that can keep it going. You've got to tell everyone that they can stop worrying about everything because I got it covered. Now that we've gotten my death and resurrection over with, all the bad crap that people have done in their lives can be erased from God's memory, so that when you get to heaven, he will be like 'Whaddup? Come on in.' How cool is that?"
"Yeah, I know, me and God totally came up with it the other day."
"Yeah, that's what you can call it."
"Oh, yeah. Good call."
"Yeah. Ok, I better get going."
And then Jesus and the rest of the group walked out to a big hill, and Jesus said a little blessing, raised his hands up to the sky, and then shot off like a rocket into outer space.
All they guys high-fived and went back into town, jumping and punching each other.
That's what happened. Don't ask me, I don't understand it either, but I'll take it.