- We went into the chamber: it was empty. Who took the body away? We wondered
if it could have been Josef. It was possible. It was I who ran to him.
If I hadn't been in such a hurry I would have taken the burial cloth with
me. When I returned Yochanan had already folded it and put it under his
coat. I never saw it after that. Later I heard that it had been found and
bore an imprint of his face.
Although it was so early, Josef was already up and he wasn't alone:
Nicodemus was with him.
I saw the rabbi, he spoke to me! But the tomb is empty. Did you take the
We? No, of course not.
Nicodemus said: You saw him, but not with those, your eyes, but with
Do you mean that I dreamed it?
Oh no, you really saw him. Whoever is born of the flesh and sees with the
body's eyes cannot see him. Who, however, is reborn from the spirit sees the
spiritual with spirit-eyes.
But where is the body?
You still don't understand: it is no longer there. The physical matter has
been completely transformed into spiritual matter. So stop looking for the
At that moment it occurred to me that I still had my third flask of royal
oil. There was no longer any use for it. That seemed to be a foolish
thought, but then I was aware that my oil now also belonged to another
reality, and that from then on I would see everything with new eyes. HE had
shown me the path to the other reality.
Josef said: What will you do now?
The rabbi told me that we should go to Galilee, that he will be there.
Do it, go soon, but with care. I have heard that in the Kidron valley a nest
of armed men has been organized. Apparently Bar Abba is there preparing a
I ran back to the tomb. Josef didn't take the body and Nicodemus said we
should stop looking for it.
Yes, said Yochana, it must be so: the body no longer exists. Didn't we see
on the Tabor how his body transforms itself into light?
Shimon said: You two keep at it, don't you? Always thinking. Why not take it
as it is: HE lives, what more do you want? Come now, come, HE is waiting for
Yes, go, I said, I'll come shortly, I must tell all the others, as the rabbi
told me to do. Yochanan, wait for me at Veronica's.
Where would I find them though? Shimon knew, for he had been with them when
Yehuda ran away to hang himself.
They were well hidden. Although they must have recognized my signal, they
didn't open right away. I knocked and knocked. Finally Thomas's voice: Who's
there? They were squatting in the back room. All together like frightened
rabbits. I had to laugh.
You heroes! I said. There you sit and tremble and feel like orphans.
What are you talking about? You suddenly appear here as though you had a
message for us.
That's right. HE lives!
I saw him.
In your dreams. Women's twaddle.
Women's twaddle? Who was with him under the cross? Who? You ran like mice
into your holes. Und now: Who dared to go to the tomb? Women. And you hide
here and give up. But HE lives! Believe it or not. But I will tell you what
he told me to do: Tell the others that you have seen me, and tell them: he
is waiting for them in Galilee. And now do what you want. As far as I'm
concerned you can stay squatting here.
I ran to Veronica's to prepare for the trip.
After a while someone knocked the signal. Andrew, Philippos, Thomas and all
the others, out of breath: We saw him! He came through the closed door or
through the wall, suddenly he was standing in the room and said: Don't be
afraid. It is I.
Well! I said. Do you believe me now?
Yochanan, who had not yet seen him, said: What did he look like?
Like before, and yet not. It was him and it wasn't but it was. And Thomas
said to him: You have stolen his looks and his voice, ghost! He smiled, it
was his smile, we recognized that, and he said: Thomas, Thomas, you are one
of those who only believes what he can touch. So come here and touch me. Put
your finger in this wound. Thomas was afraid, repelled by touching, but he
did it anyway.
It's you, Rabbi!, he cried, and he fell to his knees.
Only later did he wonder about it, for he had touched the breast wound,
which was on the naked body, through his garment and the garment was as if
it wasn't there and the wound was crusted over but not hard and like
something real, yet not, it was like something made of different matter and
yet real. Thomas said: like solid light. That explained nothing, but one
thing was certain: it was no ghost.
I thought of Nicodemus's words, and I said: One can see a spirit-body with
spiritual eyes, but touch it?
But no one heard me, they were much too excited over what was happening. I
wanted to leave. I was calmer again, so I could get ready for our trip to
Galilee. Yeshua's mother stayed with Veronica in Yerushalayim.
We left the next morning. Each group chose a different route. We didn't
stand out: pilgrims going home. I went with Shulamit, Thomas and Yochanan.
Naturally we spoke about what we had experienced and we tried to make the
incomprehensible a bit more accessible. We compared our experiences of one
who had returned from the kingdom of the dead, we doubted our observations,
we weighed the possibility of illusion, but always came back to the same
conclusion: We had witnessed him. In any case: he lives. Whether seen or
heard was a question in itself. Did we see him IN US or OUTSIDE us? Had we
transferred his image in us, outside us, so to speak? Or was he in fact a
reality outside us? Could we see him as an outside-us, because he was an
We talked that way and understood nothing, and Shulamit said: Stop racking
your brains. Is it so important how it was, isn't it much more important and
only important how we should continue now without him?
Yes, that is our question: Will we exist now without him?
After the first day's journey we came to a village on the northern border of
Judea. Shulamit had relatives there. She asked for lodgings. She came back:
They won't take us in. Why not? No explanation. The doors are closed.
Was it already starting? Didn't the rabbi tell us in advance: They will
hate, despise, persecute, kill you because of me.
All right, let's go on, let's go over the border.
There was a hostel in the next village. There were already returning
pilgrims there. Of what did they speak? Of people they had met, of business,
of the feast.
I asked a woman: Did anything special happen in the city?
What should have happened?
Wasn't someone crucified?
Three of them: Rebels. What do I know?
Then I asked a man outside the house. He was a Galilean.
Did you hear about that rabbi whom they crucified?
Yes, I did.
What did they accuse him of?
Inciting the people.
Is it true?
Yes and no. I heard his speak a few times. You could understand him so, or
How so or so?
Frank Thomas Smith