Were You There?

By San Antonio Rose

Author’s Note:  I’ve used Simon Peter’s full name to distinguish him from Peter Tork.  Since last names hadn’t been invented yet, people used other descriptions to differentiate between people with the same name, hence "Peter the Fair" and "Michael the Younger" (Micky).  I didn’t use Robert Michael or George Michael because those are more Germanic names that wouldn’t be used in first-century Israel.  I tried to keep events in order, but working with four different accounts (which are less concerned with order than with information) made it rather hard sometimes.  If I understand correctly, John had friends in high places; thus (I think) he was influential in persuading Pilate to let the disciples have Christ’s body.  Okay, so Joseph being rich didn’t hurt, either; still, I think John went with Joseph and Nicodemus to claim the body.

Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

One Saturday morning in early April 1968, Mike Nesmith answered the door as usual.  "Hey, Bobby!" he smiled.

The postman smiled back at the lanky Texan.  "Hi, Mike.   Quite a stack today."  He handed Mike a large handful of mail.   "Have a good day!"

"You too."  Mike closed the door and strode purposefully back to the kitchen table.

Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, who had been lounging in the living room, followed him, and Peter Tork left his Cream of Root Beer Soup long enough to join the others for mail call.  Mike plopped into a chair and started sorting mail.

"Let’s see," he began as usual.  "Bill… bill… ad for Micky… letter for Davy… bill… bill… card for Mick… letter for Mick… letter for Davy… letter for Peter… letter for me… that’s it."

"Groovy!  I never get mail!"  Peter smiled.

"Wow! Two letters in one day!" Micky exclaimed as Davy collected his mail.  "That’s unusual."

"‘Ey, one’s from me sistah!" Davy smiled.   "‘Ope it’s good news."

Everyone drifted back to their original positions and their own thoughts.

Peter looked at his envelope as he walked back to the kitchen. No return address, just a Star of David.  Hmm.  He found a knife and neatly slit the top open.  Inside was a torn piece of paper that looked like part of a picture. He flipped it over and slowly started reading the message:

                                        Peter Halsen Thorkelson:

You search for peace in all the wrong places. Because you lack wisdom, you are the more deceived by the tricks of the enemy. To gain wisdom and find true peace, complete this picture.

Huh? Peter frowned.

Mike opened the bills and sighed.  Well, at least we don’t owe quite as much this month.  Still, it’ll be a stretch to pay it all.   What’s this?  His hand fell on an envelope identical to Peter’s that bore his name instead.  Inside, he also found a picture with a message on the back:

                                        Robert Michael Nesmith:

The strains of leadership can be great. To find the greatest source of help, complete this picture.

Do what?  And who wrote this?  Mike’s brows knitted in confusion.

Davy read his sister’s letter first.  The description of his father’s condition was brief—"He isn’t getting worse"—and the rest of the letter full of anecdotes about nieces and nephews, but Davy wasn’t fooled. ‘E isn’t gettin’ bettah, and they’re all worried.   Man, I wish I could ‘elp.  ‘Ello, this looks mysterious.

                                        David Thomas Jones:

You seek love, but the love you seek is the wrong kind. You also worry about your father. Complete this picture to find true love and a physician who can heal your father completely and quickly.

Davy’s eyes widened. True love?  ‘Ow can this do that?

Micky flipped through the music supply catalog, failing to find any drum equipment he needed.  The card was from a distant cousin, wishing him a happy belated birthday. How does she find these cards?  They’re so funny! he laughed to himself as he opened the other envelope.

                                        George Michael Dolenz:

You are using the talents God has given you to make others happy, which is admirable. Yet one thing you lack. Complete this picture to learn what it is.

"Mike?  Mike, look at this."  Micky walked back into the kitchen.

"You got one, too?" Mike asked, looking up from his own message.

"Is yours like mine?" Peter frowned, joining them.

"This is weird," Davy remarked, reading as he walked.

"Hold on," Mike replied.  "If all four of us got one of these, and we each have a right angle, then we should be able to accomplish our various assignments at the same time.  Here, flip ‘em all over to the picture side, and we’ll fit ‘em together."

The others complied.  They saw the completed picture, a view of Jerusalem, for only a moment before a shining fog surrounded them.  When it cleared, the four of them looked at each other in surprise.  They were clad in biblical costumes, surrounded by a crowd shouting something in a language they didn’t understand.

"What’s this for?" Peter asked, holding up a palm branch he found in his hand.

"They’re throwing them on the road," Micky reported, looking around them.

"Well, when in Rome," Mike shrugged, finding his way toward the road and placing his branch neatly with the others that were already there.  His roommates followed suit.  Suddenly they found themselves able to understand the language being spoken around them.

"Hosanna!"

"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"

"Hosanna to the Son of David!"

"Who is this?" Micky asked a man next to him.

"Yeshua, the prophet from Nazareth," the man answered.

Yeshua?

His mental question was answered as his attention was drawn to a small procession coming toward them.  The shouts grew louder as the men approached the spot where the Monkees stood.  One man, who seemed to be the aforementioned Yeshua, sat on a year-old donkey, smiling and waving.  As he drew nearer, Micky saw something in the man’s eyes that explained everything.

Jesus.  That’s what he meant.  Yeshua must be the Hebrew for Jesus.  Wow…this must be the Triumphal Entry!  Groovy!   He joined in the shouting.  "Hosanna!"

Davy jumped to much the same conclusion.  "‘Ey, Mike!   That’s Jesus!"

Mike’s eyes widened.  "That explains it!  That colt can’t be more’n a year old.  Doesn’t make sense that anyone but the Son of God would be able to ride a critter that young."

"Hosanna!  Hosanna!" Peter yelled, jumping up and down like an excited child.  "Hi, Jesus!"

Jesus smiled and waved as He passed, making eye contact with each person.  When He reached the spot where the Monkees stood, each of them felt the exact same thing:  He knows me.

Peter stopped bouncing and looked at the procession as it moved on toward the gates of Jerusalem.  Something in Christ’s eyes had bothered him.

Micky noticed Peter’s concerned expression.   "What’s wrong, Pete?"

"I dunno.  I just saw something in His smile, like He was happy to be here but sad because of something He has to do or something like that.   It’s hard to explain."

"Don’t worry, Petah," Davy replied, taking Peter’s hand comfortingly.  "‘E can take care of ‘Imself.  Nothing we could do about it, anyway."

"C’mon, Peter," Mike smiled.  "Let’s go into the city an’ find out what’s goin’ on."

"Okay, Michael."

The Americans and the Englishman followed the crowd into Jerusalem.   As they neared the Temple, they could hear loud shouts and the sound of things being thrown about.

"It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’" they heard Someone yell, followed by a loud crash as a table overturned.  "But you have made it a den of robbers!"

Micky and Mike edged closer to see the cause of the commotion.   Being so much taller than everyone else, they could see over people’s heads fairly well, but a pillar blocked their view.  Davy followed Mike’s wool hat, which had miraculously made the trip, and Peter followed Davy.

"See?" Davy whispered to Peter.  "I am not too short.  You three are too tall."  Indeed, most of the people in the crowd were about the same height as Davy.  Peter chuckled at this good-natured tease.

"SHH!" Micky hissed.  "Cool it!  You’re missin’ the action!"

Davy found a step on which to stand, then gasped when he saw what was happening.  Jesus was single-handedly driving out the people who sold goods in the temple courtyard and unfairly exchanged money.  The fire in His eyes was enough to silence any protest.

"If I didn’t know better, I’d think He was Superman," Peter whispered solemnly to Davy, who stifled a giggle.

Mike glared at them.  "This ain’t funny, you two!" he rumbled quietly.

"Wasn’t me," Peter replied quietly, eyes wide.   "It wasn’t supposed to be a joke."

After the commotion died down, Jesus addressed himself to the crowd briefly.  Micky and Peter listened with rapt attention, and their friends were only slightly less captivated.  Long before they tired of listening, Jesus and his disciples headed back out of the city toward Bethany.  The Monkees stood looking at each other quizzically for a moment.

"Well, come on!" Micky cried after a pause.   "Let’s go to Bethany!"

"Micky, we haven’t been invited," Mike warned.

"And I don’t wanna get on ‘Is bad side," Davy added, shivering at the thought of recent events.

"I bet a bunch of those other people weren’t invited, either," Micky retorted.

"Please, Mike, please?" Peter pleaded, puppy eyes on full force.

"Oh, all right," Mike relented.  "Let’s go."

"Thanks, Mike!" Peter and Micky yelled at the same time.

Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before…

The Monkees spent most of the next week following Jesus and his disciples around Jerusalem, learning all they could from the Carpenter from Galilee.   They watched, amazed, as a fig tree withered at His very word; heard Him answer every question put to Him in such a way that his opponents were left speechless; puzzled over the meanings of parables and prophecies; marveled at a voice from heaven (John 12:28); and generally enjoyed meeting so many historical figures.  Yet somehow, in spite of their fascination, there was a gathering sense of doom.  Peter felt it most.

"Petah, come on," Davy pleaded Wednesday night.  Peter sat outside Mary and Martha’s house, moping.  "We’ve gotta get some rest.  Tomorrow night’s the Passoveh, ye know."

Peter sighed and pushed his headdress back from his shoulder.   "Davy, I’m scared.  Something terrible is going to happen.  I feel it."

"I know, Pete.  I know."  Mike sat down beside Peter.  "I feel uneasy, too.  It’s like I know what’s gonna happen, but I can’t remember what I read.  But you cain’t let it get ya down, bud!  Worryin’ about it won’t make anything better."

Peter didn’t seem to be very encouraged, so Micky started singing "Sometime in the Morning" very softly.  Davy joined in on harmony, and Peter was smiling again by the end of the song.

"Thanks, guys," he said softly.  "I think I can sleep now."

"If you can’t, I’ll gladly sing ya ‘Pillow Time,’" Micky volunteered with a ghost of a smile.

Laughing quietly, the four went inside and found a place to sleep.

In remembrance of Me…

Mike awoke to find several of the disciples gone into Jerusalem to make preparations for the Passover.  His own companions were still sleeping soundly.

Lazarus, whom Jesus had recently raised from the dead, saw that Mike was awake and came over to speak to him.  "Good morning, Michael!  I hope you rested well."

"Yes, I did, thanks," Mike replied groggily, pulling on his wool hat and thinking for the third time that week how awkward it was sleeping in a Bible costume.

"I am glad.  Peter the Fair seems worried about something."

"I think he is, but he can’t really tell what.  Where is everyone?"

"They’ve gone to prepare for the Passover.  I think Jesus has special plans for Himself and the Twelve."

"Just the Twelve?"

"I believe so."

Mike frowned.  "Great.  Where are we supposed to celebrate the Passover?" he asked, indicating himself and his sleeping bandmates.

"I was just going to ask the same thing.  If you have no other plans, my sisters and I would be honored if you four would eat the Passover meal here with us.  Several other disciples, most of whom you do not know, have places in Jerusalem to celebrate, but I doubt they would allow strangers like you to join them."

"If you’re sure it’s no trouble…"

"No, no!  In fact, Martha suggested it.  Martha, the one who was too busy preparing dinner for our Lord to listen to the things He had to say.   If she thinks it’s a good idea, I’m sure no one else would mind."

"Okay.  Thanks, Lazarus."  Mike smiled, briefly entertaining the thought that Martha’s eagerness to have them stay might be attributed to Davy-itis.  He then turned his attentions to waking Micky, who lay snoring beside him.

The rest of the day was spent in frenzied preparation.  Peter spent a fruitless half-hour trying to find balloons and streamers at the shops in Bethany.   Mike had to remind Micky twice that they were looking for matzos, not pretzels.   Davy made himself useful by assisting Martha and Mary in the kitchen and found himself inadvertently humming "Mary, Mary" while he worked.

At long last, the Passover began.  The four Westerners enjoyed the solemn ceremony as much as they could under the circumstances, but Peter and Micky secretly wished they could be in Jerusalem with the Twelve.  They didn’t want to miss a moment of this most historic event.

As if he could read their minds, Mike whispered to Peter after the seder, "We’ll go to Jerusalem tomorrow.  I promise."

Peter nodded.  "Thanks, Mike."

The Monkees settled down for a more or less restful night.

Look out, here comes tomorrow…

The moment they entered Jerusalem, Peter’s worst fears were realized.  There was an air of animosity throughout the city; people everywhere were arguing.  Mike literally ran into Bartholomew as they neared the city’s center.

"OH!  Michael!  You scared me!" Bartholomew gasped.

"Sorry, man," Mike apologized quickly.   "What’s goin’ on?"

"Come with me.  I’ll tell you as we go.   They’ve arrested Jesus."

The Monkees looked at each other in horror.

"No…" Peter breathed.

"Wha’?" Davy gasped.

"I can’t believe it…" Mike sighed.

"They got him…" Micky moaned.

After another moment, Mike drew a deep breath.  "Let’s go."

As they hurried through the city streets, Bartholomew filled them in on what had happened at the Passover meal and later in Gethsemane.  Micky’s chest hurt from heartache by the time they reached Pilate’s palace; Peter was almost in tears.

Suddenly, as the reached the end of a street that led into a courtyard, Mike and Bartholomew stopped short.  They had heard shouts growing louder for several minutes, and now they found themselves on the edge of a large, angry crowd.  Mike waved his friends into the safety of the shadows of a nearby building. From there, they could just see the balcony where Pilate sat on the Judge’s Seat.  Jesus stood on one side of the Roman governor, looking more deadpan and far more regal than Mike ever could.  Beside him stood a rough-looking character who seemed rather complacent about the whole affair.

The crowd quieted enough for Pilate to speak.  "Which one of these do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?"

The men in the shadows held their breath, hoping against hope to hear the Name.

"Barabbas!" came the collective response.

"What shall I do, then, with this Jesus?"

"Crucify Him!"

"Why?  What crime has he committed?"

"CRUCIFY HIM!" The crowd shouted louder, including threats against Pilate if he did not comply with their wishes.

Tears streaked Peter’s cheeks.  Micky and Mike looked at each other, wide-eyed.

"But they can’t do that!" Davy exploded, his breath coming raggedly.  "‘E’s innocent!  They can’t sentence ‘Im to die for not doin’ anythin’ wrong!"

Pilate stood and washed his hands.  "All right. But I am innocent of this man’s blood."

"Let his blood be on us and on our children!" someone shouted in reply.

Micky thought he saw Pilate sigh as he waved a commanding hand.   Soldiers grabbed Jesus’ arms roughly and dragged Him away; other soldiers led Barabbas out to freedom.  Mike started when he realized that the mob was breaking up and heading their way.

"Let’s split!" he yelled.

In a typical Monkees panic, they ran around in circles for a moment before staring to head toward the city gates and the safety of Bethany.  Naturally, they got separated.  Too scared and heartbroken to think clearly, each attempted to get out of the city on his own.

Down the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day…

Micky got turned around right at the beginning.  Lost in the maze of streets, he ended up traveling almost halfway around Jerusalem before he saw anything he recognized.  Then he found himself being pushed along by the crowd.  When at last he reached a street leading out of the city, a Roman soldier stopped him before he could dash out and run to safety.

Mike and Bartholomew somehow managed to stay together.   Bartholomew caught sight of Thomas in the crowd, and Thomas was able to lead them to the other disciples.

"This way," Simon Peter said after looking around a moment.   "They’ll use that road over there when they bring him out."

The disciples nodded and followed Simon Peter’s lead.  The women with them sometimes had to be supported as they walked because of their intense weeping and wailing.

"Where are your companions, Michael?" John asked Mike.   "I mean, David might be easy to lose, since he is much the same height as everyone else.  But Michael the Younger and Peter the Fair would be easily spotted."

"I wish I knew," Mike confided.  "We got separated right at the beginning.  I only hope they don’t get killed."

Davy just ran.  He had no clue as to where he was going.   Every exit was blocked, though, so he practically ran himself ragged.

"I think this might be the only way out," a man with two small boys informed him.  He looked equally anguished.

"Right.  I’ll go wi’ you, then," Davy replied.   They hurried along together.

"What’s your name?" one of the boys asked.

"David."

The man introduced himself.  "Simon of Cyrene.  These are my sons, Alexander and Rufus."

"‘Ello, lads." Davy smiled in spite of himself.

Simon and Davy fought their way through the crowds, only to be stopped on the edge of the street.  Davy sighed in exasperation; would they never get out of this city?

"Stay close to me," Simon reminded his sons.

"Yes, Father," they replied.

Peter ended up making a complete circle around Pilate’s mansion.   On the verge of hysteria, he collapsed in the shadows along one wall of the courtyard.

"MIIIIIKE!" he wailed.

He sat there for what seemed like ages.  Suddenly, a door on the ground level opened and two soldiers came out.  Peter scuttled deeper into the shadows.

"Come on, then," one soldier snarled.  "We haven’t got all day."

Grumbling, a man carrying a cross trudged out into the courtyard.   Another followed him, more sad than angry.  Peter caught his breath when a third figure stumbled out into the light.  His back was laid open from a whipping, a crown of thorns forced down on his head, face bleeding from having his beard plucked out.   Peter’s fears were confirmed when the man looked straight at him.

It was Jesus.

"Move along, now," the first soldier growled.   "Look lively; it’s your last chance."

Slowly, they headed down a narrow street, accompanied by more soldiers.   Fresh tears ran down Peter’s face as he watched them move away.  When at last they were gone, Peter found his legs.  He went over to touch a pool of blood where Jesus had been standing, then followed them at a distance.

I just can’t understand why they’ve treated Him this way…

Micky had just barely caught sight of Mike’s wool hat about a hundred yards closer to the gate on the other side of the street when the shouting he heard around him grew louder.  He turned back toward the city and gasped when he saw the procession.  His heartache and shock when he saw what had been done to Jesus was as great as Peter’s.  He scarcely noticed Peter’s shadowy figure running behind them and being shoved rudely into the crowd by a soldier.

Davy, too, had spotted the wool hat and Micky’s curly hair above the crowd.  He and Simon had wound up between them on Mike’s side of the street.   His anger at the insults being shouted at the men coming toward him grew unchecked for several minutes.  Suddenly, he saw Jesus, and his anger turned to deep grief.

Mike gasped when he saw what had been done to the Man from Galilee.   Levi, who was squeamish, nearly fainted.  John comforted Mary, and Susanna fell heavily against Mike, weeping.  Stunned, Mike was barely able to support her; he wanted to collapse himself under the heavy burden of sorrow.

This blood is for you.

Jesus stumbled a few feet from where Davy and Simon stood.  Voices around them both cheered and wailed.  The guards shouted at Him to get up, but He could not carry the heavy wooden cross any longer.  Mike wanted to leave Susanna and run to help, but a soldier blocked his path.  Micky, too, attempted to break free and come to Christ’s aid; a centurion cuffed him on the jaw, sending him flying into a group next to him.  He apologized hurriedly and went back to his place at the front of the crowd.

Suddenly, a guard came up to Simon.  "Come along, you!" he roared.  "Carry the man’s cross."

"Um…" Simon started to protest, but the soldier rested his hand testily on his sword hilt.  "Alexander, you and Rufus stay here with David, okay?"

"Yes, Father," they replied, quickly hugging Simon.

The guard pulled Simon roughly into the street.  Alexander and Rufus clung to Davy’s hands.  Davy drew the boys toward him, putting his arms around their shoulders protectively.

Simon picked up the cross, which had practically pinned Jesus to the ground.  Jesus whispered His thanks and struggled to His feet again.  As they moved on, Davy thought he caught a slight movement in Jesus’ right hand.

Rufus saw it, too.  "What does that mean?" he asked Davy, repeating the sign Jesus had made.

"I think it means ‘I love you,’" Davy replied, fighting to keep his voice even.

Oh, how could it be a crime that He gave us His love?

Mike could hardly watch as the procession neared where the disciples were standing.  Tears streaked his sideburns, and he struggled to keep himself and Susanna from fainting altogether.  It chilled him to the core to see the marks of the savage beating Jesus had been given.

"Micky!"

Micky turned to see Peter running toward him.  "Peter! There you are!"

"Oh, Micky!"  Tears streaked through a red smudge on Peter’s cheek.  "I’ve been so scared!"  He wrapped Micky in a desperate, bone-crushing hug.

"OOF!  Hey, man, it’s okay.  I’ve found Mike, and I think Davy’s somewhere nearby."  Micky returned the hug, then looked more closely at Peter’s face.  "Peter, that smudge on your face.  Is that blood?"

Peter nodded tearfully.  "His blood.  I saw Him when they brought Him out and when they left, I saw this spot and I touched it…"   His voice wavered.  "His sacred blood…"  He started sobbing.

Micky’s heart broke anew as he hugged Peter again.  "I know, man.  I know.  It hurts me, too."  He felt a tear run down his own cheek.  They stood there crying for a moment before Micky finally regained his voice.  "C’mon, Pete.  They’re letting people into the street now.  Let’s go find Mike before the crowd gets too thick."

Davy blinked back tears as he watched the crowd begin filing toward the gate.  He was too shocked to move until he caught sight of Micky and Peter coming down the street.

"C’mon, lads," he said.  Taking their hands, he made his way toward his taller friends.

"There’s Davy," Peter sniffled.

"Davy!" Micky called.

Davy was with them in a moment.  "‘Ey, fellas, this is Alexandah and ‘is brotheh Rufus.  They ‘ave to stay wi’ me till their dad gets back.  ‘E’s the one carryin’ the cross."

"Hi." Micky took Alexander’s hand.  "I’m Micky, and this is Peter."  Peter grinned shakily, tears pooling in his dimples.

"Shalom," Alexander and Rufus replied shyly.

Davy drew a deep breath.  "Can ye see Mike anywhere?"

Micky stretched his neck and looked around for a moment.   "Yeah, there he is.  He’s kinda hunched over ‘cause he’s tryin’ to keep some chick from collapsing.  I think it’s Susanna, but I can’t see her face.  Man, this whole thing is a stone drag."

The boys giggled at the 1960s slang.

Mike was indeed still trying to keep Susanna from falling as the disciples walked slowly out of the city.  His friends, though not walking quickly, were moving faster than the disciples and were thus able to catch up with Mike fairly easily.  Peter very nearly ran to hug Mike, but Micky convinced him that Mike had enough trouble supporting Susanna (which was true).  Mike was barely able to acknowledge his friends with a small smile.  The group continued at a funereal pace out of Jerusalem to a hill that was called Golgotha by some and Calvary by others.

And I said to them, "Dear children, watch the Lamb."

The taunts and the sobs grew louder as the crosses were erected.   Darkness fell around noon.  Many people at the foot of the hill heaped insults on Jesus; many others were prostrated with grief.  Susanna finally let go of Mike and moved unsteadily toward the other women, leaving him and the other Monkees alone with their own thoughts.

Mike, weary and heartsick, sank to the ground. Why did this have to happen?  I feel like I’ve forgotten everything I know about this whole situation!  I hate not knowing what’s going on.  Oh, why did we have to come?  Somehow I just don’t think I’ll be able to convince myself that this isn’t happening.  He shuddered as the tears began to fall at last.

Peter thought he could see Mr. Zero looking rather proudly up at Jesus.   How did he get here?  Can’t they leave Him alone?   He’s done nothing wrong!  Bad things shouldn’t happen to people that good!  His brain searched for anything in the Tao, the I Ching, any philosophy to explain why such an innocent person should suffer so much.  He couldn’t; finally, he gave up and wept.

Davy tried valiantly to be strong for his small charges until their father found them again.  In the middle of all this, ‘E signed "I love you."  ‘E even asked ‘Is Fatheh to forgive these people for doing this to ‘Im ‘cause they don’t know wha’ they’re doing. Such love…   A tear trickled down his cheek and his thoughts turned angry.  An’ now they’ve killed ‘Im! ‘ E loved ‘em and they killed ‘Im!   That’s not fair!  Oh, why did this ‘ave to ‘appen?   Can’t ‘E do something about this?

Micky looked over at the stain on Peter’s cheek. His sacred blood.  I don’t think he really realized how true that is.  I mean, He’s the Son of GOD!  Everything about Him is sacred.  And now they’ve nailed Him to that cross and left Him to die.  They don’t realize who He is, or else they won’t admit it.  Oh, God, this hurts to see.  Your Son up there between two ordinary criminals, insulted by all the world.  If this story doesn’t have a happy ending, I might just eat Mike’s hat.  Pompon and all.   He cracked a half-smile, then realized the futility of trying to introduce any sort of comic relief. His heart ached too deeply, and this event was too solemn.

Time passed slowly.  Three hours seemed like three years.   Some of the disciples went back and forth between the group farther from the crosses and a spot where they could speak to Jesus briefly.  Shortly before 3:00, Simon of Cyrene finally made his way back to the disciples to collect his sons; he then stayed with them, fearing to go back through the angry, jeering mob and hating to leave his newfound friends.

"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"

The sudden anguished cry from the Man on the center cross startled everyone.  An astonished hush fell on the crowd for a moment before hateful laughter and wailing rang out again.

"He’s calling Elijah!" someone sneered.

"No," whispered Simon Peter.

Mike looked up at him.  "What did He say, then?"

Simon Peter’s voice trembled.  "‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’"  He regarded the Monkees’ horrified faces before continuing, "They don’t understand Hebrew.  They don’t realize what Eli means.  They don’t realize the implications of that statement."  His voice broke, and he wept.

"S-s-something’s happening," Peter stuttered, pointing toward the crosses.

The others turned.  A man carrying a stick with a sponge on the end ran up to the cross in the middle and lifted the sponge to let Jesus drink.   Jesus made a face when He tasted it.

"Wha’?" Davy asked, his voice wavering.   "Wot’s ‘e doin’?"

"Leave him alone," someone yelled, pulling the man with the hyssop stick away from the cross.  "Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him!"  Cruel laughter greeted his remark.

Jesus’ voice rang out again.  "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. Tetelestai."  He sighed loudly, and His head drooped down.

"He’s… dead," Micky breathed.  Peter burst into tears again.

"What did that last word mean?" Mike asked John.

"It is finished.  It is paid in full." John nearly choked on the words.

A sudden earthquake pitched Davy to the ground.  Simon and his sons clung together more tightly; Peter fell against Micky, knocking him off balance.   Mike managed to catch himself before he fell headlong into Simon Peter.   People everywhere started screaming.

"What’s happening?" Mike gasped.

"I don’t know," James replied.  "It must mean something."

A centurion standing near them cried, "Surely this Man was the Son of God!"

When the earth stopped shaking, a messenger ran up to the chief priests.  "The curtain! The curtain in the Temple! It tore from top to bottom!"

The man seemed likely to go into hysterics, so the officials hurried him off toward the city.  Others in the crowd took the hint and left.  Soon, only the disciples and the Monkees were left.  The sun drew closer to the western horizon.

Now I feel just like the sky when the rain begins to start; I can’t stop these tears I cry…

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus came up to John, who seemed lost in his own world.  "Come on, John," Joseph said, laying a hand on John’s shoulder.  "Let’s go ask Pilate for the body."

John started, then shook his head to bring himself back to reality.   "Right.  Yes, let’s." The three of them headed back into town.

A short while later, the three disciples came back with a contingent of soldiers.  A handful of these went up to the crosses and broke the legs of the two criminals on either side of Jesus.

"This one’s dead," one reported when they got to the cross in the middle.

"Let’s make sure," another replied, stabbing his spear into Jesus’ side.  Blood and water spurted out of the wound.

"All right, stop messing around!" the centurion bellowed.   "Take that man down and hand him over.  These people want to get home before nightfall."

With much weeping and wailing, the disciples took the body and carefully prepared it for burial.  They carried it decorously to a tomb Joseph had purchased for himself and arranged it in accordance to tradition.  Shortly before sundown, workers rolled the heavy stone in front of the entrance to the tomb.  The soldiers sealed the tomb and arrayed themselves in guard formation; the disciples walked slowly back to Jerusalem.

"You’ll stay with us, won’t you?" Simon Peter asked Mike.  "There’s no point in walking all the way back to Bethany this close to the Sabbath."

Too worn out to object, Mike merely nodded.

When everyone was safely inside the house, Simon Peter and John locked and barred the doors and windows.  Halfheartedly, they went through the Sabbath rituals at sunset.  The Monkees were relieved when everything was over; they quickly found a place to sleep and collapsed from grief and exhaustion.

None of the four travelers were able to wake up in time to go with the other disciples to the Temple the next morning.  Micky awoke about fifteen minutes after everyone left. Peter and Davy woke up shortly afterward; Mike didn’t get up until noon.  When the disciples returned, they brought with them the news of Judas Iscariot’s suicide.  The noon meal was eaten more or less in silence, and the afternoon was spent in reminiscences, some happier than others.  Many tears were shed, and the disciples began working through the grieving process.  Once again, the doors and windows were locked at sundown for fear of the Jewish leaders.

Was it a morning like this when Mary went out from Jerusalem?

Davy woke early the next morning to find Peter gone.  Several of the women were getting ready to go out to the tomb and finish embalming the body.   Davy slipped silently out of the house to find Peter.

The house where the disciples were staying was fairly close to the city wall.  Davy hadn’t gone far before he spied Peter sitting on top of the wall, looking out toward where he knew the tomb must be.  Davy climbed up quietly behind Peter.

"Wot’s wrong, Petah?" Davy asked softly.

Peter jumped.  "Oh!  Hi, Davy.  I dunno; I was just thinking about Him."

"And?" Davy sat down beside Peter, who sighed and put his chin in his hands.

"I just can’t understand.  I mean, He was innocent.   He was so good.  Good people aren’t supposed to suffer, are they?"

"I dunno.  I mean, everybody gets sick, don’t they?   Like me fatheh.  ‘E’s one o’ the best people I know, and ‘e’s been sick for a couple o’ years now."

"Yeah, but your dad isn’t quite as good as Jesus was, and he’s just sick.  Jesus died."  Peter shuddered.  "I don’t know if I can cry anymore."

Davy laid a reassuring hand on Peter’s arm.  "We’ll get through this.  I know it’s ‘ard, but we can make it.  Believe me, it takes time.  It took me a long time to get over me mum’s death."

Peter smiled shakily at his friend.  Davy smiled back and patted his arm.

The pat turned to a firm, startled grip when something caught his eye outside the city.  They both looked out toward the tomb.  A bright light appeared; it remained steady for a moment, then grew steadily brighter as if something were being uncovered.  A rumbling sound came from a distance, along with a faint noise like the scrape of stone against stone.  The light, at last twice as bright as before, blazed for a minute, then faded slowly.  As the American and the Brit stared silently toward the tomb, they saw the women heading out of town.

Finally, Peter turned back to Davy.  "What happened?" he gasped.

"I dunno, man," Davy replied.  "That was really strange."

"What’s goin’ on, guys?" Micky asked cheerfully, climbing up behind them.  "Why are you two hiding up here?"

Peter roused himself and related the events of the last few moments.   Micky ran a hand through his curls and whistled.

"And we can’t figure out wha’ i’ means," Davy finished.

"Could mean anything," Micky sighed.  "And it came from the tomb?"  Peter nodded.  "Man, I dunno. Maybe we oughta go ask Mike."

"If he’s even up yet," Peter grimaced.   "I’ve never known him to sleep so soundly or so long."

"I think he’s just exhausted from the grief," Micky confided.

The three of them came down from the wall and headed back to the house.   While they were still about half a block away, Mary Magdalene ran up to the house and pounded on the front door.  The Monkees stopped, then edged carefully nearer.   They could hear Mary’s hysterical voice addressing Simon Peter and John.

"He’s gone!" she wailed.  "We went to the tomb and the stone was rolled away!  They took His body and we don’t know where they put it!"

John tried to hush Mary while looking amazedly at Simon Peter.   "He’s gone, you say?"

Mary nodded tearfully.  "Come see!"

Simon Peter took off running.  John and Mary followed him.   Peter, Davy, and Micky stared at each other in silence.

Micky blew the air out of his cheeks.  "Well, that was an overreaction if ever I saw one!"

Davy nodded.  "Whatever she saw must ‘ave scared ‘er silly."

"Guys, that must have been the light we saw," Peter noted.   "I mean, it doesn’t explain why the light got brighter and faded, but it does explain the scraping noise.  You couldn’t roll that stone away without making a huge racket."

Micky nodded.  "Good thinkin’, Pete.  But you’re right; it doesn’t explain everything."

"Let’s go inside an’ talk about this wi’ Mike," Davy suggested.  The others agreed, and they returned to the house.

Christ the Lord is risen today, alleluia!

Shortly after Micky began an unsuccessful attempt to wake Mike, the other women returned.  Their eyes sparkled as they set their spices on the table.

"We have seen the Lord!" Salome announced excitedly.

"What???" several people exploded.

Mary, the mother of James, nodded.  "We were just wondering who would roll the stone away when we got to the tomb.  Then we saw the guards looking like dead men and the stone rolled away from the door, and Mary Magdalene panicked.  She took one look inside and ran screaming back here."

Joanna continued, "Well, the rest of us went up to the tomb and looked inside.  There were the grave clothes, lying there like an empty shell, and the talith that went across His face was folded up by itself.  All of a sudden, the tomb was filled with light, and two young men appeared.  ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’ they asked.  ‘He is not here; He has risen, just as He foretold you.’"

"And they told us to come back here and tell you that He was going to Galilee and that you would see Him there," Salome added.  "So we started back, and on the way we saw Him!  We really saw Him!  He said to go to Galilee and that we’d see Him there!"

The disciples burst into frenzied conversation.  Some refused to believe the women’s story; others believed it wholeheartedly.  Micky looked over at Peter, who had a strange, excited look in his eyes.

"Peter?"

"Angels!  Angels, Micky!  That explains the light!" Peter replied enthusiastically.  "The reason the light got brighter is because it was His light coming from inside!  And if He rose from the dead…"  He stopped, unable to express himself further.

Micky regarded his shining eyes and nodded.  "Yeah, I see what you mean."  His spirits rose quickly, and he was just barely able to restrain himself from belting "No Time" at the top of his lungs.

Davy was still a little skeptical.  "I dunno, fellas. This seems a little far-fetched to me."

Simon Peter and John returned.  "I don’t understand it," Simon Peter shook his head.  "How can you get a body out of the grave clothes and leave a shell like that?"

"I don’t know," John replied.  "But I have a feeling He’s not dead anymore."

Micky and Peter nearly cheered.

Several minutes later, Mary Magdalene returned.  "I have seen the Lord!" she fairly sang.

"You, too?" Salome asked, eyes shining.  Nathaniel groaned.  Salome ignored him and continued, "How’d it happen?"

"Well, you all know how hysterical I was when I discovered that His body wasn’t there.  When Peter and John left, I was bawling my eyes out outside the tomb.  I looked inside and saw two men in white who asked me why I was crying.  Now I realize they were angels, but at the time I just gave some ridiculously incoherent answer about Him being gone.  Then I headed off into the garden and ran into Jesus. He asked why I was crying.  I don’t know why, but I didn’t recognize Him at first."  She blushed.  "I thought He was the gardener and asked Him if He knew where the body was."

"What did He say?"

"Nothing, really.  I mean, not answering my stupid question directly.  All He said was, ‘Mary.’  Just like that."

"And?"

"I guess something in His voice got my attention, and I finally realized who He was.  Oh, man, what a relief!  I stopped crying and said, ‘Rabboni!’ and ran up to hug Him.  But He wouldn’t let me.  He sent me back here to tell you, ‘I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’"

Joanna and Salome both hugged Mary at once.  Simon Peter shook his head in amazement.

"Are you sure ye went to the right tomb?" Davy frowned.

"Of course we’re sure!" the women and the two disciples fairly shouted.

"Okay, didn’t mean it!  Don’t get excited!   It’s ‘cause I’m short, I know," Davy cracked, backing down.

Micky chortled.  Peter joined him, and they laughed with all their might for about five minutes.  Every time Davy grumbled, "It wasn’t that funny," it set them off again.

At last, Micky drew a deep breath and wiped his eyes.  "So that’s what joy feels like," he sighed, sending Peter into another laugh attack.   By this time the women were giggling at their unrestrained mirth, which didn’t help any.  Davy couldn’t help thinking of the Laughing Gas scene in Mary Poppins ("I love to laugh, loud and long and clear"), and he started laughing himself.

When Mike finally awoke at about 10:30, the giggle fits had mostly subsided, although Micky was still chuckling to himself off and on.   "What’s his problem?" Mike asked grumpily, straightening his hat.

"His hair’s curled too tight," Peter replied with a remarkably straight face.  Micky shot him an amused look, and the Marys all started giggling again.

"Why is everyone so happy this morning?" Mike demanded.

"Christ the Lord is risen today, alleluia!" Micky sang at the top of his voice.

Mike grimaced at the old Easter standard.  "That’s not a very good joke, Mick."

"It’s no joke, Mike," Peter cried.  "He is alive! Mary and Joanna and Salome and Mary and Mary all saw Him.  And we saw this light..."

Micky interrupted quickly, "And Simonpeter and John both wentoutthere tothetomb andthebodywasgone..."  He started talking so fast that the words ran together, overlapping with Peter’s equally incoherent testimony.

"WAITAMINIT!" Mike exploded, causing immediate silence.   He took a deep breath and continued, "How do you expect me to understand a confusin’ situation when everyone talks at once?  Now, Peter, start at the beginnin’ and speak slowly.  Micky, cool it until it’s your turn to talk.   Davy, you give your input as well because presumably you’ve been up this whole time."

Following Mike’s instructions, the other Monkees told him precisely what had occurred in the last few hours.  It took nearly as long to explain as it had taken to happen.  By the time they finished, Mike was better informed but no less confused than when they began.

The day passed quickly for some, slowly for others.  Micky and Peter remained hyper for the vast majority of the day.  Davy, though still a little skeptical, couldn’t help feeling their contagious enthusiasm.  Mike was too busy trying to make sense out of everything or convince himself that nothing had happened to care about his bandmates’ behavior.

I’ve just seen Jesus, and I’ll never be the same again.

Once again, the Eleven locked the doors and windows before the evening meal.  Thomas wasn’t with them at the time.  Mike shot Micky and Peter The Look, reminding them not to start any food fights.  Peter was somewhat quelled, but Micky ignored Mike entirely.  Simon Peter prayed over the food, and the group sat down to eat.

Suddenly, Mike noticed Peter and Davy turn pale.  Micky, eyes wide, dropped his bread.  Some of the other disciples reacted in similarly astonished ways.  Mike followed Micky’s line of vision toward the petrifying sight and nearly fainted himself.

Jesus had walked straight through the locked door.  Regarding their frightened faces, He smiled and said, "Peace be with you."

"J-J-J-Jesus?" Simon Peter stammered.

"Is it You, Lord?" John gasped.

Jesus held out His hands.  "Yes, John. A ghost does not have flesh and bone, as you see I have.  Come, see My hands and feet and side."

A few, including Peter, came forward to touch Him.  Micky could hardly refrain from yelling in joy.  Davy’s doubts disappeared.  Mike stood riveted to his place, unable to believe or disbelieve.

"Does it still hurt?" Peter asked, gingerly touching Jesus’ wounded hand.

"No," Jesus smiled, placing His other hand on Peter’s head.  "Not now."

Peter looked at Jesus for a moment, tears shining in his eyes, then wrapped Him in a huge bear hug.  Jesus returned the hug, laughing.

When everyone had returned to their places, Christ addressed them again.  "Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent Me, I send you now."  He breathed on them.  "Receive the Holy Spirit."   After some further remarks, He left them.

Mike finally found his voice.  "He’s really real?" he asked Peter.

Peter nodded excitedly.  "As real as we are!  I’ve never tried to hug a ghost, but I think you’d go right through.  He was really there!"

Micky let out a triumphant whoop.  He pulled Joanna away from the table and started singing "I’m a Believer" with modified lyrics and danced like crazy.  Joanna, laughing, turned into a shy violet wallflower. Davy broke into the Davy Jones Shuffle, and Peter bopped along.  The other laughed at the silly spectacle.

They were interrupted by a knock at the door.  Simon Peter ran to answer it.  Outside stood two of the disciples from Emmaus.

"Come in!" John cried excitedly.  "We have seen Him!  He’s alive!"

"You, too?" one of the two disciples outside gasped, coming in quickly.

The disciples exchanged stories of their meetings with the Lord.   Mike still found it hard to believe, but his doubts were wearing down.

Thomas, however, wasn’t as easy to convince.  "Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand in His side, I won’t believe it," he declared.

"But I already did that," Peter objected.   "He’s real."

"Give it up, Pete," Micky advised.  "If he wants to be from Missouri, let ‘im."  At Peter’s blank look, Micky explained, "Missouri is the Show Me State."

"Ohhh!" Peter replied.

About a week later, Thomas was shown.  Mike finally believed when Thomas took one look at the risen Christ and cried, "My Lord and my God!"

Then I saw His face; now I’m a believer, not a trace of doubt in my mind.

Shortly after this, the disciples decided to go fishing.  The Monkees declined to go with them, opting for a picnic on the Mount of Olives instead.   They purchased a loaf of bread, some meat and cheese, a couple of pomegranates, and something to drink.  As they headed out of the city, they suddenly discovered that they were unable to understand Aramaic any longer.

As they sat on the mountain eating and talking, Jesus walked up behind them.  "Hey, guys! What’s goin’ down?" He called in English—1960s English.

"Hi, Jesus!" Peter exclaimed.

"Come eat with us!" Micky added, flourishing his unopened pomegranate.

Jesus joined them, and they visited for a few moments.

Finally, Davy finished his sandwich and wiped his mouth.   "There are still a few things I don’t get.  ‘Ow did everything work?"

"Yeah, and why did you have do go through all that?" Peter asked.

Patiently, slowly, using terms that even Peter could understand, Jesus carefully explained everything that had happened over the past weeks.  He told them of His Father’s plan to save the world from sin and used the Scriptures to prove that the Messiah had to suffer.  All their questions, from the small ones Micky asked between spitting pomegranate seeds to Peter’s confusion over inconsistencies in Eastern mysticism and Mike’s odd questions about metaphysics, were answered with the utmost care and love.  Two hours later, all four of the Monkees were convinced of the truth of Christianity.

All too soon, Jesus ended the conversation with words the band almost didn’t want to hear.  "Well, I guess it’s time for you four to go on home."

"But ‘ow?" Davy frowned.  "I mean, we don’t ‘ave a time machine or anything like that."

"My Father will take you home," Jesus smiled.  Almost imperceptibly, the scene around them turned back into the Pad.  Israel and Jesus faded from view, leaving Jesus’ voice ringing in their ears:  "And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age."

Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

The Monkees sat around the kitchen table, lost in their own thoughts.

Peace of mind, Peter thought. I guess all the Eastern religions can’t give you that.  Only Jesus can.  The same thing goes for wisdom, I suppose.  Wow… His mind drifted, lost in adoration of his newfound Friend.

Mike’s eyes narrowed. So I don’t have to carry all these burdens myself.  I can take them all to Jesus. That will help with the stress.   And all the stuff I worried about—or tried to convince myself weren’t real so I wouldn’t worry—He can take care of.  He sighed in relief, praising God for everything that had happened.

True love and healing, Davy mused.  If ‘E doesn’t know what true love is, there’s no such thing.  I’ll nevah forget that day.   And isn’t there a verse somewhere that says, "By ‘Is stripes we are healed"?  Maybe if I ask… He prayed for his father silently.

Micky echoed a sentiment he’d felt earlier. So this is what joy feels like.  You know, I guess I never really understood joy before.  There was always something missing.  I tried to fill it up by being a clown and gettin’ girls and everything.  But now I know Jesus, and that emptiness isn’t there anymore.  I think I like joy better than plain happiness.   He glanced down at his hands and was startled by what he saw.

The group’s reverie was rudely interrupted by someone pounding at the door.  "Open up, Nesmith!" a voice yelled.

Mike shook his head, surprised.  "Comin’, Mr. Babbitt!" he replied, jumping up to answer the door.

Mr. Babbitt scowled as he came in.  "Your rent is due, Nesmith.  And I don’t want any excuses!"

"Jus- Just a sec," Mike stammered.  He fumbled for his wallet, suppressing his surprise at being back in his regular clothes.

"Well, snap it up," Mr. Babbitt snarled.

When Mike opened his wallet, he almost yelped.  The cash pocket, which had been almost empty when they left, now held two hundred-dollar bills.  Awed, Mike handed the landlord one of them.  "Uh, here ya go, Mr. Babbitt."

Mr. Babbitt stared at the money for a moment.  Finally, he growled, "I’ll be back later to give you the change."

"Oh, don’t worry about that.  Just put it toward next month’s payment," Mike shrugged, having recovered his outward composure.   Mr. Babbitt nodded and wrote out a receipt.  Mike’s mind whirled, still shocked over the miraculous appearance of more than enough money to pay the rent.

Peter stood as Mr. Babbitt turned to leave.  "Um, Mr. B?"

"What do you want?"

"Have you ever met Jesus?"

Mr. Babbitt shook his head in bewilderment.  "Since when did you kids get religion?" he snapped on his way out the door, which he slammed behind him to prevent further conversation.

Davy whistled.  "Looks like we got some work to do if we’re gonna convince people of what ‘appened!"

Mike shook his head.  "How can we be sure it wasn’t all a dream?"

Peter laughed a little.  "C’mon, Mike!  All four of us had the same dream?  That doesn’t make sense."

"Still, I’d kinda like some solid proof."

Micky spoke for the first time since they had returned.  "Um, Mike?  I think you oughta see this."  He placed his hands on the table.

Davy gasped.  Mike came back to the table; when his eyes widened, Peter looked over his shoulder.  He, too, made an astonished noise.

There, in Micky’s outstretched hand, lay a half-eaten pomegranate.

The End

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