by s. nicole böcek
2017 and AD 33
Sometimes life takes you where you don’t expect to go. When Amber woke up, she had no idea that a man in a pea-green coat would soon be crawling through her window.
But it happened….like this:
The strange man shoves a bundle into her hands. Amber’s eyes widen.
He grasps her by her shoulders. Her mouth opens to scream but no sound comes out.
“Listen,” he whispers, eyes wide. He looks down at his watch and starts trembling, “You must visit those dates. My life depends on it; do you understand?”
He looks out the window for a minute and then back at Amber.
“I need your answer.”
Just as Amber reluctantly nods, he looks at his watch again and disappears like dust flying away.
Tearing the bundle open she sees it is a piece of paper with a watch inside. On the paper is a list of dates. AD 33. AD 354. 1521.
A flashing blue light in the middle of the watch draws her attention.
I guess I’m supposed to press the activate button. His life depends on it.
A blue light surrounds her like a dome, smooth as glass. Amber types April 23, AD 33. The lights go out and she is consumed in darkness. Suddenly, a bright light startles her. When her eyes adjust, she sees three men on a road; the man in the middle is speaking.
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken,” he was saying, “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into glory?”
The words sound familiar.
“Do you not remember what Isaiah wrote about the Messiah? Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
The tunics and cloaks they wear look like the kind in those old Bible-times movies like Ben Hur.
Ben Hur? Wait! AD 33! That’s when Jesus died.
Amber looks again at the scenario before her, her heartrate rising. She covers her mouth in shock. The man in the middle is Jesus!
That’s Jesus! I know him!
Amber rushes forward and grabs his arm.
He turns and winks at her but the other men don’t seem to notice her there. What should I say? Her heart burns inside her. It’s Jesus!
Suddenly, the world of light and dark spins around her with a glowing blue light and she finds herself in her bedroom.
Covering her face, she moans, “Oh no. I wanted to talk to Jesus.”
Fumbling with the watch, she tries to return but it is flashing red.
Please, please, let me back in. She wants to cry. I saw Jesus! Take me back!
I should tell my parents. Will they even believe me? What is this watch?
She heads downstairs to the kitchen.
“This year is the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation,” Amber’s father announces.
Amber scratches the back of her neck. Why did that guy want me to see that conversation? Why Jesus? Maybe Dad can help.
“Dad?” It must have something to do with what Jesus was saying.
Her father looks at her as her mom put plates on the table in front of them.
“You know that verse that goes he was wounded for our transgressions and by his stripes we are healed?”
He nods. “Right, that’s Isaiah 53. It’s exactly what I’m talking about. This is the gospel. By his stripes we are healed. The Reformation that we are celebrating is getting back to this gospel. Jesus reformed everything. He taught us about grace. The Reformers took the works-based errors of the Church and brought them back to the pure gospel.”
Mom adds, “It’s the new covenant. We are saved not by our works but by Christ’s work.” She sets the pancake platter down. “Are you two ready to eat?”
As they eat, Amber’s mind wanders back to Jesus winking at her. I wish I could see him again. What does this all mean? Who was that strange man? He said his life is depending on me. I must figure this out.
She takes out the slip of yellow paper and looks at the next date. AD 354.