If you had stopped to listen that night, you might have heard the faint rustle of reins and the clop of a hoof or two. If you had opened your eyes you might have seen a vast array, poised above the hills of Jerusalem.
In military terms they were on “alert”, ready at a moment’s notice to spring into action. It was the strong presence of General Michael that kept them in check. Astride his horse he moved slowly back and forth in front of chariots and horsemen, their armor glowing softly.
Below on the Mount of Olives they watched as their Lord was arrested and led into the Temple. They moved uneasily as Jesus was spat upon and abused by the soldiers. They waited for any sign from Jesus to spring into action. They were confused by His silence in the face of a multitude of questions and further abuse.
They watched as he was led to the scourging pit; watched as He was tied to the poles; watched as the first lash opened up gaping wounds on Jesus’ back.
As one the chariots and the horsemen moved forward. Flames leapt from chariots, the sound of legions of horses and chariot wheels filled the sky. Looking to the East you might have thought you heard thunder and seen lightning.
Only the strong presence of Michael kept them in check. As one they turned and waited for the One sitting on the throne to issue the word. Only silence. Each lash reverberated through the skies. They all cringed as the scourges tore and ripped at the innocent one below. The One on the throne felt each blow.
Agitation grew among them as Jesus was led, dragged up to Golgotha. Agitation turned to rage as they nailed Him to the cross. Swords clashed against shield, horses reared in the ranks, they moved closer to the front. Michael looked towards the throne. The head of the Father hung down, and moved ever so slightly left and right.
The assembly of troops closed in around the city below blocking the sun. They waited for the word to descend and rescue Jesus from the pain and humiliation. They waited for a word to turn Jerusalem into a wide spot in the road. They waited.
They heard the agony and pain in the voice of Jesus as he cried, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”
Then the unthinkable occurred, Jesus died on that cross. Michael again looked towards the throne but the God of the universe sat there, His great hands white as they gripped the arms of the throne. Tears ran down his cheeks and fell as rain.
“Have your army stand down Michael”.
“Send them Home, Michael.”
Confusion was on the face of Michael as he turned and gave the signal. As one the great army wheeled and was gone. Michael slipped down from his horse and picked up his sword where it had fallen.
He looked towards the throne but it was empty, God was on His way out of the room. He paused at the door, “Michael.”
Three days later...
What occurred that weekend literally changed the whole world, although many who were involved had no clue just how much. The way God was to deal with sinful man, the way sinful man was to deal with God. Fifty days later...well that’s a different story, isn’t it?