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Anticipatory Grief

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When the Romans threw Jesus into the dirt, he didn’t understand. He returned to the garden numbly, the gravel digging into his soles bothering him none. He shrugged off his apostles’ attempts to speak with him… Peter’s desperate pleas for forgiveness over a sin that had no weight on Jesus’ shoulders…

And wasn’t that odd? That the sins of man weren’t his cross to bear…

“Where’s Judas?” he asked. It was all he could ask. When he received no answer, he’d reiterate: “Where is Judas of Kerioth?” The distinction was unneeded, redundant even. Despite two other apostles — despite his own brother being named Jude — there was only one Judas in Jesus’ life. 

His heart.

The first few times were unsuccessful, but he asks again and again and again. No one can stand up to tell him. That’s the thing Jesus couldn’t bring himself to admit – he hates their cloying obedience at times. He hates it…

Luckily, Simon is a Zealot first and Disciple second. 

Jesus falls to the ground, holding his cheek as Simon stands over him, chest heaving with passion. 

“The Baptist said you were the damn Messiah!” Simon says these words out of anger, but not hatred. Jesus knows this much. “But whose neck is on the chopping board for your sake, huh?!”

Peter and Andrew grab Simon just as he flicks out his knife. The blade clatters to the ground, and as he struggles, Jesus can see the tears welling up in Simon’s eyes. 

“Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit! And you come back asking us: “Where’s my homeboy Judas?” as if you don’t fucking know?!” He thrashes in their grasps, face burning with rage and streaked with tears. He’s bit his lip so hard that it bleeds. More blood on Jesus’ hands. 

More blood that should be his.

Andrew screws his eyes shut, sobbing as he clings to Simon. “Z, cut it out—”

“Oh, I’ll cut it out! I’ll cut him out just like Judas should have!” Simon tries to lunge for his knife, but the other apostles hoist him away from Jesus.  Simon doesn’t usually look this small, kicking his feet like a child, being held like one. “My friend, my brother is going to die on a crucifix in just a few days, and you think it’s funny to drag your battered ass back here and ask what the buzz is?!”

Jesus is frozen. He can’t even muster the one syllable: “what?”

Peter slaps Simon across the face before shaking him roughly by the shoulders. “Zealotes, he clearly doesn’t know!” 

Simon falls limp as he quietly sobs, defeated. The two brothers drag him away before he can get worked up again.

John and his brother James come forth to help Jesus up. He’s limp in their arms. He doesn’t breathe. 

“Master, please forgive Simon,” John asks of him. “He’s hysterical; he doesn’t understand that Judas is just getting his just desserts.”

Just desserts,” Jesus echoes hollowly.

James nods. “John had a good point while you were away. Judas, with his betrayal, his conniving ways—”

Conniving?!” Jesus repeats again, shocked. How can they say such things-?!

“How he’d fuss over our funds!” John explained. “What other reason could there be for that than him being an embezzler?”

Jesus begins to shake, wrestling himself from the brothers’ arms. “No.”

“Master?” John asks, and he sounds so young and so hurt that Jesus feels guilty for not wanting to comfort him. “I only say what’s true.” The young man reaches for his lord’s hand and looks crushed when he steps away.

Jesus grits his teeth. “You speak your truth. Your truth is fiction. You lie to explain that which you don’t understand. What more explanation do you need for Judas’ behaviour than his passion? His empathy?”

James steps between him and John, and that is when Jesus realizes the boy was crying now too. He steps back several paces, appalled at himself. 

A woman’s voice rings out. “Jesus, John meant no wrong—” 

Magdalene, oh thank Father—

Jesus spins around and collapses into Mary’s arms. His senses are flooded with immense warmth as he buries his head into her shoulder. She shushes him tenderly, and whatever she says to the others to convince them to leave, he doesn’t hear… 

Slowly, Mary lowers the two of them to the ground. Jesus clings to her in haste because God forbid she be stolen from him as well. 

“Jesus,” Mary crooned. “You’re safe now. Be at peace.” 


“Understand that Simon is only grieving.”



Jesus went entirely limp. “That’s why they released me… he turned himself in. Why would they kill him in my place? Because he was a Zealot?” As he voices these thoughts aloud, he becomes more and more distressed, and with his distress, he withdrawals from Mary’s embrace. “Judas has done nothing; he’s innocent- I told him- I thought he knew that he was innocent!”


“I can’t talk to you now; you remind me too much of-” He turns to face her and freezes. 

Mary, bless her heart, isn’t offended. “I remind you of him and when we’d talk to each other,” she calmly restates. She raises a hand to touch his cheek, slowly as to not startle him. 

Jesus intercepts her touch, taking her hand in his own and squeezing. Her eyes are dark and alight with concern. She loves him and wishes him well. Her face… is beautiful… and far too close to his own.

He jerks back. “No, no, that is wrong of me. You are your own person, your own woman. I shouldn’t-”


I shouldn’t...” He doesn’t know how to finish the thought. “I should go,” Jesus mutters, withdrawing from her entirely. 

Mary, the wise woman that she is, lets him leave without protest, knowing that this time, what he needs is solitude. 

He thanks the Lord that she doesn’t go against her instincts to follow him. That is something that his Judas would do. 

His Judas. What right did he have to claim the man as his?

In this state, Jesus can’t stand to face his tenderhearted companions. Their apologies and comfort will only serve to remind him of what will soon be Judas’ fate- what should have been his fate.

He needs to speak to Simon.