Behind enemy lines

He volunteered for the mission. Even though it meant certain death. The objective was too great, the prize too coveted, to leave the work undone. There were no other qualified candidates, so, he was the only choice right from the start. Embracing the opportunity despite the cost, he was all-in. This greatly pleased his commander. Who just happened to be his father.

Insertion was done under cover of darkness into a nondescript village nestled in the hill country in the south. He arrived in town in the usual way, like every other traveler. Nothing to draw attention. Nothing to arouse suspicion. Certain commoners were summoned from “on high” to independently verify his arrival. In fact, when they found him, he was not yet prepared to engage his duties. They went away talking about him freely to anyone willing to listen.

In the early part of the assignment, his keepers saw to his needs and made sure he was protected from those who might try to harm him should his true identity become known. They found an ordinary dwelling and there conducted themselves as ordinary citizens doing nothing to arouse suspicion. Hiding in plain sight.

Some time later, emissaries from an eastern nation—with information on the mission obtained from documents leaked well in advance—came looking for him. Not to kill him, but to pledge their loyalty to him. They brought with them appropriate and much needed contraband from which his keepers were able to finance a hasty flight to a neighboring region. This became necessary when the local ruler, acting on a tip, issued a kill-on-sight directive for anyone matching his general description.

So, he lived abroad with his handlers until things cooled off in the old country. Then they returned to their home in the hill country and to everyday life in the rural surroundings of their politically and socially troubled nation. As the years rolled by, he patiently awaited for an agreed-upon sign that the mission was a ‘go’ and that his cell-of-one was activated.

The sign came in the form of a stranger who infiltrated from the desert wearing non-conventional garb which immediately distinguished him from every other man. His speech was direct and pointed, and referenced the mission in metaphorical terms. That and his peculiar dietary habits drew attention from the local populace—and the authorities. He proclaimed to the people the advent of a new regime whose ruler would bring hope not just at home, but abroad. Intrigued by this nonconformist, they flocked to him to hear the message and to respond to his call for personal preparation.

The sign having been given, his cell was was now active.

The succeeding thirty-six months were a blur of activity. Over several weeks he recruited a cadre of carefully selected associates to be trained on mission imperatives and counted upon for tactical execution. He began moving about the country presenting a message of “hope and change” long before it became politically correct. Sometimes he entered the larger cities, but more often than not large crowds followed him into the surrounding countryside. His inner circle of friends observed him, absorbed his words, and helped manage the crowds that thronged him.

Rumors of miracles and other fantastic events linked to his appearances began to bleed-off political influence from the established elites. As their popularity headed south, so too did revenues from the various schemes by which they bilked their constituents. They were not happy about it and plans to “eliminate” the interloper began to dominate their thoughts. But, as he was wildly popular with the people, theirs was a delicate tightrope to walk. So, they took their time until an opportune moment presented itself.

Late one night that moment came. Acting on an insider tip, the political elites and their military allies ambushed him and his friends on a darkened hillside outside of the Capital. He offered no resistance but went with them willingly. But, not before declaring to his captors his true identity. They were floored by his claim, but when they had composed themselves, they led him captive into the city. He went willingly. It was all part of the plan.

He was illegally tried overnight in their jury-rigged assembly and deemed worthy of execution. His offense? Claiming equality with God. In the early hours of the morning, their sentence was reluctantly ratified by the provincial governor under pressure from the elites who threatened his position for non-compliance in their subterfuge. And, so, early on that Spring morning he was severely beaten by the governor’s soldiers and then led out to the place of execution. He was just 33 years old.

In this time and place, the method of execution was crucifixion. And so, he was nailed to a wooden cross and left to struggle for several hours before he bled-out and expired. His death was documented by the executioners, select political officials, and the few friends and family bold enough to be present at the event. After he was removed from the cross his friends collected his body, prepared it for burial, and entombed him a sepulcher hewn into the rocky hillside. His mission was nearly complete.

Early in the morning some 72 hours later, a few of his friends ventured to the tomb to be near his body. When they arrived at the tomb they were shocked to find the large stone covering the entrance had been rolled away. More shocking still, the tomb itself was empty. He was not there.

Mission accomplished!


The Mission Brief

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” —Genesis 3:15

““But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” —Micah 5:2 NKJV

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” —Isaiah 9:6‭-‬7

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” —Romans 5:8‭-‬11

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. —John 11:25

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. —John 14:1‭-‬3

“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’” —Revelation 21:3‭-‬4

Merry Christmas!

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