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Christ's tunic

Source : Luke 23:34


He stood alone in the middle of the arena.

"To you, Claudius the Stammerer, grandson of Mark Antony: how ironic that you have awarded me the rudius, the wooden sword symbolizing freedom for gladiators who have earned merit from the empire.
Today, to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding of Rome, you are inaugurating the Ludi Saeculares, the secular games. And to free me, you offer me death.
How ironic for me, who served the destiny of the eternal city by the sword, under Tiberius."

"To you, Lord: my comrade Longinus was tortured and beheaded by a governor gone mad. It was Longinus who killed you, the Messiah, by piercing your side with a lance. Longinus opened my eyes; that's why I'm a Christian today. Longinus told me that he believed in you, Yeshua, as the Son of God. He said that, at that moment, he realized that it was finally time for a human being to feel compassion for God, to take pity on God.

That's why he wanted to put a stop to your suffering.

He told me that when you drew your last breath he felt a new fire burning in his soul, as if you were thanking him, not for your dying, but for his goodness in putting you to death."

The wooden gates opened. Not gladiators. Lions. Three of them. They moved toward him. Not a chance, even if he fought. And he didn't want to die as a soldier.

"Lord, there's one important thing I haven't done for you. If I don't do what I have to do, your tunic, that I won in a game of dice at the foot of the cross, might be lost. It's here in Rome, at my house. I promised that, if anything happened to me or if my life was in danger, I would take it back to an old friend in Jerusalem.
Lord, I really need to do that before I come to be with you."

He moved toward the lions. They stopped short. He didn't even look at them; he had faith. He planted the rudius in the sand of the arena and took three steps backward. Then he knelt, facing the wild animals, and began to pray.

One of the lions moved toward the wooden sword and sat down right in front of it, as if on guard. The other two lions moved back, to the right and to the left of the first, and lay down. The scene was scarcely believable. From the crowd in the arena arose a rattling roaring breath, an animal-like rumble of anger, fear and stunned surprise.

A wind blew up, so loud that everyone could hear it. The sand around him began to rise up in eddies. Soon, a column of sand was whirling around him, rising high in the sky. He could no longer be seen. The lions were motionless.

It lasted for only a few seconds. It doesn't matter how long it lasted.
Perhaps the hand of God whisked him away from Rome to Jerusalem. Perhaps angels assured him that they would undertake the mission themselves. Perhaps he even made the journey himself, on foot, and it took him a year. I do not know. But he knew: you could see the joy in his face.

The column of sand thinned out and then dissipated completely. He was still there, praying, and smiling. The rudius appeared to have disintegrated, as if made of sand and eroded by the blowing wind. Eventually it could no longer be seen, entirely consumed by the sand-laden wind that reduced it to dust.

Slowly, the middle lion moved toward him, as if respectfully obeying an order. Almost delicately, the animal took the man's neck in its mouth and broke it. The man fell forward; his blood spilled out on the sand. The wooden sword was never found.

At the same moment in Jerusalem, Eliaz, an elderly rabbi, found a tunic beside the Torah scrolls. He recognized the seamless tunic immediately, for he had known the one who had worn it, and the one who had won it at dice.