His death was agonizing. A more vicious, inhumane demise was unimaginable. Yet, it happened as destined.
With his last breath, as spirit separated from broken body, he whooshed through a darkened vortex of time engulfed by eternity.
He landed in front of a formidable, dark gray, unlit building. It had no windows—no one inside could look out, no one outside could look in. Flashes of lightning revealed foundational cracks etching wispy fingers across pockmarked walls. Just above the only doorway, a weathered sign squawked, reeling in the chilling wind. It read Hotel Grave.
He was tired; there had been no sleep the night before. The day’s events had been long and tortuous. He endured false arrest, miscarriage of justice at a mock trial, brutal beating by the authorities, misguided interrogations, humiliating mocking, and finally, the most excruciating death humanly possible. Crucifixion. He had hung on that cross for three agonizing hours until, at last, he yielded his spirit into his Father’s care.
As the eternal, omniscient Son of God, Jesus knew of this place—He actually made the reservation for this specific stay over four thousand years earlier. He did not relish the stay; he actually hated the fact people came here. The judgmental doom and utter loneliness clouding the area flooded his soul. Shaking off a sudden shiver, he boldly stepped forward.
The massive, windowless door creaked in protest as he leaned into it and entered the dim, hollow, frightening lobby. Each footstep echoed its emptiness and prompted whispers of evil unseen. A stench of decay permeated the air. There was no waiting area as guests were immediately escorted to the front desk. Sidestepping cobwebs, wriggling worms, and slithering snakes, Jesus strode to the front desk and tapped the tarnished check-in bell.
The on-call night clerk, an oily imp, appeared from the shadows. Upon spying the newest arrival, he sneered, “Well, look who we have here! You caused us a lot of trouble but we have been expecting you. My name is Sabachthani and I’ll personally take care of your accommodations.”
Peering into Sabachthani’s uneven, squinty eyes, Jesus replied, “Thank you, forsaken one, but don’t get used to me being here.”
Sabachthani chortled, “That’s what you think. We have a No-Check-Out policy. No one leaves! Even your friend, Lazarus, will come back one day. Calling him out of here was a remarkable stunt—still haven’t figured out how you did that. But he will be back. We’ve kept his room ready. It’s in building #11, room #14. I am sure you two will have plenty to talk about.” Then he bellowed, “Maybe you can compare dying stories!” Evil snickers echoed down darkened hallways.
Jesus cleared his throat. “You misunderstand. I do not belong here.”
The slick demon grabbed his protruding ribs, roaring derisively. “Ha! That’s what everyone says. Like no convict is ever guilty—but they are still in prison! I get it. No one plans to stay here, but everyone does—eventually.”
If Sabachthani was not irreparably evil, Jesus would have pitied him. Before time began, Jesus recalled creating this being as a handsome angel. However, he sided with Lucifer’s rebellion and instantly morphed into this misshapen, grotesque, counterfeit. Knowing the thoughts and motives of every existing being, Jesus remained resolute. “I am not your ordinary guest. I am the resurrection and the life.”
“We all know your claims,” Sabachthani rasped through clenched teeth. “We heard how you evaded our many attempts to kill you from birth. And yet, here you are.” Hatred’s poison oozed from cracked lips as he spewed, “So how long will you be gracing us with your presence?”
“You heard me. I will be leaving in three days.”
Sabachthani knew who Jesus was, but he also reveled in the fact Hell, Death, and the Grave were permanent. The entire demonic universe rejoiced when Jesus died. Yet, here He was, claiming to have the power to leave. What audacity! It sickened him, yet he shuddered at Jesus’ authoritative responses and calm demeanor.
“You’ve got to be joking!” he hissed. “Aside from Enoch and Elijah, everyone checks in here and no one escapes our grasp—well, except Lazarus. But he had help from the land of the living. You may have had power while you were still alive, but surely you do not expect me to believe you can leave from this side of the grave? In case you hadn’t noticed, you are dead! Keep talking this nonsense and I’ll cancel your room amenities.”
Jesus paused only momentarily. He wanted Sabachthani and all others listening from the shadows to hear him clearly. “When I made this reservation, I planned to leave first thing Sunday morning. That plan has not changed. Come sunrise Sunday morning, I am out of this dreadful place. Please update my account to reflect that departure date.”
Sabachthani’s mind spun out of control at Jesus’ preposterous yet persistent confidence. “Uhh, okay…this is a highly unusual request. I will have to check with the manager. He will know how to handle you.”
Jesus calmly replied, “You do that. While you are at it, tell him I am taking some of the other guests with Me when I leave.”
Jesus said…“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25 NKJV)
Featured Image By Ye Jinghan
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on natestevens.net.