Amos Goes to Jerusalem


Although there is no actual account of the following story, it could have happened during that first Easter long ago.

Amos stood on the roof of his Uncle Levi’s home in Jerusalem watching the holiday crowds in the streets. He had come with his parents from Nazareth for the Feast of the Passover.

Suddenly Uncle Levi grabbed Amos by the arm. “You said you wanted to see your friend Jesus. Look! Here He comes.”

The boy looked where his uncle pointed. Coming down the street, Amos could see Jesus riding a donkey. Crowds pressed around Him, and people laid down branches from palm trees and tossed flowers in His path. Many put down their cloaks to mark the way.

From a distance Amos heard someone call, “Blessed be the King who cometh in the name of the Lord!”

Amos was glad that the friend he had known in Nazareth was being welcomed with such honor. “I’m going to get closer to Him!” Amos shouted to his uncle as he started down the ladder that led from the roof to the ground.

The streets were so crowded Amos was pushed along with the people. At the temple gate he saw his friend’s donkey tied to a post, and he stopped to scratch the animal’s ears. Suddenly Amos heard a great commotion. Doves flew over his head. Sheep bleated as they scurried between people. Men came rushing into the street.

“What is happening?” Amos asked a man who hurried from inside the temple.

“Jesus has pushed over the tables of the money changers, for they cheat the Passover visitors when they change their money into temple shekels,” the man replied. “He has also driven out those who sell doves and animals for sacrifices, because they cheat the people too. I heard Jesus say, ‘It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.’”

More anxious than ever to see Jesus, Amos pushed his way into the courtyard of the temple. He climbed up on a low stone wall and looked around. Above the heads of the people, he saw Jesus standing in the entrance to the inner court. As Amos watched, a blind man groped his way toward Jesus and then fell on his knees and thanked Jesus for his sight. Later Amos saw Jesus heal a crippled man.

When Uncle Levi came home that evening, Amos began to tell him about what had happened at the temple.

“I know,” his uncle interrupted. “I was in the crowd too.” He paused for a moment and then suggested, “It will be better, Amos, if you do not go to the temple this week, for I fear there will be more trouble. The temple officials are jealous because the people love Jesus and believe His teachings. So now they accuse Him of leading the people astray. Your father and I must go. We will tell you all that happens there.”

On the evening of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Amos listened while Uncle Levi retold the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. Afterward Amos enjoyed the special dinner of roast lamb and unleavened bread his aunt had prepared.

Each day seemed to move slower than the one before as Amos waited for his father and Uncle Levi to come home from the temple. One day they were much later than usual. It was a frightening day, for the earth seemed to move and a strange darkness came upon the land.

Amos went to the stable and fed his donkey. “Thistle,” he said to the small gray animal, “as soon as the Sabbath is over, we will go back to Nazareth. It’s a long walk, and so you must eat well and get lots of rest.”

When evening came, Amos climbed up on the roof and looked out over the city. No happy crowds filled the streets. The air was still and oppressive and the sky a deep black.

Finally Amos saw his father and uncle coming down the street. He hurried to meet them, but as he drew closer, Amos could tell that something was terribly wrong.

“What is the matter?” Amos cried.

“Jesus has been crucified!” his father replied, putting an arm around the boy.

Amos thought his heart would break. Now he would never see his good friend again!

Uncle Levi said that Jesus was to be buried in a tomb in a garden near Golgotha where He had been crucified.

During the long Sabbath, Amos could think only of Jesus. He wanted so much to see the place where Jesus was buried. Knowing his parents planned to leave Jerusalem at first light, Amos dressed long before daylight and began the long walk to the garden tomb.

Upon reaching the entrance to the garden, Amos stopped to rest under a cypress tree. The pink and gold of early morning colored the sky as he looked around trying to locate the tomb. Seeing two women coming toward him, Amos found courage to ask, “Do you know where Jesus of Nazareth is buried?”

Pointing across the garden, one woman answered, “He was buried there. But He has risen from the tomb just as He promised.”

The boy’s voice was only a whisper as he asked, “How do you know?”

“We have seen an angel,” the other woman answered, her voice full of amazement, “and he has shown us the empty tomb and told us of Christ’s resurrection!”

Suddenly bright sunshine seemed to fill the sky. Amos thought he had never seen such a beautiful morning.

“Thank you,” he said to the women before he turned and ran down the road.

He knew his parents would not be angry because he had delayed their journey, for he was taking to them the happiest news they would ever hear.

Amos could hardly wait to tell them, “Jesus lives!”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dick Brown