Masters, Gods, and the Afterlife
The audible thud drew the
attention of all nearby. In ceremonial gown, the
Archer stood to the left, while eyes of onlookers locked
onto the target, positioned fifty yards to the
right. The arrow extended perpendicular from the
face of the target, it’s brightly colored feathers
bathed in the late afternoon sun.
It was a magnificent shot,
centered perfectly in the target.
Spellbound, the crowd milled
silently about for several moments before exploding into
complementary applause. Having observed
competitions throughout the day, they had grown
accustomed to inconsistencies in levels of skill, and
trueness of aim among the various competitors.
Only the most dedicated observers waited to see the
His first effort, set the
standard for the entire day. No one had shot so
true, and with such level of confidence and
quietude. All eyes turned back to the Master, as
he reached to draw a second arrow. Again, briefly,
he became the center of interest as all focused on his
drawn bow. For a fleeting moment, time stopped as
he remained still, the distant target a mere
afterthought. With no perceptible movement on his
part, the arrow exploded from the bow, landing again,
square center on target impinging on space already held
by its predecessor.
This time, there was no
explosion of applause. The crowd stood stunned,
and silent. What first appeared perhaps to be luck
as much as skill, was now beyond circumstance.
Some suspected trickery, doubting what they witnessed
was humanly possible. With no regard to their
thoughts, the Master began to unstring his bow.
Glancing one last time at the target, he turned, then
proceeded to exit. One of the spectators leaned to
a translator asking what would be next.
The translator, responded,
A large man, so large in fact
he physically dominated the translator, approached and
spoke loudly, “We waited these long hours because we
were promised a demonstration by the Master, and two
shots fired at a target is not a demonstration by our
measure. Where is the rest of the show?”
The diminutive translator
responded, “You have witnessed a miracle!”
The large man laughed, “What
miracle? He fired two shots and hit the
target. Granted, he hit the target square in the
center, but miracle? I think not.” Responding, the
translator said, “Consider this. The first shot
was impeccable. Only one thing could possibly top
the first shot, and that was the second. The
miracle is the Master intended to do what he did.
Once that was accomplished, he could offer nothing
further to demonstrate or prove his skill.”
“I don’t get it,” the large
man said as others gathered around, “What was
accomplished, where was the entertainment, what he did
wasn’t enough, we’re here for the show.”
Looking the large man square
in the eye, the translator answered, “For many, the
first shot was enough. Iit was the best shot of the
entire day, and he owed nothing further to anyone.
The second shot was his proof the first shot was no
accident. That is the way of Masters. They
are not concerned with entertainment, nor are they
concerned with your ‘show’, whatever that might
Whether fact or legend, the
story of the Master Archer speaks directly to the point
of what constitutes the best proof of truth.
Now suppose for a moment you
are the son of God, and have chosen to demonstrate
victory over death by raising the deceased Lazarus, who
had been dead in the sepulcher for four days. Like the
Archer’s first arrow, it is a singular statement of
message, “There is life after death!” But is it
enough? Will it convince the doubtful? Does
it answer all questions about who you are as son of God,
and what ultimate message you bring to mankind. Aside
from drawing the ire and suspicion of authorities, it is
uncertain whether any message is perceived, except that
a wonderful stunt was performed.
There is a common link between
the two. Their focus on the absolute is certain,
and complete, even to the point they have superseded our
limited notions of life-and-death. The first
Master demonstrates his ability to explode from the void
to produce a perfect outcome in our plane of
existence. The second Master demonstrates there is
a place we go after our biological lives conclude, but
to call it “death” is misunderstanding the reality.
What is left for the son of
God is the “proof.”
Unlike the Archer, the son of
God cannot raise Lazarus a second time. Doing so
would appear even more like a stunt than the first
occurrence and if anything, would create doubt regarding
the ultimate message. Victory over death is
possible. So, we have the second Master, the “son
of God” allowing his own death as a final ultimate proof
of victory over death. He is crucified, declared
dead, placed in his own sepulcher, and then rises.
In the first instance, Jesus called to Lazarus “Lazarus,
come out.” In the second instance, he was dead, no
one called, yet he is reported to have returned.
Consider this. Where was he? If he was truly dead,
how could he have returned? Where was he during
the interim? What was the purpose of the
return? Who issued the command to arise?
Where did the command emit from? What did he prove by
The focal point is simple and
cuts to the core of all religious and human
experience. What we think of as death is not the
termination or conclusion of existence. In like
fashion, what we think to be life is not the substance
or act of existence. Somewhere in between is the
direct experience of the eternal. From that spot,
all is possible. The dead rise, and the deceased
return. The arrow strikes the target, and its
companion follows closely behind.