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 Master’s performance.
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, “Nothing.”
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
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 this?
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.