"It just seems a little hard on them", said the younger man. "Especially the one who will get most of the blame."
The older man looked kindly at the younger man. "I know how you feel", he said, "and you’re quite right. It will be hard on them - very hard. But, you know that there is no other way to get through to them."
The younger man sighed. "It’s true, of course. This way alone will reach them, and the many, many others that follow. Only," he sighed again, "only it will be hard on them."
"Yes," said the older man, "it will. But it will it be hard on you too. In fact, it is going to be very rough indeed."
The younger man nodded solemnly. "Yes, I can see that."
The older man looked into the younger man’s eyes very seriously. "You are going to have to become one of them. You will have to eat as they do, drink as they do; live as they do," he said.
"And die as they do" said the younger man, quietly.
"Yes," said the older man, simply. "You will have to die as they do."
"I can bare it," said the younger man. "I have to. Unless I go there, they are doomed. It is a sacrifice I have to make, though I would have it otherwise if I could".
"As would I." said the older man.
There was a pause.
"But there is no other way", said the younger man, at last.
"No", said the older man. "There is no other way."
"But death - that isn’t the hardest. It … ", the younger man faltered for a moment, then carried on "It is the separation. From you. Must it be so?"
"It must. You must become one of them, or you will not be able to reach them. They would follow, but for all the wrong reasons.
"You must teach them, by word and by action. You will be the link to their salvation. You will be the medicine that cures them of the sickness that plagues their hearts and souls. They must learn from you, not just follow you. You must open their eyes and their hearts, so they can change the course of their lives - now - before it is too late. And it must last - from generation to generation.
"You cannot be this link unless you become as them. You must suffer as they suffer. Be tempted, as they are tempted. Be betrayed by them, as they betray themselves. And to have faith, as they must have faith.
The older man paused.
"There will be times when you will think that I have forsaken you", he said. "Yet, I shall not."
"Will we not talk?" asked the younger man.
"At times we will talk," " said the older man. "And, of course, you can talk TO me any time you like. Only, I may not always respond. Sometimes it will seem that you are on your own. You will need to have faith. In your faith will be born their faith"
The younger man thought for a moment or two.
"Three days is a long time." He said at last.
"Enough time to build a temple.", said the older man.
The older man looked at the younger man as a father looks at the son who is about to leave home. "You’re going to do just fine." He said.
They looked deeply into each others eyes, for a time.
"The rock that shall be broken, thrice…" began the younger man.
"Shall be made new", said the older.
"And the other sacrifice?" asked the younger man.
"Better not to have been born?" said the older man. "Yet in my keeping all will be as it should be."
A look of love, beyond anything that may be imagined, shone on the faces of the younger and the older man.
"You’d better be going", said the older man. "I have just exploded a giant star."
The younger man smiled. "Seems a pity to waste it," he said, and was gone.
A dark-skinned man walked up to the older man. He was wearing wings of platinum and carrying a trumpet of gold. "Ready?" he asked.
The older man looked thoughtful, and then replied. "Yes. Sound the trumpet - only not so much boogie-woogie this time. You are supposed to be announcing the birth of the Christ - not Louis Armstrong."
The angel grinned, and flew off.
God looked down over his people.
"I am with you, my son." He said. "And the finale will just blow their minds!"