“He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven…”
– The Apostles’ Creed
“Whew. I’m glad that’s all over with,” Jesus said to himself as he opened his blurry eyes.
It had been a very hectic day for Him. He had fulfilled His destiny and would now spend eternity with God in Heaven. The shell of His body was still hanging from a cross on some hill in Calvary, near Jerusalem. He had saved mankind from themselves and He was now part of the spirit world. His earthly frame had no cuts or marks on it in this place and he felt the lightness that accompanies an abandonment of the real world and its cumbersome laws of physics.
It took Him a minute to regain His senses. Dying and becoming a spirit was a bit jarring at first. It was like waking from a deep sleep; for a split second there is an uncertainty as to what is real and what isn’t. But like waking, all of the memories came back to Him like a geyser, flooding His brain with the circumstances and previous immediacies of His life.
He felt a tremendous pressure in His ears, one that usually accompanies a dramatic decrease in elevation, like diving underwater. He realized that He was standing in an extremely long queue, with all matter of foul-mouthed vagrants in front of Him. And it was hot. Like Damascus in July hot.
“What the heck? Where am I?” he said to no one in particular.
“Where do you think? You moron,” jeered a stocky Pharisee who was one spot in front of Him.
“I’m not in…” Jesus gulped, “Hell? Am I?”
“We’re all here genius.”
“But there must be some mistake. I’m Jesus. The Son of God.”
“Oooh boy. Name-dropping already are we?” the Pharisee dripped with a poison sarcasm. “Look who my daddy is! Look at me! I have a beard! I’m so special!”
Jesus quickly felt His beard. It was still intact. Thank God. He saw a uniformed employee of Hell walking by the line. “Excuse me sir. I am in the wrong place.”
“That’s what everyone says,” the demonic security guard explained.
“No, you don’t understand. My name is Jesus.” The guard looked apathetically puzzled. “Jesus…Christ,” the Savior finished.
“Oh boy,” said the demon guard worriedly as he remembered the important name. “Hossana Emmanuel! You are definitely not supposed to be here. I’ll take you up to customer service. We’ll get this straightened out.” The guard took Jesus out of line and led him to the front desk. They were subjected to the worst insults from those patiently waiting.
“Nice sandals, idiot!” screamed one as they walked by.
“Thank you,” Jesus said, turning the other cheek.
“You think you can cut in line butt-head?” another damned soul yelled out.
“I apologize for the inconvenience.”
“Oooh look at me. I’ve got a beard. I’m so special!”
“Already heard that one.”
They got to the front of the line and the guard introduced Him to the concierge. “Karl, this here is Jesus. He’s God’s son, as in God the Father Almighty. We need to get him out of here. There must have been some type of paperwork malfunction when He died.”
“Oh my!” the concierge blurted out. “Mr. Christ I apologize profusely for the error. We have an new employee in our Soul Transportation and Distribution department and he must have made this egregious mistake.” He pressed the intercom button on his desk. “Golgon! Get your ass in here right now! We’ll take care of this Mr. Christ don’t you worry.”
“It’s no big deal, just as long as I get to Heaven soon.”
“I’m sorry sir,” Karl said, nearly shaking. “I’m afraid that this type of transfer needs to go through several approval processes before we can get you back to where you belong. Usually about three days or so.” He began typing frantically on his keyboard.
“Three days!” Jesus cried out. “That’s a really long time.”
“I know. I know. Let me just pull up your paperwork. GOLGON!” Karl called again for his new employee. “You see we have to run this by St. Michael’s department up there and get final approval from St. Peter,” Karl explained. “It’s fairly bureaucratic.”
Golgon, a young and very homely looking demon scrambled in from the back room. “Yes sir?”
“Did you fill out this form?” the concierge asked.
“Uh yes sir. That’s my signature right there giving authorization for transportation to Hell.”
“Did you happen to read the name of the person you were routing to Hell?”
Golgon began to go over the form he looked up at the skinny bearded man on the other side of the desk. His eyes widened with embarrassed shock. “JESUS CHRIST!” He began to realize just how much trouble he’d be in for this.
“That’s right you idiot,” Karl snidely remarked.
“Now, now. This doesn’t have to be that big of a deal fellas. It was just a mistake,” Jesus calmly spoke.
“No sir! This cannot be tolerated. I will not have a bunch of ignorant lunkheads running a very important part of this business.”
“I’m sorry boss; it’s still my first week. I’m just learning the ropes down here. It’s very complicated.”
“No excuses. Golgon, you’re fired!” Karl screamed.
Jesus put a hand on Karl’s scale-covered shoulder. “Now Karl, how long have you been at this job?”
“Nearly 17 centuries sir.”
“And in those 17 centuries you’ve never made one mistake?”
“Well…” Karl had nothing to add.
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Jesus said softly. There was a brief pause. Neither of the Front Desk employees could grasp the parable.
“What are you talking about?” Karl asked with a strong tinge of confusion. “Log in my eye? I don’t have a log in my eye.”
“No…I mean…” Jesus sighed. His eternal patience was wearing thin. “Listen, don’t call someone out for being an asshole when you’ve probably been a bigger asshole at some point in your life.”
“Oh!” both demons realized.
“Now I don’t want you to fire Golgon. In fact, I want him to help resolve this matter.”
“You do?” they both replied.
“Yes. Now, what are the options since I have to stay here for a few days?”
The employees began discussing and typing away on their keyboards. “We could…” Golgon trailed off. “We could put you up in our penthouse suite. It’s on the 9th level of Hell and has a great view of the River Styx.”
“And we can comp you your meals and any entertainment you’d like,” Karl added. “There’s a group of Macedonians that put on a great show near the torture pit. It’s a favorite of all of our guests. You probably shouldn’t bring any kids to it though. It’s very…messy.”
“That sounds fine. Now what about travel arrangements to Heaven?” Jesus asked.
“I’m looking at direct flights and they’re all booked up. The best we can do is a transfer with a one day lay-over on Earth.”
“Ugh. That will have to do I suppose,” He smiled. “Maybe I’ll go back and see some friends.”