THE MAN FROM CYRENE
“Simon,” Jacob said slowly, thoughtfully, “we can only plan things up to a certain point, then life steps in and changes everything. Your father’s life didn’t turn out the way he had wanted it.”
This was a surprise to me. Jacob saw the startled look on my face and went on.
“He loved Jerusalem, and wanted to stay there and bring you up in the Temple. He had planned for you to have a good education and be a devout religious man.”
“How do you know these things?” I asked, incredulous. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Your father and I used to sit and talk,” he answered. “He loved being around when I was working in the gardens or doing repairs. Sometimes after I had finished my work we would go to the tavern and just talk. He told me that when the Romans started really making things hard on the Jews in Jerusalem and he saw how the Temple priests and the Sanhedrin were appeasing the Romans and trying to butter them up all the time he became disillusioned. He thought that maybe it was only the Temple politicos trying to stave off the Roman tyranny, but soon he could see that it was more than that. He saw the greed and the avarice invade the Temple and slowly filter its way down into the people. Soon all the businessmen were kissing up to the Romans. He said that Jerusalem had become Rome’s whore. He lost heart. He thought that if he moved far away from Jerusalem he could bring you up the way he had planned. So he came to Cyrene. He didn’t have any real interest in business; not the way you do. To him it was just a way to make a living. He took you to Synagogue on the Sabbath, and had you in Jewish schools. But you didn’t seem to have an interest in religious matters. Then he became ill and had to turn the business over to you. It consumed you. Making the business grow and thrive was your all-in-all. But you were a good and honest man. You got married and loved your wife and treated her like a great prize. These things made your father happy. His plan did not turn out but he accepted what life handed him, and made the best of it. Your father was not a fulfilled man when he died, but he was a happy man. Do you know the difference?”
He looked at me long and hard while I let all this soak in. How could a man be happy if he was not fulfilled?
A WOMAN CALLED MARY
A fire had been built in the courtyard and we all stood around it warming our hands. I heard a commotion behind me and turned to see what was going on. There near the gate stood Peter!
A girl looked at him and said, “I know you. You are one of His disciples!”
“No!” Peter exclaimed. Then looking down he said, “I am not.”
I turned away from Peter to look back inside. Caiaphas began speaking in soft tones, his face showing controlled power and emotion.
“So you are King of the Jews, eh?” Caiaphas asked with a chuckle. “Are you teaching rebellion against Herod?”
“I have always spoken openly in the synagogues and in public,” Yeshua answered meekly. “Why question me? Ask those who listened to My message what it was about.”
I gasped in horror and rage as one of the guards struck Him on the mouth.
“How dare you talk this way to the High Priest?” the guard demanded.
Yeshua spat blood onto the floor and looked mildly at the guard who had struck Him.“If I said something wrong,” Yeshua said softly, “then tell Me what is was. If I have spoken truth then why did you hit Me?”
Again I heard Peter arguing with the girl. It was so distracting that I had to turn my attention away from what was going on inside the house.
“I know you are one of His,” the girl said. “I have seen you with Him.”
“I told you I am not!” Peter said loudly. “Now leave me alone.”
Then a man standing near the fire walked over close to Peter and looked him in the face.
“You are!” he said. “It was my brother’s ear you cut off in the garden. I was there. I saw you!”
“NO, dammit,” Peter shouted. He looked up and I saw horror in his face as he looked through the window into the house. I followed his gaze to see Yeshua looking out and straight at Peter. A rooster crowd. Peter turned and ran away, almost falling over himself trying to get out the gate.
Yeshua turned His attention back to the man sitting in the great chair.
“I have asked the people,” Caiaphas said with a sneer. “Some say you are a prophet. Some say you are a ‘miracle man.’ Are you a prophet?”
Caiaphas chuckled and looked around the room at the guards gathered there. Some of them started hitting on Yeshua with their open hands, then with rods.
“Are you a miracle man?” one of them asked. “Then work a miracle and get yourself out of this.”
One of them put a blindfold on him, then slapped His face.
“Prophesy!” one of the guards shouted. “Who hit you now?”
I saw Caiaphas turn and whisper to Annas. Annas nodded and Caiaphas turned back to the group of men before him. He then nodded to one of the guards standing off to the side and the guard went into another room. In less than an instant he returned with a large group of the religious leaders from the Temple and members of the Sanhedrin. They formed a semi-circle around and behind the chair Caiaphas sat in. Annas left the room.
What is going to happen now? I asked myself in terror. They began to question my Messiah.
“If you are the Messiah,” one of them said, “tell us now, plainly.”
Yeshua spoke so quietly that I could hardly hear Him.“If I tell you,” He said, “you won’t believe Me. But I tell you the truth, from now on the Son of Man will sit at the right hand of the Almighty Yahweh.”
“Are you saying, then” another asked Him, “that you are the Son of God?”
“You are right in saying that I am,” He answered softly.
The man turned to Caiaphas and said heatedly, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”
They all gathered into a huddle for some time. Then Caiaphas spoke.
“It is our judgement that it is better for one man to die than for the whole nation to suffer,” he said. “If we allow you to keep this up Caesar will think that we Jews don’t know who our king is. The Romans will take away our kingdom and our land and put Pilate or someone worse in charge of all of us. You are condemned to death for heresy and blasphemy. As soon as it is light you will be taken to Pilate for execution.”
I couldn’t believe my ears! No! He was King of the Jews. Why wouldn’t He speak up in His own defense? Why hadn’t He insisted on His right to have witnesses present in His behalf? I would gladly have spoken for Him. Any of the disciples would have. Even Peter, if only Yeshua had taken him with Him into this mockery of a trial!
SONS OF THUNDER
In a few days I will be dead. He asked me once if I could drink from the same cup as Him. I said I could. Oh, what arrogance. I had no idea what His
cup was. Now I will indeed drink from that same cup. Herod Agrippa has sentenced me to death. In three days I will be beheaded with a sword while Herod and his cronies watch.
The penalty of one who teaches heresy or leads believers away from the Jewish faith. I have been convicted by the “high court” of teaching against the Jewish beliefs, against the Temple
authority, against Rome and Caesar… I have only taught what He taught. We should be seeking Yahweh and worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. We should live the Torah and God’s
precepts the way that He intended from the beginning. What we should not be doing is following some list of laws and ordinances made up by man in some self-seeking manner, to make ourselves
feel better. We should not be trying to lift ourselves up to His level by our own means. All this is only what Yeshua, the Chosen One, taught.
Somehow there is a certain irony in it. These very same self-seeking politicians, more concerned with their frail grasp on their position than with teaching and living truth, are the ones who put Him on that cross. Yes, He told me once that I would drink from His cup. Herod has given me three days to dwell on my fate. He sits up there on his throne thinking I am in agony of dread and fear, wishing I had never heard the name Yeshua. But would I change it? No. Not one whit. I look forward to joining Him in the Bosom of Avraham. It is the least I can do, after what He did for me… for all of us.
My only regret is that I can not tell more people about Him. I want all to know that I am not just some kind of dissident or trouble maker. I have not taught anything contrary to Jewish belief. I am a true believer in the Hebrew faith and I truly know and believe that our Messiah has come.
And so I think it best that it all be put down in writing. Then all can read and know that, no matter what the Temple authorities and Herod and all those self-righteous people who call themselves Jews say, He was, is, our Messiah. So I have got myself a scribe and I dictate to him my story… Where do I begin?
See a list of upcoming readings.
Interviews: GMAP Radio interview of 10-7-2013
Kingdom Empowerment Radio Interview 7-29-2015:https://soundcloud.com/2011scribe/donna-ghanney-interviews-autho
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