Sunday, April 8, 2012

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1008

Unbelievable! Sensational! Glorious! Hallelujah! “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.” What can I say? If Friday and Saturday were the worst days of my life, this is the best day of my life. It is the greatest day in history! Yeshua is risen! He is alive! He is Messiah! Our hopes have not been in vain! Praise be to the God of Israel!
It all started as was planned. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, Salome and one or two others went to the tomb to anoint the body. Yeshua’s mother was spent so and John and James’ mother remained with her.

The women were wondering how they would get the stone aside. We should have gone with them I now realize—we are such wimps! As if the Romans will help!
They needn’t have worried for when they got there, they were stunned to find that the Roman soldiers were gone and the stone had been rolled aside! For a minute they thought they had the wrong tomb, but they had taken a careful note where the tomb was when they had been with Joseph as he had buried Yeshua.

As they stood outside in total confusion—as if they needed any more—they saw a man in gleaming white clothes. Actually, Salome swears she saw two men, but that is by the by—they can be forgiven for not getting everything right when in such shock. The man told the women something like, “don’t be afraid, you are looking for Yeshua the Nazarene who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. Go and tell his disciples that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
After this, if I am honest, the details are sketchy—hardly surprising with something so astonishing! It seems that the women made to return. Mary Magdalene told us that as they headed back she became separated in the garden and had an encounter with a man she thought was the gardener. She then claims that the man revealed himself as Yeshua. She fell at his feet, but he told her not to touch him. I didn’t know what to think when the women told us all this I must admit. Women are notoriously unreliable when it comes to such things. But Mary has been so trustworthy?

I wasn’t alone in being skeptical. We all were. There were some heated interchanges as Mary and the others insisted on what they had seen. Then abruptly Peter spoke, “I am going to have a look. Come on John.” John jumped up. Others wanted to join, but Peter said it should be small group—our lives may still be in danger. They were gone in a flash.
My head was abuzz with thoughts. Can we trust the women? Are they deluded? An hallucination? Was the angel a ghost? My dad had always told me never trust a woman—too emotional. These women have never made me doubt them though. They are actually amazing! I don’t know? Or, has someone stolen his body? If so, who? Only the Romans themselves could have pulled it off with the kustodia posted outside, the guard. They were hardly likely to do it too. Did someone bribe them? It wasn’t one of us; we were here all last night. Judas—I have no idea where he is? Joseph? Nicodemus? Hardly likely, they would have told us and they renounce such things. And if they did, why? What is there to gain, except more bloodshed? Did Yeshua get out of the tomb? Was he really dead, or was he unconscious? No, he was dead. His blood had separated. What’s more, how on earth would he move the stone with his hands torn with nails, and slip past or overcome the kustodia with his wounds? Or is this what he meant when he made those bizarre predictions of his suffering, death and resurrection? Mmmmm.

While Peter and John were gone, Cleopas stood up. He spoke openly of his doubts and that there must be another explanation. Mary and the women responded resolutely and angrily, telling him that he had no respect for women and that they knew what they had seen. Cleopas snapped at this point and said that he had had enough and that he was returning home to Emmaus. I said I would join him for the eleven km walk, I needed to get away. He needed a companion as well; it may not be safe on the road. We slipped out into the city and on our way.
It was a lovely warm early spring day, not that I really noticed. I was glad to get away from the intensity of the room. We talked about what had happened. We tried to make sense of it, discussing the options. It was an intense discussion as we batted ideas back and forth. As we slowly drifted along a traveler came up from behind. He was dressed in a long robe with long sleeves that covered his feet and hands, while his face bore many scars. I pondered what this traveler had been through—some severe accident. He asked us what we were speaking of and why we were so sad. Cleopas responded rather bitterly as I remember, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” The traveler asked him to clarify, “what things?”

Cleopas told him of Yeshua, his amazing prophetic ministry of preaching and his miracles throughout the nation. He told him how we had thought he was the long awaited Messiah, and how our hopes were dashed. He retold the story of the last two days from his arrest to his death. He spoke of our shattered dreams that he would raise up the people of Israel, overthrow the Romans, and bring to pass the last days where Israel would be restored and God’s rule would extend to the ends of the earth. He told him of his burial, and how this very morning some of the women had gone to the tomb and found the stone rolled away, the guards gone, the body gone and the women’s experiences of the angel. We told him of Mary’s supposed experience of seeing Yeshua.
The stranger listened intently, his eyes having a certain almost familiar warm penetrating power. Then he spoke. What he said blew our minds. He started by insulting us as fools and that we should believe the prophets—we didn’t really notice surprisingly. He went through the sacred scriptures, speaking of Moses, the first Joshua, the words of Isaiah especially the Servant and Isaiah 53, the Psalms especially Psalm 22, of Daniel 7 and the Son of Man—he spoke of a Messiah very different to the one I had always dreamed of—one who came not with sword to establish Israel above the nations and to reign with armies, but one who would come with mercy and compassion to restore through love. He spoke of the need for Messiah to suffer and to die as a sacrifice for sins, to save all peoples of the world—I had never noticed that in the Scriptures. He spoke of his resurrection, reaching back to Ps 16 and Isaiah 53. He spoke of a plan to restore a world with love and with preaching the good news. My heart blazed as he spoke. It was if a sword was piercing my very soul.

We came to Emmaus and the traveller made to go on. We pleaded with him to come to Cleopas’ home, to enjoy the hospitality of his family. We wanted to hear more! He smiled; I will never forget the deep warmth of his scarred countenance. We still had no idea of his name or who he was. I believed he must be an angel, or more likely a prophet who had tasted great sorrow.
As we arrived, Cleopas’ family welcomed us in. It was time for the evening meal, and as always, the women had extra food in case of travellers or the return of Cleopas. We sat in silence. The traveller reached for the bread. He looked skyward. He gave thanks—the very words of blessing Yeshua had used at the final meal.

“What is going on,” I thought?

He broke it. He handed it toward Cleopas. Cleopas took it, I saw his eyes widen and mouth open with shock. The traveller turned to me. He handed me the bread, gazing deeply into my eyes. I reached for the bread, and suddenly it dawned on me—it is Yeshua! I slowly stood in utter disbelief and amazement—then he was gone!

All Hades broke loose! Cleopas and I cried, “it is Yeshua.” The women began to weep, we began to laugh, shock, uncertainty and joy intermingled in the room. Cleopas looked at me asking me what I had felt as he had gone through the sacred Scriptures as we walked. I said it was as if my heart was on fire—he said he had felt the same. We resolved that we must return to Jerusalem at once to tell the others. The women were right! Cleopas’ wife remained with the children to come later. His older sons joined us; they were as excited as we were, for they had known Yeshua too. We prepared with haste, and slipped into the early evening. We travelled the eleven kilometres in less than an hour.
We arrived at the home. We found the eleven and others gathered in the room. The mood was no longer one of doubt, confusion and contention. The room was abuzz with excitement. Before we could share our news we were stunned to hear that Yeshua had appeared to Simon Peter as he had walked in the Mount of Olives. We then shared our story of the traveler, his explanation of the Scriptures, the meal, and his disappearance. Joy filled the room. Yet some still doubted. Who can blame them? I apologised to Mary for my earlier doubts. There was joyous reconciliation.

As we rejoiced, suddenly, without warning, Yeshua appeared among us, materialising from nowhere. He spoke in rich Aramaic: “peace be with you.” Some were terrified, believing him to be a ghost—they shrunk back. Peter, Cleopas, Mary, me and some other had no such doubts. Yeshua spoke, joy and love in his eyes. “What are you troubled? Why do doubts rise up in your minds?” He pulled up his robe revealing his bare feet; he rolled up his sleeves to reveal his hands. He spoke, “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”  Mary his mother was first. Then Mary Magdalene, overjoyed at now being able to hold him. We all came and touched his scars and felt his embrace! I felt his power. Some even experienced healing at his touch! It was glorious. Amazement flooded the room.
Then again he spoke. “Do you have anything here to eat?” Salome went to the table and took some broiled fish from the evening meal. She brought it to him. He took it and ate it.

He sat down, and beckoned us to do the same. We complied for we knew when he sat it was time for him to teach us. The women all sat at his feet, gazing at his eyes, touching his scars—their anticipation like us all palpable. He looked at us, and he loved us!
He told us the same account we had heard on the Emmaus Road, this time with even more detail and depth. He spoke of the need for the Scriptures to be fulfilled. It was as if a veil was removed from our hearts and minds. We saw clearly for the first time that the path to redemption was not a warrior Messiah, but a Messiah who would come in compassion, suffer, and die for the forgiveness of all people. He told us that our job now was to go and tell the story to the world beginning in Jerusalem so that all the world will know that Yeshua is saviour and Lord. He told us to wait in Jerusalem until we had received the gift of the Spirit which he and the Father would pour out upon us so that we would be clothed in power, just as he is. He warned us that we would suffer and die too as many will reject the message, even our own people. He helped us to understand all those “parables” of suffering and death—and that we should take up our crosses. We talked late into the night. We asked when he would restore Israel; he said only the Father knows. Who cares I thought, Yeshua is Messiah and Lord! It was the greatest night of my life—I will never forget it! It will sustain me to the end.

Later he took us out of the city toward Bethany. He raised his arms. He blessed us. We watched as he ascended into the air. Soon he was lost to our view. We began to sing, Ps 118 of course! It was glorious. Two men appeared alongside us. They told us that one day he would return in the same way. We returned to Jerusalem, joy in our hearts.
What a week! What a story! It began with glorious hope as Yeshua entered Jerusalem on a donkey, the victorious king. Then our hopes were vanquished as he defied our expectations, was arrested, was killed and buried. Yet now he is risen! He has called us to take his story to the world, even to the Romans! We are to love them too for Yeshua died for them as well! Wow! He will empower us! I have no idea what tomorrow will bring for he warned us of great suffering ourselves and that many of us would die for him and his Kingdom. But I am now ready to die for him—bring it on.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1007

Nothing much to say about today except, “woe, woe, woe!”—lament and grief. We remained in the house, we cried, we sang songs of lament, we talked, we tried to make sense of what has happened, but we have no answers.

We heard again the details of the trial from Joseph and Nicodemus. We heard them share their deep sense of failure for not speaking up, for not standing against what had gone on. They wondered what might have happened had they done so. Who knows?
We heard Peter admit what had happened at the fire in the courtyard of the high priest’s home. It turns out that Yeshua had been right about Peter denying him. He told that three times he was asked if he was a companion of Yeshua, but three times he had not been able to find the courage to stand for him and had denied it. Then the rooster had crowed! He spoke of his deep sense of bitter failure, his anger at himself, his perplexity. I was impressed with his honesty, and somewhat thankful—otherwise Peter would have hung on one of those crosses. Yeshua had been spot on about all this as usual. How come he is dead?

None of us really care about the “failure” of our brothers. We are all facing our guilt and failure—we were are no better. At least Peter had had the courage to follow Yeshua, we had all run. Simon the Cananion wants us to launch an attack on the Romans now, an act of vengeance. None of us have any stomach for that, no need for more needless blood. Even the sons of thunder show little interest.
My heart goes out most to Mary, Yeshua’s mother. She is in deep pain. A mother’s worst nightmare! The others are caring for her. How will she get through this, or will she die of a broken heart!

The truth is none of us know what to make of it all. None of us saw this coming. I presume we will all go back to our old lives, to fishing and stuff like that. Not sure what I will do. Back to the family business I suppose. Sounds so mundane after the last three years—did it really happen?
Will the Holy One ever save us? Are we destined to live forever under the Romans or some other Gentile dogs? “Where are you Adonai? Why have you abandoned us?”

We did make one decision though. The women will go to the tomb in the morning to anoint Yeshua’s body. The Roman guards will allow them to do this I am sure. They don’t like to violate our customs, even though they despise us—the feeling is mutual.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Diary of a Disciple, Day 1006

This is the worst day of my life—I can’t even call it life. It is the day the “Messiah” died! It is the day my hopes have been shattered! Seems he was only a prophet after all! If so, he was a false-prophet. He is certainly not Messiah; he is cursed of God, hung on a tree! A crucified Messiah! Foolishness! He is not the son of the divine, for the Jewish leaders rejected him and the Romans with their false gods vanquished him. Yet how can this be? Yeshua cannot be a false-prophet, not this man of love who healed the sick with a touch, who fed the poor, and who raised the dead—oh that he would raise himself! But the resurrection will come at the end; we are not there yet! I don’t know what to think. Here’s what happened.

After I fled from the garden the previous night I went to the house where we had celebrated Passover. The others came in dribs and drabs. Only Peter and Judas were not there. So it was Judas who betrayed Yeshua? Why had Yeshua called him then, if he knew? Why didn’t he expose him at the meal, we could have killed him then and there! Was Peter in on it after all? Surely not after he attacked that guy in the crowd! Who knows? That might have been a ruse. The image of Judas kissing Yeshua will haunt me forever. If he were here now, I would kill him with my bare hands!
We grieved through last night. Mary, Yeshua’s mother, and the other women cried laments. Every heart was broken! No one understood! I had nothing to give. I sat in silence, grief and anger.

Ultimately people dozed fitfully. Then it was dawn, the time for prayers—but no-one seemed interested. A knock came at the door, the secret knock agreed on. It was Peter, eyes read and looking a total mess. My first thought was to accuse him, but I held back, he was no betrayer. We ushered him in, and with tears, he told us what he had seen.
He had followed as Yeshua was taken from the garden to the home of the high priest Caiaphas—typical Peter, we all flee, he follows, he is the bravest. His plan had been to help him gain release, to stand with him, or join him if Yeshua began the final conflict. He had stood outside by the fire in the courtyard. He saw people going in and out of the home, members of the Sanhedrin, and others he did not know. He had seen Joseph and Nicodemus go in.

I felt a nudge of hope—perhaps it was now that Yeshua would demonstrate who he is, before the Sanhedrin and priests, with Joseph and Nicodemus and we would be called to his aid! We asked Peter what else he saw. He said, rather too quickly, “nothing.” Was there more? Perhaps we will never know.
It was only later in the evening we learned from our two Sanhedrin insiders what had gone on inside. The whole thing was an illegal set-up, the worst of political machinations—more like the Roman Imperial Court than God’s people! Jesus had been interrogated. People had testified against him, all set-ups and their testimonies inconsistent. Some said he had threatened to destroy the temple. All false witnesses! I was livid with rage. Jesus remained silent through it all—Joseph and Nicodemus could not understand why he hadn’t defended himself?

Finally, Caiaphas had asked directly if he is the Messiah. Jesus answered directly, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Unsurprisingly, this set off Caiaphas who tore his clothes and viciously accused him of blasphemy. Many of the Sanhedrin gathered around, they blindfolded him, hit him, spat on him and mocked him, “prophesy!” they said, “prophesy!” He said nothing, his fate was sealed. I wondered why Nicodemus and Joseph hadn’t stopped this—but realized that we were all in the same boat—what could they have done?
Back at the house, a discussion followed and we resolved to get as close to Yeshua as possible. If he did begin the fight, he would need us. We headed toward the temple and fortress. If it was to begin, it would be there.

We got there just after dawn. As we watched we saw a crowd of soldiers coming from the home of the priest. Yeshua wasn’t leading them as I hoped, but they led Yeshua, bound between them. His face was a mess, clearly he had been beaten. We watched in grief and stunned horror. What was going on? Doesn’t look like a war-council, or that Yeshua put up a fight. Simon (the Zealot) suggested we attack, but we held back—a combination of confusion and fear.
We followed at a distance as they took Yeshua to the Praetorium at the Antonia, Rome and Pilate’s base in Jerusalem, into which he and the soldiers disappeared. We slunk into the crowds gathering outside. We waited. Is this the moment? Was this the means Yeshua would use to get into the inner sanctum of the Romans? Would holy war now begin with Yeshua healing himself, talking terms, and then if need be launching his attack? We waited.

In less than an hour Pilate appeared on the balcony. Aside from the soldiers and dignitaries, there were two bound figures—one unknown to me, the other Yeshua, in a terrible state—but standing with dignity. It was announced that it was time for the annual declaration of Passover clemency by Pilate. Pilate announced, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews? Or shall I release Barabbas?” Simon the Cananaion whispered , “I know that  Barabbas. We worked together. He and his team attacked a bunch of Romans earlier in the year but got caught! Surely the crowd will call for Yeshua and not him.” Hope awakened again ever so briefly—he will be released! I yelled, “Yeshua.” The others joined in. But our voices were completely overwhelmed by the cries of the crowds, “Barabbas, Barabbas…” I saw members of the Sanhedrin egging them on, with mocking grins. I went silent for fear of arrest. No!
Pilate stood and considered. He raised his hands for silence. He cried, “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” The crowd, clearly set up for this moment began to roar, “Crucify him!” Crucify him!”—louder and louder. Pilate turned and walked away.

To say we were stunned is a total understatement—horror gripped us all, but there was nothing we could do! Yeshua was taken away into the Praetorium. We knew what would happen, we knew about crucifixion! Unless he launched a counter-attack, the Roman soldiers would flog him brutally with a leather whip infused with nails, glass, pottery or rocks. He would then be crucified, nailed to a cross naked and humiliated, until his bones dislocated, his breath gave out and he died!—a declaration to the world of Rome’s might, another pathetic attempt to overthrow her defeated! It is the worst of all deaths, that of a slave—the final humiliation! Hardly the end of a Messiah! Later we learned that they had not only flogged him, but dressed him in purple as if a royal, crowned him with sharp thorns that cut deep, mocked him and beat him mercilessly! He is no threat to Caesar! My heart breaks as I write.
An hour or so later we saw the Roman soldiers bring him out. He was exhausted, his robe no longer clean and fragrant with the women’s perfume, but awash with sweat and blood—he was unrecognizable. He carried the cross-bar of his cross. He staggered, unable to bear its weight.  A man was grabbed from the crowd, and forced to carry it for him. I felt for him, he had no choice. They led him to the hill shaped as a skull, the place of death. I wondered, is this all part of the plan?—the later he leaves it, the more impressive it will be.

I knew this was a forlorn hope. I am ashamed to say that at this point, I left in total disillusionment. Indeed, only some of the women watched at a distance. It was later back at the house that they told us what they saw.
They offered him the wine, more mockery, yet he refused it. Then, horror of horrors, they crucified him; nailing his hands and feet and lifting him up. Two others were crucified with him, no doubt Barabbas’ partners in crime! That could have been me I thought! They put a sign above him, “the King of the Jews.” The two criminals appeared to mock him—although Mary thought one of them was kind to Yeshua. The crowds laughed at him, insulting him for threatening to destroy the temple, calling him to save himself. One cried, “Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Yes I thought—why didn’t he? A Roman soldier was heard to mutter, “surely this is the Son of God.” A strange thing to say—what was he thinking?

He was heard to say things from the cross—crying out to Adonai “why have you forsaken me”—that is appropriate. Probably because he is a false-Messiah I suppose! He said, “it is finished.” Yes, I thought, our hopes are finished! What a glorious waste of time! Then he died with a loud cry! I can’t believe it, Yeshua dead!
The women reported how the ground had shaken at that moment and how the sky had grown dark for three hours. I had noticed these things myself and wondered whether they were some strange portent. The related how a soldier had speared Jesus in the side, the gushing of his separated blood, you don’t have to be a doctor to know he is truly dead! They told how they had remained at the cross lamenting and grieving when Joseph and Nicodemus arrived. Joseph had been to Pilate requesting his body. He had been granted permission so they had taken his battered and bruised body and laid it in Joseph’s own tomb. They told how the Romans had sealed the tomb, and had placed a guard on it, to ensure no-one would desecrate the tomb or steal the body. As if we would do that I thought! What is the point? My life is over! My dreams are shattered. Why did he let them kill him? He could have used his power to save himself! Cursed is the day that I was born!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Diary of a Disciple, Day 1004

Again we awoke with no idea what was about to happen? It was the day of Passover. Me and a few of the others thought we would take the initiative, so we asked Yeshua where he would like us to prepare the Passover? He singled out Peter and John for the task.

I was more than mildly annoyed—hadn’t I done a decent job with the colt? Back down the pecking order. I hope they stuff it up. I was really disappointed at not having the honour of slitting the throat of the lamb and watch the priest scatter the blood at the base of the altar.

Anyway, he sent them into Jerusalem where they would be met by a man with a water jar whom they were to follow. He would lead them to a home and a guest room—that is the place we are to prepare. Must have some wealth to house us all, whoever it is. Perhaps one of our friends in the Sanhedrin, like Nicodemus or Joseph. Just as with the donkey colt, I am not sure whether it was a set-up or some prophetic moment? Feels like a set-up this one. So Peter and John took some of the women with them (men don’t cook the Passover) and left to get things ready.

We mooched for the day, and followed later and arrived at the home. Everything was ready. I wasn’t expecting what happened next. Yeshua rose, took off his robe, still full of the fragrance of the perfume poured on it the previous night. He took a towel, poured water in a basin and called us forward to wash our feet—all of us, women and men. We were stunned; this is the work of a slave. Peter alone had the courage to put up resistance—no way are you washing my feet Lord! Yeshua put him in his place, and he complied, as did the rest of us. Jesus then told us that we were to do the same for others.
We then reclined to eat. Jesus told us again the great story of the Exodus when God had redeemed our people from Egypt. No-one tells it like Jesus! It was as if he were there! I love Passover, it always gives me hope. What better time to prepare for the redemption of Israel from Rome—hope began to rise in me again. Perhaps he was waiting for this? Genius!

As we ate the tasty lamb and bread, Yeshua spoke. “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” After a second of stunned silence I burst out, “not me Lord, never!” All the others in unison joined in. We were shocked! Another parable? We looked at each other suspiciously—surely none of these blood brothers would do such a thing?

Things settled. He took up the cup, and said, “this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many.” He went on,” I will never drink of the fruit of the vine until I drink it anew in the Kingdom of God. Again I was confused? I understood the idea of a covenant, blood and sacrifice. But “my blood?” What covenant? I sensed deep confusion in the room. It was certainly not like any Passover I had taken—seemed that it was pointing forward to something I couldn’t quite grasp. The power of the wine then muddied my thinking—I am sure he knows what he is doing.
As is usual we sang from the Psalms, Pss 115–118—in fact the same song sung as Jesus entered Jerusalem, and the one he quoted to the Pharisees in the story of the Tenants. This Psalm seems very important this week. The refrains “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,”  “his love endures forever,” and “hosanna” resounded forth! We left to the Mount of Olives. I noticed that Judas was gone. He really has been acting strangely. I am sure he will rejoin us.

We settled in a grove, weary from the meal and wine. Yeshua spoke. He spoke of the scattering of sheep, of getting our bags and weirdly of taking a sword, and of going again to Galilee. I was lost with all but the mention of a sword—yes, we will need it for the Romans!
Then he turned to Peter and out of the blue said something about Satan choosing him to test and that Peter would deny him. Peter and Satan again! I was horrified! Was he accusing Peter of betrayal? Is he the one? Or is this something different? Surely not Peter!

As you can imagine, Peter was shocked—“no way will I betray you,” he cried, “even if the rest do! “

I don’t blame him. The truth is I took that personally—as if I would ever betray the Messiah! I wondered if Peter is a betrayer?
Yeshua fixed his penetrating eyes on Peter, and told him that before the rooster crows to raise the dawn, he will disown him three times. Peter kept protesting his innocence; as did we all! The truth is, we had no idea what was going on? We were about to find out.

We went onto the garden of Gethsemane, the valley of oil. We were tired. Jesus told us to wait, and left us with Peter, James and John. As I like to do on such occasions, I followed at a distance, to see what would happen. He told the three to watch and pray and he went deeper into the grove. He fell to the floor, tears streaming from his face like blood, in horrific anguish. I have never ever seen him like this—I was moved. He cried, “Abba, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
I felt a growing sense of excitement! This is it! The cup—yes, I remember him speaking to James and John about  the cup of suffering—the war! It is about to begin! Tomorrow! Of course, after the Passover—a new Passover, a new covenant! Glorious! The blood of the Romans will be the sacrifice for the new covenant. Blood would be shed tomorrow! That is why he is so full of concern!

Yet something troubled me about his words, they didn’t quite fit what I was thinking, but I shook it off. No, that must be what it means. I shrunk back, lay down to rest, and slightly inebriated, was soon asleep—dreaming of the liberation that was about to begin! Was I ready? I would soon find out!
The next thing I knew, all hell broke loose. At first I thought it was on! But no, there was Judas with a crowd of hooligans armed with swords and clubs. Yeshua faced him, the other ten disciples were gathering behind him, waking from their slumber. It’s not Peter, it’s Judas! Not him, we are great mates! Everything was a blur. Judas greeted Yeshua with a kiss of greeting. They exchanged words. The men grabbed Yeshua. Peter proved he is no betrayer or denier and swung his sword at one of them slicing off an ear. I was about to wade in but Jesus cried, “no more of this!” He reached out, touched the ear of the man and healed him! He said something about not leading a rebellion—I thought, “Really? I thought you were.” He said something about arresting him in the temple. He put up no resistance. We were in disarray, confused and scared. I saw some of the crowd move to grab us. I saw others begin to run, clothes flying. Then I ran myself, fled with all my being. What the hell is going on?

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1003 (Evening)

We walked the three kilometers back to Bethany and were surprised to find we were not eating at Martha and Mary’s. They need a day off for sure! Rather, we had been invited to the home of a certain Simon, one of the many lepers whom Yeshua had touched and healed—I still marvel at such power. As you can imagine, as a man who lost everything with his leprosy, Simon is not a wealthy man. Yet, he loves Yeshua so much that he will not take no for an answer. Yeshua refuses to dishonor him, and so we went to eat with him and his family. The meal was simple, but generous and good. He gets the idea of generosity, like the widow. In fact, it is nearly always people like the healed leper who do.

As we reclined, a woman came in to the home to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive perfume. As I observed her approach Yeshua from behind as he stretched out from the table, I remembered a similar event back in the home of another Simon, the Pharisee (it was Nain I think). We were eating at his home when a prostitute came and anointed Yeshua’ feet with tears and perfume. I wondered what this woman would do. Is she a prostitute too I thought? I hoped not, they still make me uncomfortable. Not so for Yeshua, he is not at all concerned about such things—he just loves and embraces all “sinners”—but not in that way!

The woman snapped off the neck of the flask and poured it all over his head. It washed over his whole body, the room filled with the beautiful fragrance. We later debated what it meant—was she anointing him king in some way? Or as a priest like Aaron? Or did she just want to lavish him generously, as people sometimes did at meals and festivals? Anyway, glad it didn’t happen to me; last thing I want is to smell like a woman!

I then made a twit of myself again! Still thinking about the widow at the temple-treasury, me, Judas and a couple of others started to discuss whether this was a waste of money or not—after all, it was more than three-hundred denarii’s worth. Simon the leper could have used that money, would have fed him and his family for a year!  I dared to speak up and said, “what the heck are you doing woman? That could have fed the poor for a year!”

That went down like a lead-balloon. Yeshua rebuked me for daring to tell her off! He told me that she had done a beautiful thing and that throughout the world this would be told in her memory. That has a silver lining I suppose, the good news going to the ends of the earth—a sliver of hope of the good news of the victory of the “Lord” and “Saviour” (not Caesar) heralded to all. That hope was quashed by his other words though. He said something about her preparing him for burial—another parable alluding to his death or something? Why does he bang on about this death crap? Messiah’s don’t die; they inflict suffering and death on the enemies of Adonai. They raise the righteous! I really think I am missing something.

He also said something about him not always being with us, but the poor always being so. I suppose he must be talking about his going on some future mission to another part of the world without us, no doubt to suppress the Gentiles. Not sure why the poor would be with us after the great victory? Wouldn’t the curse of Adam be gone, the words of Deuteronomy no longer be relevant. Surely he has come to end that? Isn’t that what “good news to the poor” means? Yet again I was perplexed, humiliated and shocked. I would have thought he would have been infuriated, what with his commendation of the poor widow earlier in the day, and his constant appeals to care for the poor! In fact, that seems his number one issue!

When Yeshua said these words, I heard Judas mock Yeshua under his breath and say something like “that’s it, enough, I’m out of here.” He slipped out. No idea where he is going, but he is the one who is most agitated with Yeshua’s behavior. Will talk to Judas about it later if I get the chance.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1003 (Afternoon)

After a spot of lunch and the midday prayers it was back to the Temple, this time to the Court of Women. We sat beside the Temple treasury with its thirteen trumpet shaped receptacles into which people make their various offerings. Passover is a great time for people to show the world their generosity to the Holy One. We observed people of great wealth placing in huge amounts of gold and silver coins—I was impressed at their piety.

As we watched, an old woman dressed in black, clearly a widow, shuffled over to the freewill offering chests. We watched as she drew two small leptons from her bag, looked skyward with reverence and placed them in. It would take 100 of these to make up a day’s wages.  I wasn’t impressed after seeing all the generosity of the others. Yeshua spoke, telling us that she had given more than the others for she gave out of her poverty, all she had to live on. I felt rebuked, but said nothing. He’s right of course. I wondered if there was a link to the earlier mention of the sort of widows that the scribes devoured earlier. I was reminded of Yeshua’s teaching on wealth—wealth is a gift to be used for God and his purposes—we cannot serve both the Father and money. But I like money!

Yeshua made to head back to Bethany. As we turned, the sun caught the Temple, and its radiance burst forth over the valley. I couldn’t help myself, and said “Look Rabbi! What huge stones! What glorious buildings!” I truly love the Temple, it is a wonder, worthy to be the centre of the world!
Quick as a flash, Yeshua spoke, “Do you see these great buildings. Not one stone will be left on another, every one will be thrown down!” I gasped audibly; shocked and dismayed. What was this teaching? He had already debated the destruction of the Temple with the Jewish leaders—here we go again! What event could possibly cause this? Surely, this Temple will never fall again! There would be no Babylonian or other invasion, as at the time of the exile! Messiah has come, Zion will reign, the nations will flow in and like the widow, bring their wealth!

We walked and sat and rested on the side of the Mount of Olives, enjoying some shade in the heat of the spring-day. He sat with Peter, James and John—I sat at a distance and listened. They too had been stunned like me at any thought of the destruction of the temple! They asked when it would happen?—hoping to decipher the parable. Yeshua then gave one of the longest speeches I have ever heard him give. He spoke of wars, earthquakes, false Messiahs; of his people persecuted and hated, tried and imprisoned before Jews and Gentiles; of the gospel preached to all nations; of families torn apart. He spoke of the desecration of the Temple, as in the days of the horror Antiochus Epiphanes (may he be cursed!) who tried to set up his altar of Zeus Olympios in the Temple—may such desecration never happen again!  He warned of a time of horrific suffering, even the elect deceived, signs in the sky, and the Son of Man coming in glory on the clouds—my mind went to Daniel 7 as it often did when Yeshua used that name. He spoke of angels gathering God’s people. He told us to watch for the signs. He warned us not to try and predict the day—even he didn’t know when this would occur. Finally he told us to keep watch, speaking parables to reinforce the point.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. Was it all just like the words of the writings of our times, full of symbolism or imagery? If so, what did it point to? Was it a prediction of another attack on Jerusalem—would the war for the world involve its destruction again? The writings of Zechariah spoke of such things perhaps. What is this coming of the Son of Man? Is it his elevation to his glory? Yet again I was at a loss. Time to head back to Bethany.

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1003 (Morning)

We rose again in the morning, this time with muted expectation. A few bits and pieces to eat and then we again headed into Jerusalem. The fire had gone from us all, replaced with concern. No-one dared to ask Yeshua what was going on, we were all worried. We had talked into the night while Yeshua wandered the hills as is his custom. No-one could figure it out. Some believed today would be the day and were hopeful. Most were not so sure. 

We walked past the fig-tree; the one Yeshua had cursed the previous day. As usual, Peter could not hold back, and blurted something about it. Yeshua took the opportunity to remind us of the power of prayer—if we believe, we will see glorious happen, like moving mountains. I prayed for the end of Roman rule. I have faith! Actually I feel more like the man who a while ago cried out to Jesus, “I believe, take away my unbelief!” But I would never admit it. We shouldn’t be surprised that the tree withered; after all, this is the guy who calmed the storm, walked on water and more. When he commands, nature responds; another indication of his immense power. Why doesn’t he use it on the Romans? Or am I missing something? 

We arrived at the temple and Yeshua walked the courts. The sellers and money-changers were back in business, but Jesus didn’t seem interested in a repeat of yesterday’s reaction. He was watched closely by the temple soldiers and leaders. 

As he walked a group of priests, scribes and others came to Yeshua. He stopped. They challenged him, “by what authority are you doing these things?” My heart rose, perhaps now he would demonstrate his power. My hopes were dashed as Yeshua gave them a riddle about John the Baptist’s authority. The leaders refused to answer, no doubt not wanting to commit either way, or earn the ire of the crowd or betray themselves. Because they refused, Yeshua stated he would not answer their question. Furious, they left. My confusion deepened. When will he make his move? I looked around at the other disciples. I expected Peter to rebuke Yeshua again, but there would be no repeat of Caesarea Philippi.

Then, as the Jewish leaders withdrew, Yeshua sat and began to teach. The leaders paused at a distance to listen. He told a story of a vineyard. We all knew immediately that the vineyard is Israel, Isaiah liked that metaphor too. Perhaps this was the story that would set ablaze the revolution. It turned out to be nothing of the sort. Rather, it was more provocation of the leaders. He likened them to tenants of the vineyard who had failed in their task. Tenants! They see the promised-land as theirs by right—that will hurt! The tenants had refused to listen to servants sent from the owner to gather fruit—I assume it meant prophets and is basically insulting them as failed fruitless leaders, like the shepherds of Ezekiel. Nice! Even worse, Yeshua was likening them to the leaders of Israel who caused the exile! What is he doing? Then in the end these tenants kill the son! What is he saying? Another parable of his death perhaps? Then the owner came to kill the tenants—wow, that sounds like a direct threat of the Holy One’s judgment! Then a quote from Ps 118, the psalm sung as he entered Jerusalem—of the builders rejecting the cornerstone. What is he saying? I watched the leaders’ faces closely, their patience was wearing thin—if he wasn’t imbued with the power of Adonai, he would be in serious trouble! 

Then more leaders came to Yeshua. This time I could see their ruse. They challenged him on paying taxes to Caesar. Clever! The Sanhedrin cannot kill Yeshua, they have no authority. Yet, if they can demonstrate he is a threat to Rome, they can work with the Romans to deal with him as they do all insurrectionists. Would that be a bad thing though? Yeshua would then show his hand, and begin the destruction that is sure to come—that might be the plan? But, Yeshua was too clever for them, and avoided their snare with another ambiguous parable—“give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” I am still not sure if he was saying we should or should not pay taxes, after all “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”—I think the former, he always pays his taxes. In fact, he shows no inclination to speak against Rome—that’s strange now that I think of it? 

Then some Sadducees came to Yeshua. Up until now they have hardly shown any interest in him—after all they are in bed with the Romans and don’t even believe in a Messiah or the resurrection. They have terrible theology! This time they made up a convoluted story about marriage and resurrection—trying to expose that resurrection is not in the Torah. Yeshua dealt to them, but again he was so provocative. He said “you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Far out! That is red rag to a Sadducee-bull; they pride themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures! Still, his answer that God is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob was inspired—resurrection is in the Torah.

The theological attacks went on unabated all day. Another scribe who liked Yeshua’ answer to the Sadducees asked him which commandments are the most important. He seemed a bit more genuine than the others. I knew what Yeshua would say, he has hammered it into us—love God, love others—including enemies! Well, except the Romans I assume, they need to be sorted out first. The scribe liked the answer—he is quite onto it for a non-disciple. 

I am not sure whether to be impressed at his brilliance—he can argue like one of the Greek philosophers; or better, Solomon himself! Or is he simply mad and wants to die?

Then Yeshua went on the offensive again, as he had with the story of the tenants. He quoted Ps 110:1 to make the point that the Messiah is not merely the son of David, but is the “Lord” who will reign until all his enemies are subdued. My ears pricked up at this. Was all this debating a prelude to the moment when he would call the leaders to him and smite the enemies of God? Is this the moment or…?

My hopes were immediately dashed as Yeshua launched a blistering attack on the scribes telling the people to watch out for them because of their love of nice clothing, honour, long prayers, and unbelievably that they devour widow’s houses! I saw their faces. Oh my goodness! Is he serious? 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1002

Wow! Today was a really strange day! Not at all what I expected! Yesterday ended with killing the fatted calf and today began with yet another great feed; Martha’s unleavened bread is to die for. Then we headed into Jerusalem again. No big crowds today, but the anticipation in the group was massive.  I noted that the women, especially Martha’s sister Mary, were as excited as the men. Some of them are also keen to be involved in the war—I heard them talking about Deborah last night. I am not so sure, but Yeshua doesn’t seem fazed at all. They are getting more involved since Mary sat at his feet. He is so inclusive. Anyway, we were well fed and ready for war!

All except for Yeshua who hadn’t eaten with us; he was starving, the result of another night praying on the Mount. I really think he should have had a feed and got some sleep for the conflict ahead.
As we headed toward Jerusalem we walked past a fig-tree and, hungry as he was, Yeshua wanted a feed. He chose it because it was covered in leaves and so should have had fruit on it—even though it was early in the season for fruit. But he found nothing there. We were surprised that he was really annoyed. We heard him speak to the tree, cursing it with barrenness, and then moving on. I had never seen him do anything quite like it before. Normally he speaks words of life and fruitfulness. As usual, there is likely some double meaning in this—perhaps it is symbolic of the end of the Romans. Whatever, he seemed in a bit of a mood. As I thought about it, that pleased me—he needs to be full of fire to be ready to attack the Romans. They won’t go down easily! As it turned out he was fired up, but not to do what we expected.

We entered Jerusalem again. We were keyed up. After all, today was the day he would begin the revolution, or at least get preparations under way. He led us to the temple, not that surprising—the ideal place to call the people of Israel to his side. The leaders were gathered watching him. But none of us, them included, expected what happened next. He went into the outer court, the court of the Gentiles. He pulled out some cords of rope he had brought with him and wandered around, looking intense. He wove them together as he walked—perhaps in preparation for a sign I thought. Suddenly, without warning, he went ballistic. With great force, he took what I now know was a self-made whip, and started driving out the sellers, overturning the tables of those who took the money from the pilgrims for sacrifices, and the seats of the pigeon sellers. The whole sacrifice system ground to a halt, such was his force! He cried out, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations” and “you have made it a den of robbers.” We all recognised the words—they were the words of the prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah. Their words were not well received 600–700 years ago, what was he doing?
As you would expect, he was soon challenged by the leaders seeking a sign. Now was his moment! I wondered what he would do? I am sure it would be good. Instead of a sign however, he said something about destroying the temple and raising it up in three days—what the? It is enough to stop the sacrifices! Destroy the temple! Whose side is he on? Naturally they asked how he could rebuild a temple that had taken 46 years to build in three days! He gave no answer. Yeshua talks in riddles. Why didn’t he just do a sign to demonstrate who he is?

I was stunned and totally confused! I wondered, “are you crazy Yeshua? If you want the leaders and men of Israel to join you, this is not the way to do it! Shutting down the sacrifice system and provocation is not the way to get them involved in the revolution. They will kill you!”
The other disciples and I looked around terrified. The leaders, the Pharisees, Sadducees, members of the Sanhedrin, priests and Levites, withdrew and stood in huddles talking. To say that they were furious is putting it mildly!—they looked thoroughly murderous! I thought they would arrest him there and then, but they held back. I am not sure why. I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had attacked him. I even thought about stopping him myself.

I even wondered if he was having a breakdown? Many leaders believe he has a demon—this kind of looked like he does! I have no idea what to make of it all! Unless this is some crazy preamble to revealing who he is? I still have hope, but only a glimmer!
After a few hours of this mayhem he turned and left the Temple courts. I still don’t know how he got away with it. We followed him back to Bethany in total disarray. This was not what we expected. A day that had started so glorious and hopeful is now in ruins. He will really have an uphill climb now to win the leaders over. Who is the real enemy here? He seems hell-bent of antagonising his own people—I thought it was all about the Kingdom of Israel! Where was this going?

Now we are back in Bethany. This time the food doesn’t interest me. I think I will go for a walk with some of the guys to see if we can make sense of it. Our hopes are in tatters! Where is this going?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1001

Ah, what a glorious day! We stopped at Martha’s again—another great feed! Yeshua was focussed, never seen him like this before—kind of tense, but his look was steel. 
He called me to him early the next morning with the one called the Twin (Thomas). A good sign to be chosen for the task, I am near the top of the pecking order! If I fulfil the task well, I will be granted more opportunities—Yeshua is big on doing the small things well and you will get more responsibility.
He told us to go over to Bethpage with clear instructions. I am still not sure whether he had set it up or whether it was word from Abba (Father)—wouldn’t be surprised if it was the latter. After all, he was up all night praying—again!  Does he not get sick of sleepless nights? I had gone with him to pray but, as usual, had nodded off—too much of Martha’s food and wine.

Anyway, he sent us to grab a donkey colt and bring it to him and tell anyone who cares that it is for the Lord’s work and we will return it soon. I was relieved; Torah (and Yeshua) forbids stealing. So we did as he said. I had no idea then what he had in mind.
Then we headed to Jerusalem. Ah Jerusalem, the Lord’s city, the glorious temple on Mt Zion, the throne of God, gleaming white and golden in the sun, its glory radiating to the world, soon to be the worship centre for all peoples. Rebuilding the temple is about the only decent thing the puppet imposter Herod has done! Now the temple was being readied for the great moment when Messiah liberates His people and Adonai himself comes to fill it!

Then I realised what the colt was for—he was doing a Zechariah 9! Brilliant! Such a perfect and unexpected entry! Everyone expects him to arrive in a blaze of glory, on a warhorse perhaps. Instead, he will enter, righteous, gentle and humble on a donkey. Now they will know who he is! If they read the signs, they will recognise that this is their king coming with salvation to be welcomed in by his people! It sure was time for Zion and Jerusalem to party. Wow, this guy is good! We threw coats on the colt with joy. Yeshua climbed aboard. We headed up the hill, welcoming in our Messiah. Yes, it was on! We knew it. Even the grumpy Judas seemed happy.
The people had heard the news of his coming. They came out in their thousands. Many of the same ones who had come to the desert to be baptised by John—poor John, if he could have lived to see this day. We will avenge him!

Yes, they knew the moment had come! Not most of the leaders though, they weren’t impressed. They still don’t know what to make of Yeshua. But they will soon, he will win them over. Thus far he has refused their request for signs proving that he is Messiah. No doubt he will prove his Messiahship soon!
The crowds, as they did in the times of King Jehu and Judas Maccabees threw cloaks and palm branches on the ground to welcome in their king—they knew what was going on. We sang the Passover song, Hosanna (save), blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We sang of the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!  Kids were singing too. Never heard singing like it. It was a glorious time. The perfect start to the liberation of Israel and, after the mother-of-all wars, the restoration of the world! Won’t be long before I take my place ruling (with the others of course)—I can see myself in purple, and I look good!

Then we went to the Temple, into the Courts of the Gentiles. Not sure what Yeshua was doing, but he just seemed to want to observe. I kept thinking he would call the leaders and people to him and get things started, or perhaps start healing the sick, or do some glorious sign, or even cut the nonsense and just go to the Roman fortress Antonia to talk terms. But no, he just wanted to have a look. He did seem deeply troubled though, not sure why—perhaps it was the excitement of the coming war. Still, why not take your time? No one can touch him. He needs to get this right. That said, it all looks good to me; people here for Passover from all over the world, buying sacrificial animals to offer to God—that can’t be wrong, can it? What a perfect time to start the final uprising.
Then abruptly, as the day grew late, he said, “Enough. Back to Bethany.” He turned and left. He set quite a pace. We followed, eager for tomorrow to come. Deep down I wasn’t upset to get out of there. I was hungry. Time to carbo-load at Martha’s again. Who knows when I would get a proper meal again? It was going to get messy! Surely, tomorrow it would begin.

Diary of a Disciple: Day 1000

This appears also on the Laidlaw College Blog. It is the imaginary diary of a disciple with Jesus in the Easter week. It is day 1000 in this disciple's walk with Jesus.

What an amazing few days. There was Yeshua, for the third time, telling us that he is going to be rejected, arrested, suffer greatly, die and then rise. Why does he say that stuff all the time? It is nonsense! None of us really get what he means. He can’t be taken literally most of the time anyway. No doubt it is another parable. I am sure he will explain it when he is ready.
Some weeks ago, Peter tried to talk to him about all this talk of suffering and death, but he flipped his lid, started rebuking Satan and telling us to keep quiet about it. Peter felt humiliated. Most people think Yeshua is a prophet, but we know he is the Son of Man, the Messiah. Peter said it, Yeshua confirmed it. So now we are nearing Jerusalem. We know the time is at hand. The last battle is about to begin. The Romans are going to get it. Can’t wait to see the look on Pilate’s face when Yeshua arrives—“you can have it the easy way or the hard way Pontius. Surrender now, or face the might of the Lord of Hosts!” No doubt the arrogant dog will take the hard way. I hope so. What a joy it will be when the Romans, horses, chariots and all, go down under his power! Just like the Exodus! Man, I can’t wait to get into it. The one who must not be named with bring us a glorious victory—just like the first Yeshua with his twelve when conquered and first took the land—this twelve with the angels and armies of Israel will destroy! Just like David and Goliath or Judas Maccabees—none of them had the power of Messiah with them! This time there will be no mercy! The land will be completely cleaned. Gahanna awaits all he enemies of the Holy One!

I must admit to some nervousness—more excitement though rather than fear. Why would I be afraid? Our leader can slip through crowds untouched, turn water to wine, drive out demons, raise the dead, walk on water, and calm a storm? Food won’t be a problem, a couple of loaves and fish will do.

Yesterday he did it again. There was a beggar on the side of the road, blind as a bat—Bar-Timaeus, “son of a man of honour.” I still wonder what he did to deserve his life, what he had done to shame his father. Yeshua has taught us that such things are not necessarily because of sin. I know he is Messiah, but I can’t shake off the feeling that Bartimaeus must have done something wrong. Must ask him later, he has joined our army now. The guy kept yelling out to Yeshua for mercy, calling him “son of David.” Somehow he knew he is Messiah. The weirdest people recognise Yeshua.
Then I made a right goose of myself. I tried to stop him getting anywhere near Yeshua, like I had tried to stop the kids coming to him a few weeks ago! Again I was rebuked—man he makes me feel so stupid sometimes. Still, I know he honours me; after all, he called me to be one of the Twelve—to lead the liberation of our people. Then he healed him. Yeshua is a freak! With that power, nothing can stop the coming of the Kingdom of Israel!  

I can’t wait to get into Jerusalem. Not sure what will happen. Likely he will gather the leaders of Israel, demonstrate he is Messiah with some signs (like Moses did back in Egypt), and then lead the onslaught, the vengeance of Elohe Tzevaot (“Lord of Hosts). He sort of told us that the great war was coming, we would fight and some die. He twice told us that if we want to follow him we must take up our crosses. Some parables I don’t get, but this one I understand. Some are going to die in the great war, hung on crosses by the filth. Others will not taste death until the glorious coming of the Kingdom—the victory! Awesome, a shortish war with many of us living through it! With his power, it will be quick and glorious!
I am not sure what I want more, to die in the battle and attain the glory of a martyr at the resurrection, or to see it come to pass as we drive these damn Romans out of our Land. Then no doubt we will march, first north and west, to take Rome—can’t wait to walk the Palatine in victory and tear down those idols and temples. And I can’t wait to see the look on Tiberius’ face as the armies of the Messiah force him to submit. Then again, if I do die, he will raise me, like he did the girl, the widow’s son, and Lazarus.

I am sure I will be one of the rulers of the golden age to come when Eden is restored after the filthy Gentiles are subdued. The Sons of Thunder with the help of their mum really got under my skin the other day. They dared to go and ask Yeshua to be his number one and two after the great victory! It will be tough competition for the places of glory. Let’s see how they go when the Romans come at them! The way that Simon the Cananion (Zealot) is behaving, he will be hard to beat—this stuff is his bread and butter. Or Simon Peter—the guy is so fired up after seeing Moses and Elijah and Yeshua lit up like lightening on the mountain, he might try and drive the Romans out alone!    
Surely, the time has come. A nice stop-over in Bethany, another great feed from Martha (not that Mary will help!), and then glory! Bring it on.