Based on John 18:28 – 19: 16
Rome never slumbers. The early morning clatter of chariot wheels and the rhythmic march of passing soldiers wake me before dawn. I long to rise and watch them, to recall what makes ours the greatest empire on earth, but pain pins me to my sleeping pallet. The gods have taken everything from me, even these simple pleasures. My wife … dead. My sons … indifferent. My rightful status stripped from me, humiliatingly, by the Emperor. Curse them all! Gods and people alike.
Soon one of my few remaining slaves will come to dress and feed me. Even in his eyes I will read scorn. To him I am an old, dying man. He will not see what I once was—a Roman prefect, power-wielder and judge, bestower of life and death. Continue reading
The hiss of my name draws me from a restless dream. Momentarily, relief surges through me; the gnarled hands pushing up from the soil to grasp at my brother’s ankles are not real. ‘Just a dream, just a dream’, my heart pounds loudly.
“Martha!” I hear the fear in my sister’s voice.
I stumble from the sleeping palette, remembering how Mary had coaxed me to leave Lazarus’ side in the night. “I will watch him for a few hours,” she had said. “He seems slightly better.” Because I was exhausted from two constant days and nights of standing vigil, I had agreed. And it was true that Lazarus no longer thrashed around in pain, even though his body still burned with fire.
Now I drop to my knees by his side. My fingers graze his forehead; its scorching heat shocks me. Only then, in the candlelight’s flicker, do I notice that Lazarus’ eyes are open. Yet, it is not my gaze he holds; his glazed eyes already seem to roam worlds far beyond our own. Continue reading
Months of work finally paid off, as Saturday saw the release of my book, ‘Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus’. Any of you who has had the privilege of writing and publishing a book knows what a great, great moment that is.
The Book Launch
I wanted the launch to be a celebration, not only of the power of stories and books, but also of friendship. Many of the people who were attending the event had really drawn alongside me on my writing journey, and I wanted to honour them for that. This, of course, required me to say a few words. Continue reading
I’ve coined—what I think—is a new term: popcorn thoughts. It refers to that chaotic frenzy of thoughts and worries darting around my mind a great deal of the time. Pop. There’s another one—worrying that I’m the only one whose mind is frenetic and unruly, and that right now you’re all staring blankly at the screen asking, ‘what is she on about?’ Continue reading
The sun is pounding down on my broken body. I close my eyes to keep away its sharp light, and fight down the nausea as my friends jostle my stretcher through the crowd.
“We’re almost there Eldad.” I hear the concern in Dan’s voice, and try to give a reassuring smile.
“Make way please,” he shouts. “Paralysed man coming through.”
“Hey,” a deep voice growls, “we’re all trying to see the Rabbi here. You can’t just push in like that.”
“Yes. Wait your turn,” other voices chorus, and I catch glimpses of scowling faces as I open my eyes again.
“This is hopeless,” Amos whispers. “We’ll never get into that house.” Continue reading
I nervously pace around the court of the Priests, paying little attention to the discussion around me. Joseph, the Arimathean, glances up and pats the empty space next to him. As I slide in beside him, he whispers, “Do not concern yourself, Nicodemus. The guards were merely sent to question the Rabbi, nothing more.”
His words are kind, but untrue. The chief priests have been lying in wait for the one known as Jesus, hoping he would appear at the Feast of Tabernacles. They have had guards posted on the temple steps watching for him. Continue reading
The full moon casts pale shadows around us as we enter the olive grove. I stay close to the one leading the way, the one known as Judas. A strange trepidation steals over me, and I grip my club a little tighter. What kind of resistance will we meet? This troublemaker Rabbi has some loyal followers, no doubt about it. Yet, more than that—he has…well…power. Maybe not all the stories are true. Like the latest one about him raising a man from the dead. Ridiculous! Only God himself could do that. However, there is no doubt he has some unusual abilities. Continue reading
“Papa!” I burst through the door. “There’s a man untying Barley and Copper.”
My father lumbers to his feet and strides from the house, just in time to catch the thieves leading our donkey and foal down the road.
“Hey!” Papa’s voice booms. “Where do you think you’re going with my beasts?” Continue reading
This Easter, I am taking us ‘inside’ several encounters Jesus had near his death. This first one takes place just days before the Last Supper.
My fingers shake ever so slightly as I slip—unseen—into Simon’s house. I can hear the laughter coming from the back, and I grip the jar a little tighter. At home, the idea had seemed perfect. What better way to show my love and devotion than to pour out my most precious possession on him who has saved me…loved me…healed me? Yet in this unfamiliar house full of men, my resolve wavers. What will his disciples think? What will my brother Lazarus think? And Martha? Will she wear that disapproving pout for the next few days, the one that—without saying a word—shouts, ‘you are such a fool, Mary’? Continue reading
Christmas Devotion 2
Our Christmases are busy, bustling times. It’s surprisingly easy to lose sight of the miracle we celebrate: God coming into our midst. Even two thousand years ago in Israel—where people debated and discussed the Promised Messiah—there were few who truly recognised him. But step back into time with me and take a look at two who did.
My fingers graze against the rough walls as I climb the temple steps. I pause at the top to catch my breath, and look back over the sprawl of Jerusalem. In my youth I would have bounded up those steps two at a time, so keen was I to enter Yahweh’s courts. I’m still keen, Lord, just a little slower. The gate ahead of me leads to the broad Court of the Gentiles. Continue reading