Beyond the Bars

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

Water or Wine? Man or Messiah?

On the fourth day of Master Simeon’s wedding feast, the wine ran out. We’d seen it coming, of course. The day before, my brother Jehu had hurried back to the kitchen with an empty wine jug in his hand, his forehead creased with worry. He rushed over to count the remaining wine skins and then silently beckoned me over.

“We’re not going to have enough,” he whispered. Continue reading

Follow Me

I bend down and feel for the money bag at my feet. It’s heavier than normal for this time of the day. I’ve had the usual quota of ‘poor harvest’ stories, of course, but generally people know I mean business. Pay your taxes or suffer the consequence, that’s my motto. There’s the odd person who comes in and tries to play the ‘we grew up together’ card. Yet, I always remind myself of how they treat me once I leave this booth. To them I am the scum of the earth. Continue reading

Water-Walking

In all my years fishing on the Sea of Galilee, I had never seen a storm like this. Throughout the night the wind’s strength grew. It belligerently resisted us, flinging angry waves across our bow. As we fought to stay upright on the crests and troughs, despondency set in. We were tired, soaked to the bone and starting to fear for our lives. Then we saw a shadow moving across the water. Terror clenched at my heart and someone screamed. Could this be a spirit—a sure sign that we were doomed to die in this accursed storm? Continue reading

The Empty Cushion

Today our journey finds us winding down a dusty path between simple mud-brick homes. As we duck into the narrow entrance of one of these, we hear the clatter of a falling jug followed by a soft curse. After the bright sunlight, it takes our eyes a while to adjust to the dark interior, and so we hear the talking and laughter before we actually see the group of people reclining at a low table. From behind a wall a woman appears, the shards of a broken jug in her hands. As she leans down to speak to the rabbi, her eyes narrow accusingly on the single woman in the group. Continue reading