Miri and Yeshua lay together enjoying a moment alone. Yeshua was propped up by a pile of rolled nets and pillows, and Miri lay back on his chest, and his arms wrapped about her. Susanna and Benjamin slept on mats on the floor, and chickens pecked their way across the floor, seeking out scraps from the tables of their owners. It was one of their favourite places. The store room in Adam’s small house. It smelled of fish, and dust, but no one came there looking for them.
So, when a knock came on the door they started immediately, and held their breath while they listened.
It was Mother Mary. They were both relieved and concerned at once, for they were thankful it was not an agent of Herod, or a supplicant, but concerned for Mother Mary disapproved of their lifestyle and the new calling they had accepted.
They sat up immediately and adjusted their clothing. Miri sat up primly, and Yeshua straightened his hair and opened the door. A shaft of light cast across the room and the shadow of Mother Mary crossed the floor and fell upon the children sleeping on the floor.
“Mother!” said Yshua, “Come in!” he opened the door wide to allow her to enter. She took a deep breath and stepped over the raised threshold. She chose a wooden crate upon which to perch.
“Would you like some water?” he asked, lifting the lid to an earthen tureen set into the floor. “I am not thirsty!” said Mother Mary. “I have come to ask you to stop preaching!”
Yeshua’s eyebrows rose in disbelief.
“How can you ask me such a thing?”
“You will die if you continue!” said Mother Mary.
Yeshua held out his hands.
“I am very much alive! As you can see!”
“Yeshua, you have set a dangerous course!” said Mother Miri, “Are you as mad as Yahja? Look what happened to your cousin! You think that God was looking out for him?”
“He could do nothing more or less than that which he had done!”
“Nonsense!” retorted Mother Mary imperiously, “He could have kept quiet! Who cares how he thinks about this and that! And you! Are you so wise? What is it you know that others do not? Are you such a wise man these days? Can you tell me you are right and everything else is wrong? Can you do that?”
“Right or wrong means nothing to me!” replied Yeshua, “The world is what it is, no matter what I think it should be!”
“You will be crucified by the Occupation forces if you continue to raise the people against them!”
“Mother, I am not raising the people against Rome! I am raising them to help each other under the yoke of Rome! None of us can bear such a burden alone! But together, no one can keep us enslaved! It is we who must decide upon our fate! Not some tyrant in Rome!”
“You see?” retorted Mother Mary, “That alone is treason enough to be nailed to a cross! Do you think that the Sacred Imperator will see empowering the people with their own will over his own as anything but a threat to everything he believes? Do you think he really cares what you or I think or what we say? Of course not! He cares only for his own power, and he will crush anyone taking that power from him! Anyone challenging his authority will feel the heel of his boot! If I say Miri is Queen of Heaven, or you the Pontifex Maximus, would he suffer me gladly? Do you think he would allow me to run the streets of Rome calling for these things? Would he set me in his hall and allow me to say whatever I might wish?
And if I, a Mother of Israel, cannot speak my mind, what makes you so special? Do you believe the people who say you are the Messiah? Do you think those who call you the Messiah will follow you to your death? They will scatter as seeds to the wind when the dogs pull apart your flesh and the carrion birds peck out your eyes!”
“Mother! I am what I am! I cannot change that. It is not even my will that propels me forward! I am moved by will of God!”
“It is bad enough that you and God are bent on destroying your own life, but you are taking Yakov and Yahnni and the others with you! Your speeches and rallies put us all in jeopardy! Will you take us all down with you? Have you no care for your bothers and sisters and mother, that you will cause us all to be executed along with you?”
“Those who fulfill the Word of God are my brothers!” retorted Yeshua, “Those whose Deeds make the Word of God incarnate amongst us are my sisters, and those who live by the Word of God are my Mother!”
Mother Mary stood up angrily.
“You are as pig headed as your Father!” she exclaimed and for a terrible moment she wished she could have taken back her words, but she did not; she fled from the shelter, and Yeshua, stung by her accusation, stood immobilized, unable to respond.
Tears welled in his eyes.
“Yeshua,”whispered Miri and held out her hand, but he could not respond, so she rose and took his hand, and pulled him down to rest his head upon her breast, and rocked him back and forth. “Know she acted from Love, Yeshua! You are the fruit of her womb and every prick and ache you bear, she suffers also! She cannot bear the thought of you being taken away!”
“But why does she not understand?” he asked hoarsely.
“She is as blinded by Love as your enemies are blinded by Hate!”
“But you love me, do you not?” he asked, “Do I pain you as much as I seem to pain her?”
Miri did not answer his question immediately.
“Sometimes more!” she replied sadly.
“Why do you stay?” he asked.
“Love transcends even pain! Love transcends Death! Love is the Universal Truth that conquers all Deceit, all Betrayal, and the Evil that Men do!
The next day Yeshua told his disciples that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, perhaps even die, but their love would make all that trivial and unimportant. Shimeon himself would not listen to talk of suffering for he did not believe it possible. Yeshua rebuked Peter, saying, “You think now not the Will of God, but the thoughts of men!” He looked about at his disciples and told them, “Whoever follows me, must deny Self. Whoever seeks to save their life for themselves shall lose Everlasting Life! Whoever loses his life for the sake of the Word, by doing so, will save it. What profit falls to you, to gain the whole world, yet lose your soul? What would you give in exchange for it?
Whoever is ashamed of me, whoever is ashamed of my words whoever in this adulterous and sinful generation is ashamed of these things, of him even the Host of Heaven will be ashamed!”
He looked about searching each face for the face of the Soul shining within.
“Some of you have called me the Messiah and I have denied it! But it’s not from shame I deny you! It is from knowing such talk will bring me into conflict with the Laws of Rome! And that will give fuel to those who think I have a quarrel with Rome! It is not true! But it seems that Rome may have a quarrel with me! And I tell you this now: some of you that stand here, will not taste death, until they have seen the Word of God fulfilled! And so when others ask, ‘Is Yeshua the Messiah?’ answer, not in the affirmative, for it gives Rome reason to destroy me, but turn the question about and ask the inquisitor, ‘Do you believe Yeshua is the Messiah?’ and give them pause to think and answer, and know by their face the Truth!”
“So Kefar,” asked Yeshua, turning to Shimeon, “Do you still think I am the Messiah?”
And Shimeon, though he did not answer from thought, but his heart, replied, “Last night, I had a dream, and in that dream, you took me with Yakov and Yahn, and lead us to the top of a high mountain. Your clothes shone as white as snow! Brighter than any fuller on earth could bleach them.! And there, Elijah with Moses descended in a cloud from Heaven, and they were talking with you. And I said to you, ‘Master, I am afraid! Let us make three altars in this place! One for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah!’ but from a cloud that overshadowed us, a voice said, ‘This is my beloved Son! Hear him!’
But as soon as the voice commanded thus, the prophets were gone, save Yeshua and Yakov and Yahn and me. And you charged me that I should tell no man what things I had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead!”
“Yet you have told me now!” said Yeshua.
Shimeon realized he had told everyone he had known. “But it is a dream!” he complained.
“Is a dream any less the real?” asked Yeshua, “You think that Truth sits only in your hands and resides not in your heart?”
They walked that day from Chorazin to Kefar Nahum, and Miri and Yeshua walked apart, speaking between each other, and an argument broke out between the other disciples, and Yeshua, curious, asked them, “Why are you arguing?”
For a moment they held their peace. Finally, Adam answered, “I’m afraid to tell you! It was petty!”
But Yeshua prevailed upon him to speak, and Adam answered, “We were asking, who should be the greatest amongst us, and who should sit at your right hand and who to your left!”
And Yeshua shook his head. “Whoever desires to be first, must be servant of to the others. Only those who lift others above themselves at their own expense, will be exalted. But such a person does not need the adulation of others, so the best shall never be placed over the worst!”
And they sat down under a tree to partake of a meal, and a group od curious children came up and swarmed Yeshua, for they heard he was the Messiah, and Yehsua’s friends tried to shoo them away, but Yeshua spoke to them, “Suffer the little children unto me!” and they allowed the children to climb upon his knee and wrap about his back and shoulders, and Yeshua with a child in his lap, he said happily, “Any of you who receives a child and embraces the child with love, receives me, and Whoever receives me, receives not me, but the Power that sent me! If you become as innocent as these children, you will be written into the Book of Heaven!”
And the children in their midst took away their melancholy, and Yahn mentioned to Yeshua that he saw a man casting out devils in Yeshua’s name, while he was in the Decapolis, though he was not one of the Followers of the Way!”
“And did you speak with him?” asked Yeshua.
“I asked by what authority he did those things, and when he couldn’t give an answer, I rebuked him for his Deed!”
But Yeshua said, “Yahn, for no one who performs a miracle in my name, can lightly speak evil of me. Don’t anke the mistake that those who are not for us, are against us, but that those that are not against us do us no Evil.
Listen! Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, is a Follower of the Way! And Whoever gives succour to any one of these little ones or any other in need, a millstone hanged about his neck will not weigh him down, even were he cast into the sea! Don’t ask why they do these things in my name, but why a good Deed done by my Word should offend you! It’s your own eye that offends you! Your own ear is deaf to the good deeds of any person of any nation other than your own! If this is your reaction to any noble deed, then wash out your ears and scrub your eyes, for it they who shame me, not the doer of good deeds!”