THE SIGN – Wilderness East of the Lake of Galilee
The patchy sail was drawing well on a westerly breeze. The inland sea was not too choppy and the sky was slightly overcast. The boat was an old one and double the price of its original value. Cornelius was at first speculatively concerned about a growing pool of water along its transom even after Jacob’s assurance that all boats leak. But seeing that it was manageable with Trax bailing the water out every so often, Cornelius forgot his initial nervousness. Cestus was on the tiller and quite adept in handling a boat since he grew up in a fishing village. He chose two other men, Nacob, the Syrian and Lyca, the Cypran.
It was around noon when they reached the eastern shore. There were six other boats drawn up on the pebbly beach. Cornelius was amazed of what he could only describe as a multitude which has gathered with more still coming.
After working their way through the throng, Cornelius found Jesus on the tallest hill surrounded by his closest followers. As they came closer, it was Jesus who came forward to greet them. Though some faces showed disapproval.
“Welcome my friends.” Jesus said.
Cornelius took a step closer. “Teacher, I have grave news. John the Baptist is dead!”
“Yes, I know. His followers came to me yesterday. Be not concerned, Cornelius. His death was not in vain.”
“Teacher! All these people…?”
“Yes! I came here to be with my disciples in solitude and to ask of my Father in heaven of his will. When we arrived many have already gathered. I received my answer.”
Then Jacob asked, “Rabbi? What is the answer?”
Jesus turned to Jacob, “Do you not see?”
Jesus then beckoned them all to follow him to a ridge where they can see the hills and valleys covered with milling people. Cornelius calculated that there may be about eight even ten thousand people that have gathered.
“What do you see?”
A number of his followers called out their answers, “a multitude…”; “a nation…”; “followers of Jesus…”; and so on. Cornelius even heard someone, a Zealot, more than likely, call out “…an army for God!”
Jesus raised his hand and everyone went silent. “Do you know what I see?” Everyone seemed to lean toward him in anticipation. In a quiet voice, he said, “Sheep with no shepherd.” Then he slowly walked back to the encampment.
The story continues on in my next post.
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