THE PLAN – Roman Fort 2 miles east of Bethsaida
– Sea of Galilee shoreline, Bethsaida
“But because he is from Nazareth, you do not believe that this young rabbi is him.”
“Well, I’m not so sure. I have been hearing incredible stories of him transforming water into wine, healing of a demon possessed woman, and of a boy who was lame but can now walk. Then, my brother told me of a commotion he caused in the Temple last Passover.” Jacob chuckled and said, “Apparently, he was not very pleased with the corrupt practices of the money changers of the Temple.”
“Oh, of course, you don’t know of their scrupulous practices of cheating Temple worshipers who come to purchase animals for sacrifice but find out that their money have to be exchanged for Temple coinage. Added to the exchange rates and the cost of the sacrificial animals is the questionable Temple taxes. So, my brother said that this Jesus came and turned over their tables almost causing a riot. But it is what he said is what caught my attention. He said, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations. Take these things away. Stop making My Father’s house into a den of thieves.’ He spoke with such authority and zeal, I had to wonder. So, it is clear to me that you and I need to get closer to him. Fortunately for us, the young rabbi will be at Bethsaida tomorrow morning.”
Early the next day, Cestus knocks on Cornelius’ door. He was dressed like a local.
“Sir? Do we take horses?” he asked.
“No. We’ll walk.” Cornelius said. He too was dressed in nondescript clothing. “How about Trax?”
“No problem, sir. I’ve got him on stable duty. That should keep him busy until we return. Jacob is down below waiting.”
“Cestus, make sure you cover your face when we get there. Your clean shaven face is a dead give away. You’ll have to grow your beard. I’m thinking we’ll be doing more of these excursions.”
“Ay sir,” Cestus said as he left the room. Cornelius heard him mumbling as he walked the hallway to the stairs. “But them things will just make my chin itch for weeks.”
As the three of them left the fort, Cornelius decided not to go down the road but instead followed a goat track that led to the lake. When they reached the shoreline, they saw a lot of people on the beach heading for the fishing village part of Bethsaida. They discretely tagged along with a family group with children. It was not long until they approached the crude shacks of the fishing folk about a mile or so outside Bethsaida’s walls. They were built in loose clusters about a hundred feet from the lake shoreline. There was one solid structure built right on the waterline. Jacob said that was where the fish mongers would inspect the fisherman’s catch and deals are made. A fair size crowd had already gathered in and around the building. Nearby, four long boats were beached and the fishermen busy doing a variety of chores.
The story continues on in my next post a week from now.
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