THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch1 – part 6

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Tyre

General Gaius was a burly man in his mid fifties. He was reviewing some dispatches when Arturos and Cornelius entered his tent.

“Gentlemen, stand at ease,” said the General. He read for another minute or so. Then he stood up, walked around the table and greeted both men with the shake of their hands. “Centurion, you have come highly recommended from your last commanding officer and Tribune Arturos. Also, I believe I met your father one time or another.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“You are probably wondering how you have rated the senior rank of Primus Pilus at your age?”

“The thought did occur, sir.”

The General walked over to a large map of Palestine and the surrounding region. “Our Governor General is the prefect of this entire region.” The General was gesturing on the map from north area of the Lebanon all the way down to the Red Sea and Egyptian border of Gaza. “Do you see the problem?”

“Sir, that is a large area to cover with only our twelve cohorts that we brought in plus the eight cohorts that were already here.” Arturos said.

“Precisely, gentlemen. The territory is about the size of over a fourth of Italy but worst since the entire eastern border is open with the Jordan River valley as the only natural barrier. The main problem for the moment is not external. It is internal,” he said tapping in the Judean part of the map.

“This country is riddled with rebellion,” said the General as he sat back at his table. He picked up a scroll and opened it. “According to this, our forces had to quell about thirty uprisings since the old Herod died. The last one was just two years ago. An upstart called Bar-Jesus who claimed to be the Jews’ messiah was able to recruit the gullible fanatics… they call themselves zealots… and it were they that almost brought the populace to rebel almost successfully that the eastern trade to the empire was disrupted. It was by sheer luck that this Bar-Jesus was inept in his own country’s politics. It was the greed of the Jewish leadership that gave up his hide out and we were able to quash this rebellion. A thousand crucifixions still line the north caravan road to Jerusalem. But most of the zealots have blended back among the masses. We don’t know who they are.”

“This is where you come in, Cornelius” said Arturos.

“Me? How so, sir?”

“The Tribune came to us and said that not only can you speak the language of the Jews but you have a working knowledge of their culture and religion. An education that took up most of your youth. That makes you an expert. With what your former commander have written on his assessment of your command capabilities and your specialized education, the Governor had approved your advancement and commissioning you with a very important assignment.”

“General, I am gratified to serve. What are my orders, sir?”

“The Emperor Tiberius has his eyes on us. Pontus Pilate must succeed in not just subjugating this province but to prosper it. He will need up to date intelligence. He must not be caught unaware like his predecessor. You requested to garrison in the region of Galilee. That is good. That area is currently a hotbed of zealot activity. Root them out, Centurion. Establish a base of operation there. Get us that intelligence. The Governor will be at Caesarea Philippi for a year or so. Then he will take residence in Jerusalem.” He reached into a drawer and took out a short white baton with a silver wolf emblem on its crown and handed it to Cornelius. “This will give you governorial authority to make request of any military command in this region.” He hands a sealed leather bound packet. “Here are your orders and signet ring. Any questions?”

“Where will you be, General?”

“While the Governor is up north, I will be at the port city of Caesarea down south. I will sail with the fleet in a forth night. Dismissed, gentlemen.”

Cornelius and Arturos saluted and then exited his tent.

As they were walking slowly back to their respective tents, Arturos broke the silence. “Well, Cornelius, it seems that you got your wish to be assigned in the Galilee region. I’m a little concerned about this assignment. This assignment can make or break your career. The General didn’t say it outright but the implication is clear. Failure is not an option especially for you. And lately, I could not help but notice that you have been occupied with something.”

Cornelius paused and was about to reveal his thoughts but instead… he said, “No problems, Tribune. I will not fail.”

“Very well, Cornelius. The gods seem to favor you. So, let us hope that you will be successful in all the things you do.”

‘The gods,’ thought Cornelius. In his mind, he really is having a hard time believing that the gods have any influence at all. In about a week from now, he will be in a land where the people were given a promise of true hope by a god that supposedly has no equal. He will find out the truth.

 

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The story continues on in my next post a week from now.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

Thank you

Johann Q

 

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 012

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ANDREW THE FIRST DISCIPLE
30 AD Jordan River Valley

That night, Andrew and his friend John, son of Zebedee, brought the Baptist his evening meal.

“Master, when will the Messiah come?” asked John.

“He is already here!” he said. Andrew’s ears perked up at what was said. “You both didnot join me yet. It was more than a month ago. I was there at the river baptising people, when I noticed walking through the crowd the one person that I didnot ever expect to come to me for baptism.”

“Who was it, Master? Please…” asked Andrew eagerly.

“You have heard the tale of my birth, have you not? Of how an angel appeared to my father and told him of my coming as the one who will precede the promised Messiah? And of how I was miraculously born of parents who were old and barren?” Both he and John nodded. “Well, my birth was not the only birth that was extraordinary. Heed first this prophecy of Isaiah, ‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son…’ [Isaiah 7:14 NLT]

“Six months before I was born, a young maiden was also visited by the same angel that appeared before my father. After the angel revealed what the Lord wanted her to know, she traveled a long distance to see my mother. From what my mother told me, it was a meeting of recognition but not between mothers but between me and him, though we were yet born. I was twelve years old when my aged told me this. She told me that the Holy Spirit had conceived in her the son of God. A month later, my mother joined my father in the bosom of Abraham and grew up the rest of my childhood with kin in Jerusalem.

“Of course, I thought I met him once. Though, I am not sure but there was this one boy I ran into during the Festival of Booths. We looked almost the same age. We passed each other but then our eyes locked for what seem like a longtime. It was like we have met before. Then, we lost sight of each other. For years, after that I left my kin and sought out the secretive society of the Essenes. I thought I’d never see him again but then last year, I had a vision of how to recognise the chosen one.”

“Master, tell us, how did you recognise him?”

“When he approached, it was like I knew him before. However, I was puzzled why he wanted to be baptized. I said to him that it should be I to be baptized by him. But his reply to me was that ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ So, I immersed him and when he came out, a dove landed on his shoulder. Then I heard an echoing voice from Heaven, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ * It was the vision I saw come to life. Then he smiled at me and left.”
[* Matthew 3:15,17 NIV]

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 12th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

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FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 011

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ANDREW THE FIRST DISCIPLE

30 AD – Jordan River Valley

Andrew idolized the man who came out of the wilderness calling the people to repent their sins. They called him the Baptist for he publically dared to go against tradition and baptise people in the Jordan. The religious leader said no one will come. But yet they came and they came in droves.

Like Andrew, they came to see if he is the one, for his appearance, mannerism and boldness were like that of an old legend come to life. So many came that finally the Jewish leadership sent priests to the Jordan to investigate. Watching him submersing one person after another angered one of the head priests.

“Who are you?” the priest demanded.

The Baptist didnot even pause in baptising. When he brought up a woman from under the water and helped her to the shore, he said, “I am not the Messiah.”

“Well then, who are you?” a number of them asked at the same time. But the Baptist was submersing another person paying them no heed.

“Are you Elijah?” asked a priest sarcastically. Some of them were laughing but stopped when they saw him chuckling.

The Baptist still chuckling, stood there knee deep in water, lifted up his arms to display his garment and long hair and beard. Then he nonchalantly replied, “No.”

Another asked, “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”

The Baptist shook his head in the negative, as he submersed an old man.

“Then who are you?” asked a priest who seem to be concerned. “We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”

Then Andrew observed the Baptist’s posture change. There was also a gleam shining in his eyes as he faced them. He gestured to his followers to hold back the next person. Then looking to not just priests, he says in a very loud voice, “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the LORD’s coming!’ ”

Andrew was stunned, for he recognized those words. They were the words of the prophet Isaiah.

Other men who accompanied the priests also recognized the words as well. They were Pharisees, not priests, learned men of the leadership. They too asked, “If you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”

The Baptist smiled. Then he bent and cupped some water in his hands and said, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 11th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch1 – part 5

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Tyre

Cornelius saw that his ship was steering to shore north of the city. He saw anchored in a wide bay many other Roman ships busily unloading supplies and men unto a flotilla of small boats going back and forth to the shore. The other ships of his fleets were beginning to weigh anchor too but not his galley and the two other large galleys. All three ships had furled their sails and started to row closer to shore. At first, he thought the ships were going to be beached, then he saw several floating piers jutting out from the shore. His ship steered itself to one. Flavius who had come up to join him at the bow pointed at the pier ahead. Cornelius had to shade his eyes and peer at what he was pointing at. He finally focused on an officer waiting for his ship to dock. It was his commanding officer, Tribune Arturos, who arrived days earlier with the other three cohorts that sailed ahead of them.

Tribune Arturos was the son of a senator and belonged to one of the high class families of Rome. When Cornelius met him for the first time, he was unsure of the ways of the military. But he liked him. Unlike some high born commanders, he was not haughty and he was willing to learn. Eight months in, training and commanding two cohorts, Cornelius felt he will be a good commander.

“It looks like our young Tribune did not farewell on the sea voyage here,” commented Flavius with a little humor.

Cornelius smiled a little as he saw that Arturos’ armor was noticeably larger for his wiry body. He took a mental note to speak with Arturos that he does not have to use that ornately decorated breast plate except for ceremonial purposes.

“Flavius, you better get our standard ready. Looks like, we will be going formal.”

The ship gently moored itself on its port beam and the sailors secured the gang lines. Then they laid out the gang plank. Flavius, two other sub-officers and the cohort’s Signifer, a legionary garbed with a gray wolf head and pelt over his armor stood attention by the gang plank waiting for Cornelius. The Signifer carried the standard – a tall staff with the cohort’s emblem on the top. The emblem had the carving of Rome’s eagle encircled by a wreath. There were four medallions in a line below the main emblem. Cornelius put on his helmet and worked his way to mid-ship where they waited. Then they followed him off the ship. They formed up and together in step, they marched toward the awaiting Tribune. Then they stopped in precision. Cornelius saluted by banging his right fist against his chest then extended it with his palm facing out.

“Hail, Tribune.”

“Hail, Cornelius,” smiled Arturos as he reached out to shake Cornelius’ forearm. “Well met, indeed. How was the journey?”

“We encountered a storm last week but no ships lost. How was your trip over?”

“I don’t mind telling you. I was sick all the way until we arrived two days ago.” Both of them laughed about it. “The camp is only three miles up the coast. The city of Tyre is about twelve miles south. City is off limits by order of the governor.”

“Tribune?” asked Flavius. “Why did we have to land here? I thought there was a Roman port farther south. What was the name of that port?”

“Caesarea,” answered Cornelius.

“Governor Pontus Pilate wanted to hold court at Caesarea-Philippi in the mountains of Lebanon. Tyre was a lot closer than our base down south. So far, our three cohorts plus five other auxiliary cohorts will bolster the old Ninth Legion there. The rest of the fleet with the rest of our forces will sail south tonight and garrison Caesarea. Meanwhile, Flavius, you disembark the rest of our men from those ships and get them settled at our camp. Cornelius, you and I have a meeting with General Gaius tonight.”

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The story continues on in my next post a week from now.

If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.

Thank you

Johann Q

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 010

 

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DEMACLI, THE LEGION DEMONIAC
24 A.D. in the region of the Decapolis

Three nights later, he returned to the villa disheveled and dirty. He tiredly lowered himself to the ground next to the gate. A servant saw him and quickly brought Habbi.

“Master, we searched for you for days.” Seeing that he was aslpeep, Habbi shook him. “Master… master!”

Like waking up from a bad dream, Demacli sat up straight, looking around in confusion. He grasped Habbi’s sleeve and croaked in a parch voice, “Wha… what happened to me?” After drinking some water that a servant hastily brought, he said, “I woke up in a cave some miles from here. I don’t recall anything.”

 

“We are bringing you home,” his father said. “Habbi will stay to continue the business. My son, according to the priestess, you have been fooled by Ate, the goddess of mischief. I have heard that she had been casting her spells among the Jews lately. But I have heard of a prophetess of Hermes hiding in Cadasa in the region of Phoenicia that may free you. We must go there.”

“I hate to leave father but…”

“I know, my son. You have built so much, but I think you need not fret for I think you’ll return.”

But deep in his mind, Demacli heard a thousand laughters.

24 A.D. in the region of the Sidon, Phoenicia

“Can this hovel be the place?” The father asked their guide. The house was no more than a dilapidated shack in the edge of a forest miles from the nearest village. Though it was in shambles, there were signs of habitation.

“Oh yes, witch be there! But me no go near. You go… you go.”

Demacli was feeling a little better. The voices were not so overwhelming since they left the village they were lodging in for almost three weeks looking for this elusive prophetess.

He and his father got off the horses they were riding. The guide took the reins of the horses and rode a short distance away to wait for them. Together, they approached the shack and when they got close enough. His father placed a hand on Demacli’s arm to signal a halt.

Then, he called out, “We seek the prophetess of Hermes. We seek her aid.”

No answer came but Demacli noticed at a window a torn curtain move. Clearly, someone was in there.

“My son needs your help. I have silver to offer.”

They waited outside for about an hour, then suddenly the door opened and a feminine voice said, “Come in.”

Demacli was expecting to see an old chrone but to his surprise, they were met by a beautiful woman. She was not young but still held the beauty of her youth.

“I am Elpida. What makes you seek me? I am no longer a prophetess. Since I was cast out of Greece and returned home here where I was born, I have been branded a witch because I heal the poor with my poltices and potions.”

 

“Then, it is your healing that we seek,” said the father. He told her all of Demacli’s condition.

She had Demacli sit before her. She took his head and cupped his face with her hands. She looked into his eyes for what seem the longest time.

“I have come across this before,” she sadly said as she sat back rubbing her face like she was tired.

“This is not the work of the goddess of mischief. This is much older… even older than our gods.”

“What can we do?” asked the father.

“I cannot help you. All I can say is that in time, the spirits that dwell in you will eventually take control of you. You will be capable of doing despicable things but it will not be you. It will be them. There is more. These spirits are evil and they are spiteful toward us who walk this world. Legend says they were once favored but then, because of the evil done by their leader, they were cast down here on the earth never to return. They will torment you. Those evil things that you will do, you will be aware of it and it will drive you mad.”

Again the father asked, “Is there no hope for my son, ever?”

“I have traveled the earth seeking wisdom. Knowledge I have collected from Greece, Egypt, Sidon, Phoenicea, Persia and even the lost religion of ancient Mesopotamia. In every one, I have gleaned the existance of one God who is the god of all gods. It is to this God that these evil spirits fear the most. If there is any hope, seek those who worship the one God. Go to the Jews.”

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 10th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS. Here we pause the story of Demacli. We will see him again 7 years later. Meanwhile, we jump forward in time to 30AD to the story of Andrew, the first disciple.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 008

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DEMACLI, THE LEGION DEMONIAC
25 A.D. in the region of the Decapolis

“Master! The caravan has arrived!” A voice shouted from below.

“That makes your third investment in four months coming in with no mishap,” said Habbi. “Luck is finally with you.”

“Yes, it has,” Demacli said yawning.

“Master, what ails you? In some nights, we can hear you talking in your sleep. Sometimes, we hear screaming.”

“Bad dreams,” Demacli said almost hauntingly as he stood up and went to the window. “It is always the same dream.”

“What dream haunts you so?”

“I… I am in my room and hundreds of… shadows are trying to break in! Some nights, I can here them beckoning me to let them in. When I awaken, I am drenched in sweat. I try to stay awake but… my eyes become heavy. Then, the dream comes again.”

“Master, since you have gone to the temple of Dionysus, your businesses have done well. But now you are haunted by this. You must return to the priestess.”

 

“What is it that you seek of the gods?” asked the priestess in the center.

“I have these dreams…”

“Have your business improved?” asked the priest on the right.

“Are you not debt free?” asked the one on the left.

“Do you want… more? …fame? …power?” asked the priestess in an alluring voice.

“Yes… but the dreams?”

“Let them in,” said all three together.

 

Demacli was in the same room of his dream. The room was bare, devoid of any objects. There were no windows. The walls were lacking of decor and the ceiling was domed. Against one wall, there were double doors with a wooden bar across them keeping closed. Outside, he can hear the wind blowing and something that sounds like thousands of footsteps circling the room.

The doors rattled. Demacli’s heart raced and he rushed to the doors to make sure the bar was secured. He rested his forehead against the doors to calm his heart down. Then, there was a knock and a female voice.

“Remember the wealth… remember what we can give you. Let us in!” Those three words rung out again very slowly, but with the voices of thousands. “Let… us… in…”

Demacli started to tremble and shake all over. He wanted what the voices were offering but yet he was desperately scared. But as the voices continued, his resolve weakened. He straightened himself and slowly lifted the bar. He swung the doors wide open. Then, he woke up.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 8th segment of my 2nd ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS. In my next posting, we will follow Demacli’s story a year later.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

If you want to support my writing, please use my Go-Fund-Me site below.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

Please help me go mobile, donate at or share this link to others: https://www.gofundme.com/quadriplegic-needs-mobility