THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch2 – part 9

City of Tiberius, GalileeCG-book-cover-w

God called out to them as they hid among the trees of the garden asking where they were. As they came out of hiding, Adam admitted that they both hid because of their fear and shame. When Adam was confronted whether he ate forbidden fruit, he said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’ Eve herself said that the serpent deceived her. Clearly, Cornelius have seen this typical behavior before. They did not want to get in trouble, so they passed the blame to another. In fact, Cornelius realized, Adam so wanted to be righteous that he actually blamed God more than Eve. But God could not be fooled. First, God cursed the Serpent for his action. To the woman, God would multiply her pain in childbirth and that she will ever be dependent on her husband. To the man, God cursed the ground and man will have to toil to eat all the days of their lives until they return to it as dust. Then, after God made them clothing from skins, he cast them out of the garden into the world so that they will not eat from the tree of life and live for ever.
“Hold on, John… Let me clarify this for a moment,” Cornelius said as he process the story in his head. “If this story is true, then all the problems of the world stems from this point. My search on why things are the way they are have its beginning here in the Garden of Eden. This is difficult to accept.”

The Baptist nods his head and said, “Cornelius, I know that you are from a much different religion as mine. I do not expect you to believe right away. However, you grew up learning about my people and my God. So, I will ask you to temporarily assume that it is true and hear out the rest.”

“Very well,” Cornelius agreed. “I’ll concede, for the moment, that the story of what happened to Adam & Eve is right. I still don’t understand the connection between what happened to them and why I need salvation? Salvation from what?”

“Eternal damnation,” whispered the Baptist.

There was silence for a while, then he went on. “You gleaned that in the beginning, mankind had a close relationship with God. Do you remember that God created us in His image? Having the image or likeness of God means, in the simplest terms, that we were made to resemble God. Of course, Adam did not look like God in the sense of God’s having flesh and blood. ‘God is Spirit’ as it is written and therefore exists without a body. Adam’s body, however, did reflect the life of God in so far as his body was created in perfect health and was not subject to death. In the beginning, we were meant to live eternally with God… for as long as humanity had direct access to the Tree of Life, which if you recall is found only in the Garden of Eden.”

“But… because Adam and Eve were cast out of Paradise, we all eventually die,” Cornelius concluded. “Well, does not dying release us from pain and suffering?”

“Yes and no…”, the Baptist said. “Since, God is spirit, then as we are in His image, we too have spirits. The question is – where does our spirit go when our bodies die?”

“Well… we Romans, like the Greeks believe that the after-life is the under-world of Hades.”

“For us, we call it Sheol. The difference is that Sheol is devoid of love, hate, envy, work, thought, knowledge, and wisdom. Scriptures says that there is no light, no remembrance, no praise of God, in fact, no sound at all. All goes there and become weak, trembling shades who can never hope to escape from its gates.

“So, this place may seem to be to your liking thinking that you are forever free from pain and suffering. But I tell you, Sheol is temporary. Our time there would be like a blink of the eye. Then, we all face judgment where our sins will be accounted for. From there, the fiery pit of Hell where unimaginable suffering await us forever. Unless…” The Baptist stayed quiet and looked intently into Cornelius’ eyes.

“Unless… Unless God sends a Messiah!” Cornelius completed the sentence. “A savior to bring about a way for mankind to escape eternal damnation.”

“Yes… and that savior is walking here now. The time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” [Isaiah 9:1-2 NASB]

Cornelius recognized the words of Isaiah again.

“You have seen him, haven’t you? Who is he?”
The night was getting later. The guards and the two followers of the Baptist were asleep. Aroused by slight noise, one of the followers stirred and woke up. He looked around in the dimly lit chamber and heard that the sound was coming from the cell. He stood and peered through the door’s small portal. He could just make out his master sitting on the floor talking quietly to the strange Roman officer. He wondered what they were talking about. After awhile, he yawned and went back to where his companion was sound asleep. His last thought before he drifted away was what good will come about this encounter between the holiest and an unclean gentile.

End of Chapter 2

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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 031

DEMACLI, THE LEGION DEMONIAC
31 AD – Hippus, Decapolis (Southeast shore of the Sea of Galilee)faithful-encounters-cover-w

Demacli abruptly shouted a language that was unrecognizable to him. He started to dash down the slope, insanely screaming, towards the glowing person. As he came closer, the glowing one and the others turned toward him when they heard his maniacal tirade. Some of them were about to protect the glowing one, but he held them off. He took two steps forward and in a commanding voice, Demacli was commanded to stop. It was so commanding that he stopped like he was thunderstruck and fell to ground. The voices in his head were screaming in excruciating pain so much so, he was screaming out loud.

Then, the glowing one approached even closer. He spoke again in a language that he didnot know. It was the language of the Jews but yet older. Though he didnot know what he said, the effect on the voices sounded like they were being tortured.

Then he spoke but it was not his voice. “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” [Luke 8:28]

Then, Demacli’s vision clears. The man standing before him was no longer glowing. He was of average height. He had the dark hair that was about shoulder length and short beard and mustache. His appearance was plain and ordinary. To Demacli, he would not look twice at him, but yet the voice was clearly afraid of him and he called him the Son of the Most High God. Then, there was his eyes, which were deeply penetrating. He looked at Demacli for some time.

“What is your name?” he commanded with such authority and in Greek.

Then all the voices in him spoke out in a desperate shriek, “Legion!” The sound was so ominous that the man’s companions stepped back.

But the man, Jesus, stood his ground and said, “Legion, I command you to come out of this man!”

Demacli inadvertently doubled over in intense pain and screamed, “It hurts!” But this time it was in his own voice. Then again, the voices took over and pleaded, “Lord! We beseeched Thee! Do not cast us into the bottomless pit.”

Demacli painfully got up on his haunches and gestured to the distant herd of pigs feeding on the hill. He cried out, “Let us, instead, enter into those pigs on the hill.”

“Go!” Jesus said.

Demacli convulsed one more time, then it stopped. For the first time in six years, there was peaceful silence in his head. It was so quiet, it was deafening. He stood up blinking in surprise. Then everybody’s attention were riveted to a commotion on the nearby hill. When he turned to look, he saw the swineherds chasing the large herd of pigs racing uncontrollably into the lake. They all watched in fascination as everyone of the pigs went into the lake and under water. Soon, there are hundreds of floating carcasses being washed ashore.

“I… ah… I am free,” Demacli said almost not believing. “You have healed me. Are you a God?”

The man Jesus smiled and said, “Come, let us get you all cleaned up.”

Demacli was helped to the water where some of Jesus’ companions washed the grime away. After which they clothe and fed him.

When Jesus approached him, Demacli bowed to the ground. Jesus reached down and helped him to get up. Then, they started to walk along the shore and talk. Demacli filled with emotion was telling him all that he experienced. The more he told his story, the more his heart lightened and felt more free. By that time they both returned to the camp there was a gathering of people that came from the city. Apparently, the men who were herding the drowned pigs panicked, fled to the city and reported the strange event to the city magistrate. They made such a ruckus that a lot more people came along with the city guard to see what was happening.

When the magistrate saw Demacli walking calmly with Jesus, he asked in amazement, “Is that you, Demacli? You look calm and sane! What has happened here?”

Demacli told him how Jesus commanded the demons in him to come out and they went into the pigs that drowned. The town people started to mubble among themselves and referred to Jesus as being some kind of sorcerer. They started to back away in fear.

Seeing his people backing away, the magistrate said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen or heard of. I know not how this really happened, but you have powers that we do not want around here! We beg you, sorcerer, take your magic elsewhere and leave us in peace.”

The magistrate and the people backed away and fled back to the city. Only a few stayed and watched from a distance. Jesus looked at his companion and nodded. They proceeded to break camp and load up the boats.

“Lord, may I come with you?” Asked Demacli. “I have so much to ask and to learn. The voices that were in me said you are the ‘Son of the Most High God’. For years, as a Greek I always believed in the many gods of our beliefs. Now, standing here before you, I have serious doubts. Please Lord.”

“No, Demacli, go back to your family,” Jesus said smiling. “And tell them everything God has done for you.”

Jesus then led him away from the disciples as they continued to load the boats. He quietly said, “I will come this way again and I shall speak of my Father on High. Look for me in a years time.”

Demacli watched Jesus climb into the boat and sail away. He climbed up the hill and watched for a long while as both boats faded in the distance. He sighed deeply. Then, he walked back to the city of Hippus; back to his father’s house and told a most fascinating story.
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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 31th 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.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, please purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 030

DEMACLI, THE LEGION DEMONIAC
31 AD – Hippus, Decapolis (Southeast shore of the Sea of Galilee)faithful-encounters-cover-w

For the past five years, Demacli had lived a nightmarish existence. For a time, he was blissfully unaware of those periods when his body was taken over by some entity and did things that were unspeakable. Lately though, the demon or demons in him, have kept him aware but helpless to act when his body is taken over and over. His father who was overwrought with worry have searched the land high and low for a cure. He even went to the Jews as Elpida the prophetess had advised. But a priest of their temple had said that his son must become a proselyte, a covert into their religion. Then, there might be the possibility of healing, though the priest did not sound convincing. So, they gave up and returned to Hippus, their home city by the Sea of Galilee, where they had to contend with Demacli’s erratic behavior.

“Aaaargh!” Demacli snarled at the bright light of the torch.

“Look… it is the maniac again!” It was the voice of a city watchman who patrolled the streets after dark.

“He is naked again,” said another guard.

“He must be the one that assaulted that merchant a block away. Go get the chain.”

Demacli can see them clearly. There were three of them. After a couple of minutes, a fourth came up carrying a long chain. Demacli looked at his surroundings. He was in an alley and they blocked his way. To the city watch, he looked like a scared dog looking left and right. But from his perspective, he was pretending to be scared. He wanted to talk to them but he was not in control. One of the watchmen grabbed his arms to pin him down. Demacli started to yelp and whine like a panicked animal. The other men fastened iron cufflings on his wrists. Then they dragged him out of the alley unto the street.

“Let’s bring him to the square and chain him to the post. His father can claim him in the morning.”

When they dragged him to a waiting cart, his body went limp like he fainted. But Demacli was very much aware and knew what was going to happen. It took two men to pick him up and was about to cast him in the cart when he suddenly grasped the ankle of one of the watchmen and flipped him. His legs wrapped around the other man’s neck and toppled him over as well. He quickly got on his feet and with super human strength, he grasped the chain and broke it. The other watchman was stunned and slowly backed away. Demacli started to run with dangling chains, laughing out maniacally. The rest, he did not remember.

Demacli heard birds chirping. He peeked his eyes open to find a bright blue sky. When he sat up, he was in the midst of several burial cairns, one of which was freshly dug up. He cringed at the thought that he was hiding in it. He heard sea gulls in the distance and looked out at the lake. Two fishing boats can be seen heading to this shoreline. He turned to his right attracted by the sounds of snorting and squealing. A large sow and some piglets were nuzzling and feeding around the stone mounds of the dead. He stood and saw a larger herd of pigs higher up on the nearby hill being watched by a couple of swineherds.

He hungrily eyed a piglet that was nearby. Voices in his head were teasing him to catch it and tear into its flesh. Then, he saw that both boats had already made landfall and the people of the boats were setting up camp. Demacli suddenly felt both anger and fear deep down. For a brief instance, he almost had control of his faculties but then, he could not help but stare intensely at the people on the beach. His vision darkened, like the sun went behind a dense cloud cover, but the sky was clear. There was something odd with his perception of the people at the beach. Most of them were quite dim but one. That one person was glowing brighter than the others.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 30th 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.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, please purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch2 – part 8

City of Tiberius, GalileeCG-book-cover-w

“Before we start, Centurion… Ah, may I call you by your name?”

“Please… by all means.”

“Thank you, Cornelius. Please call me John. Now, let me clarify that it is true that Israel awaits the coming of a savior who will lead them to freedom. I will even say so boldly that they wait for the Messiah to push you Romans out of Israel forever.” When he saw the concern on Cornelius’ face, he chuckled a little and said, “Be not too alarmed, Cornelius. When the Messiah comes, I believe the salvation he brings will not be limited for my people alone but for all man… for you, Cornelius.”

Cornelius blinked and sat up straight. At first, deep inside, he resented the notion. How is it the he needed to be saved? Saved from what? But before he could ask, John the Baptist asked his question first.

“You are seeking meaning in your life, are you not?” Then he continued saying, “You are a soldier who have seen much death and suffering. You yourself have killed. You desire answers especially on the question on why you need salvation by our Messiah.”

Cornelius nodded.

“When one seeks meaning… answers, then that one must go back to the very beginning for perspective.”

“Where?”

“I think you know.”

How would he know? He thought to himself. Then an old childhood tale of a garden, a tree, a man, a woman and a serpent that can talk came to mind. A story he thought was made for children.

“Creation story of Adam and Eve?”

The Baptist nodded then said, “Think about it. What did they have?”
The creation story is the beginning of Moses’ five books of the Torah. It tells in prose how God created the world by voicing into the darkness and just said ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. That was the first day! In the course of five more days, God called into being the sky, land, vegetation, and every kind of living creatures including mankind. Then the story focused on how God fashioned the first man and named him Adam. From the way the story goes, Cornelius imagined God carefully and lovingly mold Adam from the dust of the earth then breathed life into his lungs. Then God placed Adam in a protective environment, the Garden of Eden, where even the natural law of survival was suspended. God provided everything for man; purpose, companionship, joy and life eternal.

“In the beginning, everything was perfect for man,” Cornelius answered.

“Why?”

“Because in the start, mankind had a very close relationship with God, their Creator… like family. But they lost it!”

“How?”

“God gave them one commandment, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…’ But the Serpent enticed Eve to eat the fruit, then she gave it to Adam who knowingly ate the same. Then something in them changed. I never understood what really happened.” [Genesis 2:16-17 NASB]

After Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were open. In other words, they became acutely aware of their nakedness and experienced shame for the first time. They covered their nakedness with fig leaves. Then when they heard the sound of God walking in the Garden, they both hid.

“There is a word… SIN. Do you know what it means?”

Cornelius frowned. It is a word strewn through out every book in the Scriptures. But for some reason, he never delved into it closely.

“By the look of your frown, you are not too sure of its actual meaning nor its significance.”

“My understanding is that sin is when you do wrong in God’s sight.”

“Yes but there is more. Isaiah wrote, ‘But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.’ ” [Isaiah 59:2 NASB]

“So, when they ate the fruit, they sinned and was separated from God. How does their sin entail for mankind?… at that matter, for me?”

Again, Cornelius saw the glint in the Baptist’s eyes. “Cornelius, if my own people would ask such questions as yours, well… never mind. The answer is what happened next in the story.”
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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 029

NAHAN THE PRIEST
31 AD – Temple Mount, Jerusalemfaithful-encounters-cover-w

The fat portions and the blood were brought to Nahan. He directed a priest to first splatter blood against all sides of the altar. With that done, the fat portion was placed on the hot grill of the altar. Flames shot up as the fat drippings hit the coals. Then he descended the steps and a tray of unleavened loaves that Simon brought as a peace offering was handed over to him. Nahan took a quick glance at Simon and the other men. Simon smiled and nodded. He started singing a psalm and was joined in by everyone else.

Nahan slowly approached the porch of the Temple a little apprehensively. It was a feeling he always felt. Afterall, he was about to enter the most holiest place on Earth. And he knew that his heart was not as pure as it should. His final task is to enter The Holy Place and place the unleaven loaves on the golden table for the Bread of Presence. He looked up at the two tall bronze pillars that flanked the golden double doors. The pillars were named Jachin and Boaz. Jachin was of the line of the priesthood. Boaz represented the line of David. The pillar were as tall as six men standing on each other. The gilded folding doors were almost as tall. Two minor priests stood before the doors waiting. As soon as he was inches from the doors, they slowly opened it, keeping their eyes downcast so that they would not look in. Nahan entered.

Inside was dark in contrast to the bright sunlight outside. He paused just inside the portico. As the tall folding doors closed, his gaze was greeted with a yellowish glowing shimmer reflecting on the golden walls. The Holy Place was a long enclosed hall with no windows. The walls were laid out with fine gold panels decored with palm tree and chain designs. The shimmering effect were caused by ten tall golden lampstands, five on the south side and five on the north. At the end of the hall, was a deep violet curtain called the Veil. By the dim light, he could just make out the silhouettes of the cherubim designs on the Veil. The Veil which is almost five inches thick, covers the entrance to the inner chamber, The Most Holy Place. In there houses the holiest object in all the world, the Ark of the Covenant, which he knew he will never see for only the High Priest can ever enter there.

Sitting before the Veil are two objects, the golden altar of Inscense and the table also plated in gold which is his objective. He goes towards it in a slow paced gait quietly chanting a Hebraic psalm of God’s goodness, holiness and sovereignty. When he got to table still chanting, he solemnly replaced the loaves of bread. When done, he bowed to the Veil and slowly back stepped to the doors which opened just as he came to it. Once outside, he handed the tray with the bread to a waiting priest. He then proceeded back to where Simon and the family was waiting for him where he gave a final benediction. As the family left, Nahan took Simon to one of the alcoves.

“Simon, I know you went to that self-proclaimed prophet,” he said.

“Well, Nahan, I know that you know and by the way, he never publically proclaimed anything.”

“But he is making himself very visible for the people to see and to follow. The leadership is concerned of the kind of trouble this man can bring, especially when the Romans hear of it.”

“Oh, I think he nor the Romans are the problem.”

“What are you saying?”

“You knew I was a leper. I come back after 10 years totally healed but yet, instead of praising with me, you were more interested to wring out of me any information of him… for them.” Simon left.

Nahan was about to return to his quarters, when he was summoned by Caiaphas.

Upon entering the High Priest’s chambers, Caiaphas angrily handed a scroll to Nahan.

“He did it again! He miraculously fed five thousand men with only a handful of fish and some loaves!”

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 29th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.  We will take a pause in the story of Nahan the priest and return when face off with the Nazarine. We go back to Demacli, the legion demoniac four years 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.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, please purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, the Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 028

NAHAN THE PRIEST
31 AD – Temple Mount, Jerusalemfaithful-encounters-cover-w

On the appointed eighth day, Nahan amusingly watched Simon enter the Temple complex with the entire clan and a crowd of friends. The source of his amusement was that Simon had shaved his head and his beard, as required. The mirth on the faces of all three of Simon’s children testify that they too were trying not to breakout laughing themselves. Then he noticed the animals the family handed over to the priests who already started to examine them for any blemishes. Nahan knew that the final part of the purifiction ceremony only required two male lambs and a one-year-old female lamb, all with no defects, along with a grain offering of choice flour and pressed oil extracted from olives. Instead, Simon took from his herd, two young bulls and a heifer cow that has yet to borne a calf. The women separated from the men and stayed at an elevated floor area designated just for them. The men, being prompted by the priests, moved forward up to the steps of the elevated columned portico that separated the Court of the Priests from the Court of Israel where only those men of Hebrew descent can gather.

Nahan watched them approach with a little apprehension. The men were festive and the women were singing a Psalm of rejoice. But that may change as soon as he makes his announcement. Seeing that he could not delay any longer, he took a step forward and raised his hand up to signal for everyone’s silence. When everyone went quiet, he took a deep breath.

“My friends and family, I must announce that the priesthood no longer consider this as a purification ceremony.” Mumbling voices rose in crescendo. “Please allow me to explain. Ten years ago, I and two others diagnosed Simon to have signs of unusual and spreading whitening of the skin. But I must confess that we were too hasty to declare leprosy. It is quite apparent that by Simon’s healing, the priesthood believes that it was just a skin ailment that lasted so long.”

Simon’s son, Lazarus, was about to protest but Simon held him back by calmly shaking his head.

“Simon?” asked Nahan. “Since you have been away from worship for so long, would you offer your animal and grain sacrifice as a freewill offering of thanksgiving.”

Simon nodded his ascent which was a relief to Nahan. He proceeded through the portico into the inner court or the Court of the Priests. Since he was the presiding priest, he went to the Brazen Sea. It was a massive bronze basin constantly filled with thousands of gallons of water which sat on the southeastern corner of the court. The basin itself sat on the hind quarters of twelve lifesize bronze oxens. Also known as the Laver, it stood taller than two men. Nahan went to a smaller basin that stood waste high, where another priest waited. He rolled up his sleeves and extended his hands and forearms over the basin. The other priest reached up to turn a valve, on the side of the mouth of one of the bronze oxen. Then water poured out of a spout ingeniously hidden in the mouth. After ritually washing his hands, he solemnly crossed to the massive altar on the eastern side. He went up the twelve steps to the top of the platform where he felt the heat from the coals that were just stoked by a priest. Hearing distressed animal sounds, he moved to the edge of the platform to observe the slaughter. The two bulls were already down and the cow was frantically mooing as it was led to the already bloody slaughter area. A priest was calmly stroking it head to help it quiet down. Another brought a clean basin and positioned it under the cow’s neck. He held a knife behind his back waiting for the animal to calm down. And when it did, the priest had adeptly cut into the cow’s jugular. The animal didn’t even feel the slice. Blood poured into the basin held by a priest and was quickly taken away as the cow collapse on the ground. Then, the animals were strung up and other priests start to cut into them.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 28th 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.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

PS… If you want to support my writing, please purchase my ebook, THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL, in Amazon.com for only $1.99. The Centurion’s Gospel is the story of Cornelius Metellus, a Roman Centurion who almost saved Jesus Christ from the cross. Just click the link below.

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch2 – part 7

City of Tiberius, GalileeCG-book-cover-w

Then he sat down. Cornelius was not exactly fond of prose, poetry or the songs of Scriptures. He preferred the historical aspects. And it showed on his face of which the Baptist picked up on.

“The word can be cryptic if you are only hearing but not really listening. Think about it closely and the right questions will come out.”

Cornelius wished he had parchment and quill. Instead, he gazed blankly at the far wall and mentally laid out the words in line segments the way it was sung. In his mind’s eye, the words jumped out at him and his analytical mind went to work.

Clearly, he knew that John the Baptist is a prophet… a messenger from God… a voice of God… in the ‘wilderness’? Herod’s chamberlain did tell him that the Baptist was preaching and baptizing in the wilderness region of the Jordan. He was thinking that part of Isaiah’s was literal enough, however the next lines were a little harder to take literally. If John is the prophesied messenger, then he will have the supernatural powers to smoothen desert dunes into highways, fill in sunken-in valleys into plains and even flatten both hills and mountains. That would be a sight to see. As a child, he fantasized of being there with Moses when the Red Sea miraculously parted. But somehow he felt that this prophecy had a much more deeper meaning.

So, he asked, “Have you completed your task?”

The Baptist smiled, “Almost.”

If that is so, Cornelius thought then, the making clear of deserts, valleys, hills and mountains for the LORD were metaphors. Like a hunting dog in hot pursuit, his analytical mind went back to work. A prophet’s work is to communicate… to be the mouth of God… ‘a voice calling in the wilderness’… So…

“So, the question is, ‘What is the message from God and to whom?’ ”

The Baptist looked at Cornelius with bright eyes, as if he was debating whether to reveal the message of God to him maybe because he was a Roman… A Gentile. Then he nodded.

“In your studies of the Scriptures, do you recall the coming of a Messiah?”

“My mentor and teacher, since I was a child, did tell me of a legend that God will send the Prophet and Redeemer to set Israel free.”

“For you I shall make the picture clear. What you heard is just partially true and incomplete. Do you wish to journey down the road which will significantly change your life?”

Cornelius hesitated for just a moment. Then he went to the door and called out to Cestus.

“Cestus… get us some food and drink. I will be here all night. You and the men enjoy yourselves in the city.”

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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