THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch2 – part 5

City of Tiberius, GalileeCG-book-cover-w

“Ah Centurion, welcome my Roman friends,” he said grandiosely in Latin with both hands raised high.

Cornelius saluted and said formally, “Hail Tetrarch! We bring greetings from Governor Pontus Pilate. He sends his warmest regards.”

“I am sure he did,” he said a little too sweetly. “I have received a dispatch that your unit will be policing my region of Galilee. I am so gratified to hear this. This region is crawling with Zealots determined to uproot my good relations with Rome and my good friend Caesar Tiberius. They are ever a thorn at my side. Why, just last week, they attempted to despoil the statue I erected of our beloved emperor. My own name is besmirched by these wild brigands among my people.”

“May I ask, Tetrarch? Who are these zealots?” asked Cornelius.

“I am sorry to say that I don’t know. I have no specific names to provide.” Cornelius noted some reluctance in his voice. “I have reports of wild religious fanatics rousing the countryside that a king from among them will lead them to freedom. In the jurisdiction of Jerusalem, there is a highwayman, a self-proclaimed man named of Barabbas, said he was a Zealot and had made a reputation of himself by robbing your tax collectors even in daylight and eluding your pursuits. These zealots are everywhere.”

As Herod drone on with his prattle, Cornelius so wanted to meet the prophet before Herod takes him down south. “Ah, Tetrarch?” he asks. “I have heard that you are holding a dissenter here. I have orders to question all insurgents.”

“Oh… How did you… Ah well… He is not an insurgent. He is just a desert teacher. He is harmless.”

“Why is he your prisoner?”

“He is not! He is a guest but under guard… for his protection, of course. He will not reveal anything because he does not know anything.”

“Nevertheless, Tetrarch,” He brings out his baton. “I must see this man!”

“Very well, Centurion, I will arrange a translator.”

“No need, Tetrarch,” Cornelius said in fluid Aramaic.

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

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Johann Q

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch2 – part 4

City of Tiberius by the Sea of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

Tiberius was somewhat a surprise to Cornelius and his mounted men. As soon as they rode through the northern gate, it was like they entered into a Roman city in Italy. From the gate, they followed the traffic of wagons and a lot of pedestrians on a wide boulevard of cobblestone, lined with tall palm trees and in interval, statues of Greek gods in their divine poses. The city sat on a graded slope from a high rocky mount all the way to the shoreline of the lake. It was lined with a fortified wall with battlements with two main gates, north and south. On the lip of the mount, overlooking the city, is an amphitheater, the size of which can be seen from any part of the city. The population of it is close to eighty thousand people the majority of which… obviously observed by the Centurion… seem to be made up of non-Jews.

“It’s almost like home, sir,” commented Cestus who rode next to him. He and the cavalrymen had grins on their faces and were looking around everywhere.

Asking direction from the city guard, Herod’s palace was about midway down the wide boulevard, then turned left on another avenue which would take them close to the waterfront. Riding in two columns, they entered through the gates into a fairly impressive palace complex. They were greeted by Herod’s chamberlain. Cornelius and Cestus were led to an antechamber to wait on Herod who was having a heated discussion in the next chamber. His discussion were with two other men and a woman whom Cornelius surmised was Herodias, his wife. Originally, he stole her from his brother. The story goes that Herod Antipas divorced his Nabataean wife, the daughter of Aretas IV, king of the desert kingdom adjoining his own, to marry Herodias, formerly the wife of his half brother. The marriage, of course, offended his former father-in-law and alienated many Jewish subjects.

The discussion was loud and agitated, but Herod was probably not worried about the Romans overhearing their conversation because they were talking in the common tongue. However, Cornelius understood what was said for he grew up learning Aramaic. Jacob taught him the languages of the land. Hebrew is the exclusive language of the Jews; Greek is the trade language used among the foreigners; and then Aramaic, the most used language in the entire region.

“Why did you have to bring him with us? “You should have left him at Machaerus,” wailed the woman.

“Herodias, my dear,” Herod spoke melodiously, “He is a prophet like of old. The words that come out of his mouth are the very words of God himself.”

Cornelius picked up on it quickly. His ears were burning.

“Do you not hear what he says about us? …about ME?!” She was screeching.

“He cannot help saying it. He is the mouth of God after all.”

“I do not care! I want him DEAD!”

“NO!” He lifts his voice angrily. After a moment of silence, he goes to her sweetly and said, “I cannot kill him, my dear. He is the very messenger of God. If I had him killed, I’d hate what would happen to you. …to me. My father was a great king, but when he crossed God… he died a terrible death. Do not pout, my love. I promise you… as long as he is locked up, he cannot say another word against us.”

“You do not fool me, Antipas,” she said. “I know you send for him to your private chamber at night. I know you listen to him. You are a fool. He is even more dangerous now. This is not over.” She walked away still angry.

“My king, there is another matter that we must discuss.,” said one of the men with him. “There is another fanatic out there. We thought it was one of the Baptist’s followers but they seem to have dwindled and gone to this new one.”

“Who is he?”

“We don’t know. He seems to move from one place or another preaching. And the people are protecting him.”

“Is he arousing the populace?” He gave Cornelius a quick glance.

Cornelius had to maintain a straight face but his mind was racing. He has to talk to what he hope is a genuine prophet. He also have to investigate this elusive teacher and magician who may potentially move the people to revolt.

“He seem to only limit himself here in Galilee. Also, there are some reports of miraculous healings but nothing substantiating.”

“Really?! I must know more.” Herod glanced toward the Roman. “Are we set to leave for Perea tomorrow.”

“Yes, your majesty.”

“Make sure the Baptist travels with my caravan. Now, leave me while I meet with our guests.”

The two men bowed and left, while Herod gestured for Cornelius and Cestus to join him.

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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 014

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ANDREW THE FIRST DISCIPLE
30 AD Jordan River Valley

Feeling released, they ran to the spot where the man left the road. They found a trail and followed it up to the hill. They actually lost sight of him when they were at the foot of the hill. When they got to the top, the trail ended and there was no sign of him. They split up. Andrew jogged to the north side of the hill. When he got there, he scanned downed the hill and saw him. Andrew whistled for John who was some distance away. John quickly turned and started to run towards him. Meanwhile, he kept his eye on the man who may be the Messiah.

They decided not to dash after him but instead follow from a discrete distance. For a day, they trailed him going north skirting the Judean highlands into Samaritan territory. It was about the tenth hour, when they were going around a bend on the trail they were following, the man was waiting for them.

“What do you want?” he asked with no hint of mistrust in his voice.

“Rabbi,” asked Andrew. “Where are you staying?”

Then, the man laughed a little from amusement. “Come and see.”

They followed him to a farm house not too far from the river. The farmer was leading some animals to a pen when he saw them. He was quite happy to see the man.

“Blessings to this house, my friend,” said the man “Can we impose in your hospitality?”

“Of course, Jesus. You need not ask.” The farmer invited them into his house where his wife was already setting food for them.

When Andrew heard his name, he realised that Jesus means ‘Yahweh saves’ or ‘Yahweh is salvation’. A Jewish mother would not boldly name her child so, unless… unless an angel told her so.

 

That night, John asked him, “Rabbi, are you the Messiah?”

“What had John, the Baptist said?” asked Jesus.

Andrew and John told him what the Baptist shared. He smiled at that and said, “The answer you seek will have to come from what you believe. Faith is not blind. Come. Let us sleep. We leave for Galilee at first light.

The next day, the farmer hitch up a wagon and took them to the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was by good fortune than John found some fishermen and a boat that could ferry them to Bethsaida.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 14th 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.

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Until the next post.

Johann Q.
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FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 013

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ANDREW THE FIRST DISCIPLE
30 AD Jordan River Valley

“John… Are you awake?” Andrew asked.

“I am now,” he said amusingly. “I know what you are thinking. You want to leave here and search for him.”

“I have the feeling that you will argue that we don’t know what he looks like. We have no idea where to start to look for him.”

“Well… I have one idea,” John said. “We stay with the master because he knows who he is.”

“It will be hard to leave him, but I have a strange feeling we are suppose to.”

“I hope we find him soon or else our brothers will not be too happy we’re not back.”

Andrew laughed at that. “I guess we should speak to the master about returning up north before winter sets in. Simon will probably be grumpy if I, that is, we… don’t show up for Fall fishing.”

“I am sure your brother and James are killing each other as well as driving my father crazy over who is the better fisherman.”

They both laughed again. “We better get some sleep, Andrew. The morrow will be busy.”

 

Andrew was carrying some bundles into a tent. John was not far behind also carrying bundles. Then, another of the Baptist’s followers came to them and told them to meet the master by the road.

They found the Baptist talking to some soldiers belonging to Herod Antipas’ palace at Jerusalem.

“Do not extort money from your brethren or even from foreigners. Make no false accusations. And be content with your pay,” the Baptist instructed.

When he saw Andrew and John waiting, he dismissed the soldiers and a small crowd watching. Then, all three meandered toward the shade of a large tree to watch the foot traffic on the dusty road. For a long time, they just stood there looking at the passersby. John and Andrew looked at each other. John shrugged his shoulder. Then, the Baptist took a half step forward, like he saw someone he was looking for.

“Behold,” he said in a soft voice as he gestured with his hand. “…the Lamb of God!”

Both John and Andrew looked towards where he pointed. At first, they were not sure who among the foot traffic was the Baptist pointing at. Then, they noticed a lone individual garbed like what most Galileans wore. He just went off the road and started walking up a hill.

They both looked at each other, then they faced the Baptist.

“Go,” he said. “This is as it should be. Farewell.” Without saying another word, he walked away.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 13th 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.

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Until the next post.

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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

faithful-encounters-cover-w.jpg

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