FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 066

SIMON THE LEPER
33 AD – The Day of the Lord – Mount of Olives, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Simon thought they were going to follow the road back to Bethany, but then Jesus led them off the road unto a path that went even higher up the mountain. The path led them through a large orchard of olive trees and an out-building where olives are pressed for its oil. When they reached the top of the Mount of Olives, one of the disciples gestured towards the city. From their vantage point, they can see above Eastern ramparts of the Temple Mount into the Court of Nations and the Temple Complex in the center. The Temple itself rose high up with its massive doors overlaid with gold flanked by two tall bronze pillars were very visible from where they stood. A thick column of smoke rose from within the Temple complex.

“Master, see how magnificent the Temple and the other buildings are.”

When Simon looked at Jesus to see his reaction, he was weeping.

Jesus cried out, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ ” [Matthew 23:37-39]

“If only you had known on this day what would bring you peace! But now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” [Luke 19:42-44]

Simon heard stories from his grand father that were handed down by generations of how the Babylonians encircled this ancient city and eventually subdued it and then stone by stone, tore it down. And now he was disturbed to think this will happen again. He wondered when this will happen. He was about to ask but Philip beat him to it.

Philip asked, “Master, tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Seeing a granite rock sticking out of a patch of grass, Jesus went to it and sat down. He invited everyone to sit before him.

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”                  [Matthew 24:4-8]
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FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 062

NAHAN THE PRIEST
33 AD – Enter the King – Kidron Valley, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Nahan had been visiting a rich friend who had set up an encampment on the north side of the Kidron Valley just at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The campsite was situated higher on the slope overlooking the entire valley which was packed with multicolored tents, hazy from thousands of cook fires. Even the Kidron river which flowed down the center of the valley was hardly distinguishable. The valley was a sloped shallow crevasse between the Mount of Olives in the east, the towering Temple Mount and the City of David in the west.

He had spent a profitable night with his friend, whom he only gets to see once or twice a year. Besides being a priest, Nahan is also a vineyard owner of which his friend is managing for him. As he was making his way back to the Temple, he was quite happy that his business was doing quite well. Then, he noticed that there was a crescendo in the general ambiance sound of thousands of people in the valley below. He paused in his stride just upon entering the eastern lower gate at the base of the mount. Curious, he took one step back to see what was in the air.

The people below the ledge where he stood were also aware that there was something happening but were confused of what. But then others coming from the midst of the city of tents started to point to the east. From where he stood, Nahan looked east and saw where the road from Jericho wound over the south-lower ridge of the Mount of Olives. The road itself could not be seen because of all the people there. Then he saw the waving of the palms and he knew who was coming. He smiled.

Nahan checked himself to see if he was wearing anything that might reveal he was a priest. He then took the short flight of steps down unto the bridge that span over the ravine. He worked his way through the crowd to the end of the bridge where the Jericho road ends. Temple guards posted there recognized him. He told them to pretend that they do not see him. But he took advantage of the two-level platform that they usually use. From there, he could clearly see throngs of palm-waving people lining the road. Then the cheers got louder and he saw him riding on a led donkey followed by a colt that skittishly hugged it’s mother. It almost looked like the Nazarene was astride on both animal.

Nahan almost laughed out loud in amusement. He knew that Jesus of Nazareth have not made any claim of kingship but there he is riding into the city from the east like the kings of old. He knew this was clearly a statement. He turned around and craned his head up to look up the sheer cliff and walls of the Temple Mount. He peered against the glare of the sky at the battlements and saw no one yet looking down.

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FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS – Part 049

NAHAN THE PRIEST
32 AD – Confrontation – Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Then the crowd again surged forward most with exaltation and belief written on their faces. Nahan saw that Jesus’ disciples were hard pressed to keep the crowd back from swamping him. Meanwhile, the guards and the Pharisees retreated back into the temple. Several minutes later as the crowd calmed down the chief priests and the leadership came back out.

So Jesus spoke loudly to those that surrounded him, many were of the Pharisees, Nahan noted.

“If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:31,32]

One of the elder priests called out to Jesus, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that you say, ‘You will become free’? ” [v33]

The crowd quieted down and Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. [v34-36]

“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with my Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.” [v37,38]

Then a number of them exclaimed loudly to Him, “Abraham is our father.” [v39a]

Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” [v39b-41a]

“We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: The Lord.” [v41b]

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on my own initiative, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear my word. [v42,43]

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [v44]

Nahan should have been angry but what this man have said so far disturbed him deeply.

“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” [v45-47]

One of the priests answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” [v48]

Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. But I do not seek my glory; there is One who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he will never see death.” [v49]

Pharisees in the crowd called out to Him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste of death.’ Surely you are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do you make yourself out to be?” [v50-53]

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.” [v54-56]

So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” [v57]

“Truly, truly, I say to you,” Jesus paused for just a moment, then said, “before Abraham was born… I… AM.” [v58]

The whole court went deathly silent. Nahan was struck dumb. Deep in the recess of his mind he heard echo the words of the Prophet Isaiah, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ [Isaiah 9:6]

Then the crowd erupted. There were men shouting to stone him but the bulk of the crowd were those who believed and they again surged forward in loud exultation. Altercations broke out as a group of men with stones in their hands tried to force their way to Jesus. Nahan lost sight of him. As angry as he should be, he was unusually happy that Jesus got away. Besides, he knew somehow that he will see the Son of man again.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 49th 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, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

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2. 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 048

NAHAN THE PRIEST
32 AD – Confrontation – Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Then Nahan saw about twenty temple guards shoving their way through the crowd towards them, led by two of the chief priests. Nahan was wondering why are the guards being sent now. But the guards stopped at their tracks when Jesus spoke again.

“You all know me and know where I am from; and I have not come of myself, but he who sent me is true, whom you do not know. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” [John 7:28-29 NASB]

The priests leading the guards were coaxing them to move in, but the guards feared what the crowd will do to them. Meanwhile, the crowd was elated on how Jesus’ voice stopped them.

“I am the light of the world,” said Jesus. “He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12]

“You are testifying about yourself,” cried Nahan taking advantage that Jesus had contradicted himself. “Your testimony is not true.” [v13]

Jesus answered and said, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, my judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent me. Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. I am he who testifies about myself, and the father who sent me testifies about me.” [v14-18]

Someone in the crowd then called out, “Where is your father?”

Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my father; if you knew me, you would know my father also.” [v19]

The crowd started to surge toward him making it even more difficult for the Temple guards to approach.

Then he said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” [v21]

Nahan, the temple guards, the priests and the Pharisees who were there to take Jesus looked at each other questioningly. One of them asked, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” [v22]

“You are from below,” Jesus declared loudly. “I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.” [v23-25]

They asked him, “Who are you?” [v26]

“What have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but he who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these I speak to the world. When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing on my own initiative, but I speak these things as the father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” [v27-29]

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 48th 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, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

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2. 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 047

NAHAN THE PRIEST
32 AD – Confrontation – Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Nahan then noticed the expressions of the crowd and saw that most were frowning and not happy with his words. He was losing the crowd and looked nervously back at his superiors. At the same instance, he saw that Jesus on the other hand was a picture of calm and serenity still sitting on the top of the steps politely allowing the other to make his point.

Nahan needed to illustrate that Jesus is a false teacher, so he brought up one of Jesus’ controversial lessons that he gave some months back in the synagogue of Capernaum.

“Was it not you who declared, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ What nonsense is this?”

“Then you continued on by outragiously saying that, ‘…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” [John 6:34-58 NASB]

“The nerve of this man!” Nahan exclaimed quite dramatically. “Do you not see how ridiculous the things that this man teaches? Again I ask you all, how has this man become learned, having never been educated?”

Jesus then stood up quite calmly. Somehow, though this Jesus did not seem impressive, Nahan suddenly felt a sense of dread.

“My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me,” Jesus said. “If anyone is willing to do his will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who is seeking the glory of the one who sent him, he is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” [John 7:16-18]
Jesus then directly points at him but shifts his gaze towards the leaderships.

“Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill me?” [John 7:19]

There were angry murmurs coming from the crowd.

“You have a demon! Who seeks to kill you?” cried Nahan.

Jesus answered, “I did one deed, and you all marvel. For this reason Moses has given you circumcision not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers, and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” [John 7:22-24]

The High Priest and a number of the leadership angrily walked back into the temple. Nahan would have followed but he was instructed to stay.

Meanwhile, the crowd was busily debating among themselves on whether Jesus is the Messiah or not. Some of the people therefore, were shouting, ‘This certainly is the Prophet.’ Others were saying, ‘This is the Christ.’ Still others were saying, ‘Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was from?’ So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.

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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 47th 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, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

2. 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 046

NAHAN THE PRIEST
32 AD – Confrontation – Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

Nahan was emerging through the western gate unto the Temple court which was, as usual busy with the festival’s pilgrims. It is the fourth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is an annual event when all of Israel erect makeshift tabernacles mostly on the roofs of their homes to commemorate Israel’s forty years of wandering. It usually lasted seven days but there is talk of extending another week. A large number of festival’s revelers had erected makeshift booths throughout the vast court. Much were mostly lean-to structures made of wood planks, stripped palm branches and odd collection of multi-colored fabric materials.

Nahan was heading to the Temple complex when he was intercepted by a minor priest.

“Nahan, the High Priest requires your presence right away. Where have you been all week?”

“I have been at the coast near Joppa at the behest of the High Priest. What is wrong?”

“The Nazarene is here!”

“What? I thought he was at the north country. Tell me what had happened.”

“He just showed up two days ago and started to teach at the columns fronting the Temple. For the past two days, we, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees have been trying to bait him to make mistakes so that the Romans have cause to arrest him. But so far, we have failed and his popularity grows.”

“Come! Let us go to the council chamber,” said Nahan.

They quickened the pace to the council chamber of the High Priest. When he entered the chamber, the council of priests were in the middle of a heated debate.

“Why are we not arresting him?”

“Yes! We should send the Temple guards now.”

There were assenting comments throughout the chamber.

“Enough debate,” said the High Priest. “There are over five thousand people on the temple court right now. They are excited of him being there. They think he is the one. Imagine what would happen if we arrested him in front of them.”

“A riot would definitely ensue,” said Nahan out loud. “And it will definitely attract the Romans.”

“Exactly,” said the High Priest. “We need another plan.”

“Holy One, we must discredit him publicly,” said Nahan. “We must show the people that he is not who they think he is.”

“I agree,” said the High Priest. “Nahan, you are an expert of the law and an accomplished orator. When he returns to the temple tomorrow, you will debate him.”

The next day, Jesus was at his usual spot, on the steps of Solomon’s colonnade, just across from the steps that led into the Temple. He was again teaching the people. But this time, there was a greater number of the ruling class occupying the platform and steps just across from him. Among them were Annas, the former High Priest and unspoken leader of the ruling class, and his son, Caiaphas, the current High Priest.

As he taught, the people and many who were there to oppose him were astonished with his words. Nahan can see that the High Priest was showing concern that even his people were being swayed. He turned to Nahan and gave a single nod… a prearranged signal.

Nahan then stepped up to the edge of the platform wearing a rich robe of purple with gold trimmings. But instead of talking to the crowd, he loudly addressed himself to the leadership.

“Holy One and fellow leaders of the people! This man here is no teacher of the law; for he has never been among us who have spent everyday of our lives studying under the great rabbis of our time. He is uncouth and lacks the sophistication of any of our learned teachers. He is, after all, just from Nazareth and a carpenter’s son at that.” The men around him laughed. “How can this man be the Messiah? He openly consorts with sinners! Even one of his closest followers is a notorious tax collector.” There was more laughter.

Emboldened by the cheers of the ruling class, Nahan continued on maligning the character of Jesus, but this time he was talking to the crowd. For fifteen minutes he twisted the teachings of Jesus and mocked them as nonsense. “It is better that you return to Galilee and teach to the sheep and goats.”
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Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 46th 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, there are two options:

1. Donate $2-$5 to my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

2. 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 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.