Thomas, Saturday 29 April

Another Sabbath over, another boring week ahead at work.  I’ve often wondered about getting a better job in Sepphoris.  It’s a proper city, and only four miles away.  That’s not a bad commute, even on foot, and I could probably buy a donkey with the extra cash I’d earn.  Plenty of people I know do it.  I didn’t want to make the move when the kids were young, but Sam’s nine now, and Ruth’s eleven.  In a couple of years she’ll be old enough to get married and start a family of her own.  They grow up so quickly.  Anyhow, I’ve committed myself to being Jesus’ campaign manager for now, so I’d better stay put because I’ll need all the spare time I can get.  I’ll give him a year and see how it goes, and then if it all fizzles out I can go for a better job.

I have to admit he was impressive in the synagogue today.  I do appreciate having an entire day, from sunset on Friday till sunset on Saturday, when the law forbids us to do any work at all, however minor.  It means we all get a complete physical and mental break from the sheer hard slog of everyday existence, and even the Romans have given up trying to enforce seven day working on the Jews.

But it can get a tad boring.  The only thing we can do legally is go to the synagogue.  It’s basically the only show in town, but when it gets going it’s not a bad show at all.  Apart from a certain amount of singing and praying you can spend hours listening to the experts discussing the scriptures.  Unless you’re Jesus, that is.  He doesn’t just listen, he joins in and will argue with anyone.  Always has done.    He doesn’t care who’s speaking, or how old or learned or respected they are.  It’s not just uninformed bluster either.  Not only can he read and write everyday Aramaic, which is rare enough, he can read all the scriptures in Hebrew too.  And not just read them, but argue about them.  And sometimes argue against them, though he would say he was only interpreting what God’s laws really mean and not actually arguing against the laws themselves.  No one insults him when he’s holding the floor.  Not unless they are a senior scribe who’s just been wrong footed by this son of a common carpenter.  Today he was arguing that it’s not against the law to heal a man on the Sabbath.  That was a tough one, but in the end almost everyone conceded that he had a point.  If I ever had any doubts that he could make it as a preacher, which I didn’t, today’s performance blew them away forever.  All he needs is someone to get things organised and help to work on the message.

I’ve been thinking about followers.  I think my mate Bart would go for it, and he gets on pretty well with Jesus.  I don’t know if he could take it seriously, but he’d be useful to keep the others in line.  We might persuade one of Jesus’ brothers I suppose.  And perhaps some fishermen.  They’re superstitious and simple minded, and brash and over-optimistic, and…that’s probably enough positives to be going on with.