Jesus was waiting for me when I left work. He was already more agitated and more like the old Jesus I knew, and was still going strong when we arrived at my house. Hannah said she would put the kids to bed if we wanted to chat outside. I took the hint. She didn’t want us taking over the small main room and disturbing everyone. We sat on the ground, leaning against the house. The walls were still warm from the heat of the sun but the clear moonlit air was pleasantly cool.
“Right,” he said. “Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t start tomorrow. Why shouldn’t we go out and start spreading the message straight away? I’ve done my preparation, and you should have done yours, and my wife is right behind me.”
“Although she’s actually still in Magdala,” I said.
“Well observed Tom. You know what I mean. She knows what it would mean to me to save the world, and she has offered to support me financially if I need it. She also said that she will have me back any time if I change my mind, not that I will.”
“I really don’t know what that woman sees in you,” I said. “Anyway, you’ve obviously done something to convince her, so best of luck to you both. However, I’d still rather you were a bit less hasty about getting started.”
“But what’s holding us up?”
“Well, I’d really like to be with you when you get going, having come this far together, but work’s really busy, and I’m still working on a theme for the mission. And I really think we should get at least a handful of followers together before the big launch. Can’t it wait a few more days?”
“But what if the Son of Man arrives tomorrow to put God’s plans into action and we’re not ready?” he said, standing up and starting to pace up and down.
“He won’t, trust me,” I said. I felt certain of it, and began to doubt yet again whether I really was the right person to be managing Jesus’ publicity campaign. But it’s just a job, and one I know I can do well.
He was giving me one of his looks. “I mean, it’s very unlikely,’ I said, “especially if God has already preordained it that you are the one who is to offer people the choice of being saved or not. And if God hadn’t preordained it, you wouldn’t be doing it anyway, unless of course this is a devilishly deceptive plot cooked up by Satan, which it can’t be, so you’re probably safe for a few days at least.”
I thought it best to shut up at this point, while it was still just about possible to climb out of the hole I was digging, brush myself down and walk off nonchalantly with my spade over my shoulder.
I promised him I really would work on getting things started, but among other things I needed time to get everything a bit straighter at work. I told him I had to hold onto my job because I had a wife and two children to support, and I didn’t suppose his long-suffering wife would want to fund other people’s families too.
He eventually agreed to give it another few days and left me in peace.