Peter and some of the others decided we should have another big meeting in the next few days, and started to get the disciples organised for another publicity tour, but Jesus was less eager to rush into it.
Thomas, Wednesday July 26
“Let’s arrange it for two weeks from tomorrow,” he said. “And let’s have it somewhere different; not here or Capernaum. How about Bethsaida? We were well received at the synagogue there, and it’s about time we went back.”
Everyone nodded. Jesus continued:
“In the meantime you can still go out and spread the word, but instead of just publicising the meeting you can use the extra time to travel further and reach people who might otherwise have never heard about us. I want you to go out in pairs and visit all the towns in the region. And while you’re meeting all these new people, you can really make a big impression by healing the sick in my name.”
Peter was the first to dare to ask the question. “How can we do healings, Master?”
“I’m not asking you to do healings, Peter,” said Jesus. “God will do the healings, through the use of my name and through your faith and the faith of the people who are sick. I take it you have some faith?”
Heads nodded. How could we be his disciples and admit to lacking faith?
“And you can take some charm bracelets, and I will bless some oil that you can rub onto people. It all helps increase faith levels and the chances of God choosing to drive out evil spirits,” Jesus explained.
Peter and Andrew started to discuss what food and clothing we would all need, and how long it would take to get everything together, but Jesus was ready for that.
“Don’t take food, or even a spare shirt. Wherever you are welcomed, stay in that house and eat their food till you are ready to move on. If a town does not welcome you, shake the dust off your sandals at them as a curse, and leave. It’s a good way of establishing who our friends are, and apart from anything else it avoids the funding problem for a couple of weeks.”
And so off we went, the meekest and mildest going first, namely Thaddeus and Jamie. Peter and I were the last two left.
“This will be an excellent opportunity to get to know each other better, and work out between you how best to share the work of being my chief advisers. Peter, you are a good manager, and Tom, your strategic guidance is invaluable.”
And so here we are, sharing a room in a small house in Chorazin, a place we both wanted to see but had never visited, and only a few miles from Capernaum. First we went to the synagogue to put up a poster about the forthcoming event in Bethsaida, then we started talking to anyone who showed any interest in us.
I surprised myself by using Jesus’ name to drive out a demon from a ranting man. Either that or I was using my experience in telling my dad to shut up and give us some peace. And Peter had one or two successes rubbing oil into people and making them feel better. Eventually we were offered a meal and a room by a poor but charming couple who for some reason can’t have children. I’m not sure where Peter intends to rub his oil to deal with that particular problem, but I think a bit of help in that area is what they are after.
Peter went to sleep early, as usual, and is already snoring like a thunderstorm. The candle has almost run down and I daren’t ask for another, so I’m going to turn in now.