Thomas finds the remains of the portable jetty and figures out what happened
Sunday August 13
Today felt a bit of a let down. We all needed a good rest after the long build up to last Thursday, followed by the event itself and the storm and confusion of Friday. Now we’re still tired but bored too. We need to move on but no one has the energy to make a start on anything new. The only one with any get up and go was Mary, who by the end of the day had yet again persuaded all the disciples, with her usual charm, to get up and go.
The fishermen were easy to deal with. With Jesus’ agreement she packed them off again for a few days to see their families and make themselves useful by fishing. She’s a great believer in the value and power of work. Matthew, Bart and the rest were offered work on the land if they wanted to stay, and have been sent to the vineyards to help with the harvest, which is now in full swing. It’s not what they are used to but it won’t hurt them. Cyrus is due to visit soon to see how his acquisition is going, and I think he will be pleased. It’s been an exceptional year, but no doubt he was expecting that when he agreed a fixed price for the entire crop.
Thaddeus and Jamie have been sent out into the hills to help round up some lost sheep, which quite suits them. I have been told I can stay to help Jesus with planning the next stage of the mission and sort out an agreement with Matthias. I also have to deliver supplies to my family in Nazareth, so I have quite a busy week lined up too. We are all to come back on Friday ready for the Sabbath and a visit to one of the local synagogues, to ensure the mission doesn’t lose momentum.
After everyone else had been dispatched, Jesus and I went for a stroll along the beach in the late afternoon sun to talk about our next move. As we walked, I saw something sticking out of the water of the lake, a few hundred yards along the shoreline. As we approached it, a small wheel became visible on top of a small wooden structure.
“Isn’t that one of those movable jetties, on its side?” I said.
“Certainly looks like it,” said Jesus. “It could actually be ours. Mary said it must have got washed away in Friday’s squall.”
We waded in and looked more closely. It was definitely Mary’s, and it didn’t seem to have suffered too much damage.
“We should be able to wheel it back without too much trouble,” I said.
“No, it’s OK,” he said. “I’ll get a couple of the farm hands to bring it back. I really don’t want to attract attention.”
A growing cluster of followers had been forming behind us as we walked, and I could tell that Jesus was not in the mood to encourage them.
“I love them all to bits of course, and if I could simply address them with a few well-chosen words and then be left alone it would be fine, but it only seems to encourage them, and they start asking questions, and I get drawn in, and in what seems like no time I notice that the sun has moved a long way across the sky since we started talking and…you know what I mean.”
“Of course,” I said. Then I had a thought. “Why not come to some kind of arrangement with them? You could offer to speak to them for a few minutes every morning, and in return they have to leave you alone the rest of the day. If they want to discuss the meaning of what you say, they can do it among themselves. We could call it ‘thought for the day’ or something like that. I can write some for you. You must have scores of parables you could recycle anyway, either as stories or just as one-liners about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like – you know the kind of thing.”
“That’s not a bad idea, but today I’m not even in the mood to explain all that to them. Maybe tomorrow.” He put his head down and carried on walking. I understood, and we trudged in silence for a minute.
“Isn’t there another reason you don’t want to draw attention to the jetty?” I couldn’t resist asking.
“Oh come on. I don’t mind what you say to the others, but at least be honest with me.”
So Jesus confirmed my suspicions about the walking on water incident. He was quick to remind me how, as his campaign manager, I had always been keen to spread stories like this as a way of making people take notice of him and his mission. We agreed that it would do more harm than good now to contradict the stories that were circulating, but that we should no longer start rumours ourselves. With the likes of Peter involved, there’s no need.
We soon arrived at the house and Jesus went straight inside. I stayed out to speak to the hundred or so men who had continued to follow us at a respectful distance. It didn’t seem fair to treat them like this. They were surprisingly enthusiastic about a thought for the day every morning and I was pleased at how they chatted and smiled more as they drifted away. It must be hard knowing that the world is about to end and then finding your saviour won’t give you any updates.