Simon surprised me today. He’s been recovering far quicker than I expected, thanks to what Cyrus calls his infection control protocol and plenty of fish and figs, but it was what he said that made me blink and wonder if I had heard correctly.
He said he wanted to renounce violence and rejoin Jesus, saving as many people as possible in preparation for the coming of the Son of Man. He said the Son of Man had appeared to him in several dreams during the past few days.
“How do you know it was the Son of Man,” I asked, “and what did he look like?”
“He told me who he was, and he looked like Jesus.”
I shuddered. Jesus was always waiting for the Son of Man, but he had never claimed to be him. How could he be? How could he not know it, if he was? What did it mean?
If my patient was well enough I was more than ready to set out myself, but we had to be careful. I really wanted to travel via Nazareth to have one last go at persuading Tom to come back, but I couldn’t take Simon with me in case he was recognised and people started asking how he got his wounds.
I spoke to Cyrus, who was doubly helpful. He told me he needed to get back home for a few days and offered to take Simon to Bethany on his camel, moving quickly and avoiding main towns. He also told me to tell Tom he wanted him to return to the mission, if only for a while to help out, and that he could take time off work to do so. Cyrus would make a weekly payment direct to Hannah to ensure she and the children did not go hungry.