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Message spreading well #Pharisees

Jesus, Saturday December 9, AD 29

Another week over and things are going well.  The message is spreading fast, and already I can’t walk around Bethany without being recognised.  If people ask me to heal members of their family, I’m happy to go to their house to do my work.  They’re usually delighted with the results and often ask me to stay for a meal.  I always accept when I can, and use the occasion to tell them to renounce evil, give their money to the poor and prepare for the coming Kingdom.  I’ve told all the apostles to follow my example, and a loyal base of supporters is already building faster than I had expected.

Some of my best results are achieved with people I’d least expect to become followers, such as tax collectors and prostitutes, but these are the people who need saving most, so I’m quite happy to mix with them if it’s what I have to do.  They can be quite good company actually, and I’m looking forward to some of the dinner parties I’ve been invited to.

I tried to stay on the right side of the Pharisees today by not healing anyone at the synagogue, but they were still very sniffy and holier than thou.  Then as I was leaving a man asked me to go to his house to see his possessed daughter, and one of them overheard and started condemning me in a loud voice for even talking about healing.  Just to annoy them I told the man that if he had faith, his daughter’s demon would leave her without me going to visit her.  That really wound them up, but they are so petty it makes me want to do more to annoy them in future.

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Pharisees on the prowl again #Pharisees

Jesus, Saturday December 2, AD 29

The synagogue was quiet today, a pleasant change.  I even avoided pointing out some basic errors the speakers were making.  When I was approached on my way out by a woman asking me to heal her frozen shoulder, I did it without thinking.  All I did was touch the shoulder and tell her to have faith, and she said she felt a rush of warmth and was completely cured.

Immediately I found myself being glared at by a pair of Pharisees who had been arguing earlier for a much stricter interpretation of the law.  I wasn’t in the mood for conflict and moved away as soon as I could, but I can already sense that next week might not be as peaceful.  Why do they always seem to be lying in wait for me, and why can’t I heal on the Sabbath?  It’s ridiculous.  I always end up doing it because that’s when people get to see me.  Anyway, the Pharisees won’t be happy till they’ve made the law so complicated that only they can possibly hope to keep it.

Mary expects to have everyone settled in with their hosts tomorrow.  Peter wanted to stay and share with me, but he’s very intense and he snores, so I’ve managed to arrange it so I’m sharing with the quiet and practical Judas.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the mission develops down here.  I want to go back to our roots and use synagogues as our base for spreading the message, if we can avoid antagonising the Pharisees too much.  Most synagogues are in use all week as meeting places and schools, so we don’t have to restrict ourselves to the Sabbath.  We could even pre-book a few appearances and put some publicity posters up.

Everything’s going to be low key to start with. I want to build on firm foundations and establish a dedicated following who can help to spread the word.  By the time the end comes at Passover, everyone in the region will have heard the message and had the opportunity to be saved, with no need for the big meetings of thousands of people like we used to have.  I’m not going to keep my diary every day either; life’s too short.

Jesus does a mind reading and is asked to leave town

Jesus, Thursday November 30, AD 29

Well, we made it.  It was hard being on the road again to start with, but we soon got into it.  We had two women with us for the first time ever, and though it took some getting used to they were very helpful with keeping spirits up, and of course with food preparation, and I don’t know why we hadn’t tried it before.  They couldn’t carry as much as the men but apart from that they had no trouble keeping up.  One concern in the past had been that women might distract us from spiritual thoughts, but one was Jamie’s mum Mary, and her friend, also called Mary, was even older, so that wasn’t really an issue.

Mary was waiting for us when we arrived and seemed really excited to have us to stay.  The two Marys are sharing Mary’s room.  We’ll have to give them numbers or something.

For the time being, four of us men have crammed into her spare room and the rest are camped outside.  Mary has been busy finding neighbours who would be willing to take men in as lodgers, and she’s hoping to have everyone settled in over the next few days.  I’m looking forward to having a room of my own or perhaps sharing with only one other.  We’re hoping some of the men will be able to find work locally to help eke out the money.  Even with generous supporters, it soon goes.

The journey through Samaria was trouble free, and I had an experience that helped to restore my confidence.  I was sitting by a well in a town while the rest went to get food, when a woman came up to draw some water.  I asked her for a drink, and in return I offered her spiritual water.  I was really pleased with that.  Without Tom around with his ideas it can be hard to think of inspiring things to say, but I remembered Matthew’s tale of his vision in the wilderness.

And then I did a mind-reading on her.  It was one of the things Cyrus had been making me practice, but I haven’t tried it on a complete stranger for a while.  I told her she had been married five times and was living with a man who wasn’t her husband.  She nearly fainted.  I suppose I got lucky but all the signs were there and she gave me a few verbal clues.  I thought she might be so impressed she would invite us all to stay, but instead she asked us to leave town and stay in the next village overnight.  Her new man’s probably prone to jealousy, living with an attractive woman who’s had five husbands, but you don’t need to be a mind reader to work that one out.

Mary Magdalene, Tuesday November 28, AD 29

I wonder what Jesus is up to now, and how far he’s got.  He must be travelling through Samaria at the moment.  I hope he’s all right.

I feel guilty at not being with him, even though we agreed it was better all round if I held back for a while.  I feel guilty that I feel so happy here on the farm and that I’m losing the will to go and join the mission.  I feel guilty that with the harvest collected and the stores full and Cyrus for company, life is really fun for once.  I feel guilty for writing this.

Mary Magdalene, Sunday November 26, AD 29

I keep telling myself I must resist the temptation to pick up my diary again, although there are many more gaps than entries.  I know I do it mostly to record my thoughts about my crazy husband, especially when he’s not there.  He left at first light with the remaining apostles, and by the time I went outside the other two groups had gone too.

For some reason I have not only arranged and underwritten the funding of this latest escapade, but I’ve also said I will follow on and join them in Judea when they’ve had a chance to settle in.  I don’t know why, but I really think something may come of it.  Anyway, he’s my husband and it will do us both good to share some of our interests.

Thank goodness for Cyrus though.  Not only is his practical attitude a perfect antidote to Jesus, but by taking a lease of the farm he’s provided me with the income I need to support the mission and I know he will actually improve the farm, not let it run to ruin as some tenants might.  And he’s really good company and has a wicked sense of humour, and he knows how to make a woman feel safe at night.

Jesus, Saturday November 25, 29 CE

I avoided going to the Synagogue today, even though I yearned to be there taking part or just listening.  I told the apostles to stay away too.  There will be around three dozen of us heading south, and although that is way less than the thousands we had at Yom Kippur, it’s still too many to travel together if we use inns overnight.  Peter suggested we split into three groups, and that the other two groups take tents and camp out en route.  He’s been working up to our departure for some time and the tents and rations have already been prepared and packed.

Although I have felt agitated for the past few days I feel very calm tonight, as I always do when I’m fulfilling my destiny.  I am looking forward to sharing my wife’s bed for what may be the last time in a while.

Roman soldiers kill Galilean worshippers

Jesus, Thursday November 23, 29 CE

It’s getting noticeably cooler and the days are shorter than in the summer.

A chill of another kind settled on us today, when news reached us that Pilate’s soldiers had killed several Galileans at the end of last week.  Apparently, all the men were doing was making some small sacrifices to God.  The Centurion said he would let them continue, provided they also made a sacrifice to the Roman gods to demonstrate their loyalty.  The Centurion thought this was a perfectly reasonable compromise but of course we Jews can only worship the one God to the exclusion of all others.  So the Centurion had them killed.

There could have been a rebellion there and then, but the Romans stood firm behind their shields and the Galileans weren’t prepared.  The soldiers retreated out of town, but the rumour is that a messenger was sent to call for reinforcements.

This gave me the impetus I had been lacking.  It may seem dangerous to head south towards Jerusalem where the Romans are always out in force for the main festivals, but it would be plain stupid to hang around in Galilee to be murdered.  Anyway, Jerusalem may be a Roman stronghold but it’s also the site of the Temple, which is God’s stronghold, and he’s rather more powerful and permanent than the Roman empire.

I’ve told everyone to prepare to set off at the start of the new week on Sunday