Tag Archives: Gospel

Tom agrees to just one more tour

Thomas, Saturday January 13, 30 CE

Agreed to join Jesus on one more tour, to provide some strategic input, but didn’t realise till we set off that this one was planned to last at least two weeks, not just a few days like the last one.  I’ll see how it goes, but I really wanted to get back to Nazareth soon.

Jesus really stirred things up in the synagogue today.  I had all these things scripted for him, but he just can’t resist goading the Pharisees and went off on a rant of his own.  Actually it was quite good.  He’s become so used to using parables that he came up with one on the spot.

It was about people who take the moral high ground, and featured a Pharisee and a tax collector praying in the Temple.  The Pharisee brags loudly about being better than ordinary people because he obeys every detail of the law, fasts regularly and gives at least a tenth of his income away.   The tax collector simply bows his head in shame and asks to be forgiven for being such a bad person.  The moral wasn’t lost on his audience.

What I really liked about it was that it came back to our old theme of roles and fortunes being reversed.  There was actually a tax collector at the synagogue who had been hiding at the back in shame, who liked the story so much he invited us all to dinner at his house this evening, which annoyed the Pharisees even more.  He fed and wined us royally, and Jesus forgave him his sins, and he made a generous contribution to the tour purse and promised to give a bigger amount to the poor, so everyone was happy.  Apart from the Pharisees of course, but they wouldn’t be happy being happy anyway.

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Thomas, Saturday January 6, 30 CE

Went to the synagogue with Mary M this morning (ie Mary of Magdala – simpler than writing Jesus’ wife all the time) leaving Mary B at the house.  MM said she really likes it but never goes at the same time as Jesus in case she cramps his style (or, more likely, he embarrasses her).  She joined in the psalms with a strong and clear singing voice but said nothing when the scriptures were discussed.  She listened intently though, nodding her head vigorously in agreement and frequently shaking it hard too.  It was like being with a silent Jesus.

Fortunately hardly anyone knew she was Jesus’ wife or I was his best friend, so we weren’t set upon by the waiting pack of Pharisees.  They did a lot of looking round and whispering, followed by a lot of looking downcast when their prey failed to show.

Mary Magdalene, Friday January 5, 30 CE

So often I feel a sense of relief when Jesus goes off on a trip.  Then I feel guilty about my feeling of relief, and then I feel anxious about my feeling of guilt, and soon my feelings pile up and I regret feeling anything at all.  But if I didn’t feel anything at all, that nothing feeling would be worse than anything.  At least I still care deeply about him, whatever the actual feelings are.

At least he didn’t exorcise me again today.  I’m just a bit under the weather.  If only  he knew how it feels when your husband keeps telling you you’re full of demons.  Oh, here I go again about feelings.  Time to give Mary a hand and get the place tidy, now that lot have gone.  I’m looking forward to a nice restful Sabbath.

Sick again

Jesus, Sunday December 31, 29 CE

Sunday 30th December

Mary was sick again this morning.  She was fine yesterday so it can’t be something she ate, unless she keeps eating something bad every night.  She didn’t seem keen to be exorcised but I insisted.  After a while she convulsed and then relaxed, and I could sense a demon coming out of her.  She was better after that.

Tom and Peter came to me and suggested we start touring the area more ourselves instead of relying on others to spread the word.  They’re right.  Apart from anything else, I’m starting to become unpopular here.  It seems to happen eventually wherever I am.  You’d think people would be more grateful for being saved.  We agreed to start with some of the local towns and villages and see how it goes.  Peter has got most of his old spirit back since Tom arrived.  They’ve never got on that well personally but when they compete constructively it’s good for them and the entire team.

Tom has a hangover after Jesus’ birthday party

Thomas, Tuesday December 26, 29 CE

Never again.  I haven’t drunk as much as I did last night in a very long time.  The wine was just so much better than I’m used to, and the way they kept filling my cup, I thought it would run over if I didn’t keep drinking.  I always thought Pharisees were so abstemious too.

It was Jesus’ birthday, and I made sure I kept telling everyone he was 29.  It’s really important for the image, if he’s interested in any kind of publicity at all these days.  Most people expressed surprise he was that old, saying he only looked about 27, which of course he loved.  You need a bit of vanity to put yourself forward as saviour of the world.  Anyway, I told everyone: never mind measuring the years by reference to the reign of Caesar, we’re entering year 30 of the age of Jesus. It may have sounded hubristic but it’s the kind of thing people remember and repeat to others.

The evening got off to a bad start, before improving and then drifting off again.  Our Pharisee host, Simon, couldn’t help scoring a point by having a go at Jesus for not performing a ritual hand-washing before the meal.  Jesus wasn’t quite sure how to respond but I remembered a line he had once used about it being cleanliness within a man’s heart that mattered to God, and I reeled that off in his defence.  Jesus grinned gratefully at me and developed it into a tirade against the Pharisees for showing off their virtues with gifts to the temple while being bad on the inside.

Simon was momentarily silent, no doubt seeing it as his right to be superior on matters of the law, but then he noticed that two of the tax collectors he had invited were enjoying the scene, so he laughed and congratulated Jesus on making an excellent point.  After that we enjoyed a fine meal of meats, fruit and of course far too much wine.

The saviour of the world drank even more than me.  After a while he started telling everyone he was the Son of Man and would soon arrive on his cloud and go round judging the world.  I knew he’d had enough when his line became, “I’m the son of God, you know.  Call me a bastard but I bet your mother never slept with the Big Guy.”  This appalled Simon, who would have had no trouble getting Jesus stoned to death for blasphemy, and I quickly apologised and started to persuade Jesus it was time to leave, eventually helping him to stagger home.  He’s still sleeping it off and it’s mid-afternoon.  If the real Son of Man arrives today, we’re in big trouble.

Simon the Zealot reunites with Jesus #sonofman

Jesus, Thursday December 21, AD 29

Simon the Zealot turned up today, which made me so glad I cried.  I had never expected to see him again, and judging by his bandages and the trouble he had walking, I was lucky he was alive to be seen at all.  He came by camel in the morning with Cyrus, who disappointed me by turning down the offer of lunch, saying he was too busy.

Simon told me harrowing tales of violent deeds by the daggermen and of the dreadful fate that had been promised to the rest of his band when he made his miraculous escape, and he told me how kind Mary and Cyrus had been in taking him in and caring for him, and he told me how the Son of Man had appeared to him several times in dreams, telling him to rejoin my mission.  I asked him what the Son of Man looked like, and his answer was the same as Matthew’s.  Why do they think he looks like me?

I’d love Simon to join us again – his strength of spirit is so inspiring to the others – but I think we’ll keep him out of the front line till his injuries have healed some more and become less obvious.

I asked for news of Mary, but all he knew was that she was planning a trip to Nazareth when he set off yesterday, presumably to see Tom.  Good old Tom.  Doubting Tom.

Thomas is Back #doubtingthomas

Thomas, Wednesday December 20, 29 CE

“That sounds more like an order,” I said to Mary.  She turned up this evening on her donkey, saying she was on her way to join Jesus in Bethany and telling me that my employer wanted me to go too and would support my family while I was away.  What could I say?

Actually I have been feeling restless and must admit to an increasing curiosity at how Jesus is getting on.  Would I be jealous to find him managing perfectly well without me?  Maybe, but I’m sure he would benefit from my input, however well he’s doing.  I’ve been jotting down a few new ideas for parables and I’ve even been considering starting my diary again.  Well, here we are again.  Hello diary!

Hannah was surprisingly relaxed about the idea, especially if Cyrus was going to help with the bills.  Sam is happy and doing well in his studies, and during the last week I’ve done possibly the most important thing I will ever do for my daughter.  We met the parents of a very nice boy called Daniel, who is seventeen, to start making arrangements for him to marry Ruth as soon as she reaches thirteen next year.  We have discussed terms for a dowry and paying for the wedding, which will cripple me financially but will get her into a good respectable family.  His parents want the couple to live with them initially but will provide them with their own house in due course, which is fantastic.

It’s about three days’ walk to Bethany from here.  It would just about be doable in two days, but we would be travelling in the dark at both ends of the day and would put everyone to a lot of work during the Sabbath when arriving late on Friday.  Instead we’ll go at a steady pace through Samaria to Shiloh, stay overnight on Friday at Cyrus’s house and aim to reach Bethany around sunset on Saturday.  I won’t take our donkey because I don’t know when I’ll be going back, and Hannah may need it.  I’m happy to walk and let Mary ride, unless she wants to walk for the odd hour to give me a break.