Tag Archives: Skeptic

Cyrus has his camel repossessed

Mary Magdalene, Thursday January 18, 30 CE

Cyrus is so good at turning up unexpectedly that you almost become used to it.

What surprised me was the scruffy-looking donkey he arrived on.

“Where’s the camel?” I asked.

“Repossessed…Look, can I come in and talk please?”

Another surprise: Cyrus saying please.  He came in and sat down in the kitchen.  Mary smiled at me and left us in private.

“You look well,” he said, unexpectedly.  I thought he had come to discuss something important and then he came out with that.

“Thanks.”

“Yes, positively blooming, I would say.  Oh, er, you’re not…?”

My own husband had failed to recognise my morning sickness while this relative stranger instantly spotted something in my appearance that no one else had noticed.

“I think so, but before you ask, I don’t know who…”

I had slept with him and Jesus within two nights of each other, so either could be the father, if indeed I am pregnant.  However, given my past success rate at conceiving a child with Jesus, the odds must be uneven in Cyrus’s favour.  Then again, if I wish to avoid being stoned to death for adultery, sleeping with my husband provides a good alibi.  Cyrus inspected the floor.

“So, what have you come all this way to talk about?” I asked, relieving him of the burden of opening the conversation.

“I’m in trouble.  Financial trouble.”

It would take all night to write down everything we said, but the essence was that he had never been as rich as all that.  The reason he had entertained us at the gate house in Shiloh was because that was where he lived.  His genuinely rich master lived in the big house.  He used to supplement his income by travelling around selling trinkets when his master was away, and he did particularly well out of his occasional appearances as Eleazar the Exorcist.

He then saw an opportunity to create some good returns from producing high-quality wine from new vineyards in Galilee, where conditions were perfect and land was cheap, and all was going well.  But he had borrowed a bit too much, got involved in too many deals and made more enemies than he needed, so as soon as something went wrong it immediately led to other problems, and so on.

“The trouble is, babe, it will be a few years before there is much in the way of mature wine to sell from those vineyards I planted in Magdala, and my creditors are looking for substantial repayments right now.”

The intense nausea I felt at that point had nothing to do with what may or may not be growing inside me.  I realised he was trying to tell me I could lose the farm where I had grown up, and in which I had invested so many years of toil and care.  I wept.

He tried to comfort me but I pushed his arm away.  We sat in silence for a while.  Eventually I told him to go away, but I didn’t say I never wanted to see him again.  I said I wanted to see him again when he knew exactly what the legal position was and how much was involved.  Despite the setback I felt clear headed and more in control than I had been for a long time.  I will get this sorted out and then drop this flawed seducer.  I sometimes think Jesus is deluded, but now I see he is no more deluded than Cyrus and has the advantage of being completely genuine.

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More touring, more cursing, more banquets

Thomas, Tuesday January 16, 30 CE

There must be over a dozen towns in this region to the south of Jerusalem, so even at one a day we’d be pressed to visit them all.  It never quite works out as evenly as that, because some places don’t make you welcome, so you only stop long enough for a quick curse and sandal-shake, while in other places people compete to be seen entertaining us and we could easily stay for days.

What God will do when the tax collectors become as arrogant about their ability to please him by repenting of their ways as the Pharisees are about their virtuousness, he alone knows, but I’m starting to get confused.  We can’t let ourselves be seen as on the side of the bad guys.

Anyway, we had another banquet tonight and we’ve been invited out elsewhere in the same town tomorrow, so that’s slowed the tour down again.

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.

Mary Magdalene, Friday January 12, 30 CE

He did it again today but I managed not to scream.  I just lay back while he got to work and took the total of expelled demons to seven, a number which seemed to satisfy him.  I did feel better afterwards but my morning sickness goes away of its own accord each day anyway.  I remember Mary, Jesus’ mother, saying hers went on all day when she was having him, poor thing.

Anyway, he’s full of enthusiasm for touring again and couldn’t wait to get back out there with a dozen or so men and the two travelling Marys, and I’m really pleased for him.  They expect to be settled in Tekoa before sunset, ready to preach on the Sabbath.  He’s trying to stay one step ahead of the Pharisees, but they’re a smart bunch and they’ll soon catch up with him.

Mary Magdalene, Thursday January 11, 30 CE

Jesus seemed much more his old self when he returned from his latest tour yesterday, and it was really good to be with him again.  My feelings changed this morning when he insisted on exorcising me again.  That’s three times now.  If he does it again I’ll scream.  Better not I suppose.  It would only make him think it was working.  They have to decide now whether to stay here for the Sabbath or get on the road again tomorrow morning.

Jesus, Wednesday January 10, AD 30 #pharisees

We arrived back in Bethany this afternoon after a good week’s preaching and exorcism in the area around Gibeah, to the north of here.  The word about us had already reached them but people respond much better when they see you in the flesh.  I could have come back with dozens of new followers, all having sold all their worldly goods, but I didn’t want a repeat of the camp at Magdala.  Instead I encouraged them to form communities in their own villages and promised to return soon.

We were in Gibeah itself for the Sabbath and had sport in the synagogue.  There are so many Pharisees in this part of Judea, and they are so full of their own virtue, and they so hate being contradicted despite being so obviously wrong so much of the time.  They weren’t ready for me on this occasion but it won’t be so easy next time.

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.