A Scene at an Inn in Caesarea
“I don’t think he carried a sword; a knife surely and he had tools too. He was a carpenter you know?”
The innkeeper was the kind who liked to talk. He had asked a curious question, ‘Did Jesus carry a sword?’ as he served bread and wine. Although tired, I’d been walking for a long time without seeing anyone. It had been a while since I talked to a living thing. The life of a tutor of my training is one of constant travel and some conversation seemed fine. He had offered a meal and a room. He said he knew about Jesus, I was intrigued. Being dead and buried, then walking around preaching gets a lot of attention. The innkeeper believed Jesus to have been a firebrand.
“But you were one of his chosen, weren’t ya?” The innkeeper pressed his question doggedly. “I saw you once in Jerusalem.”
“No not chosen, but for a long while I traveled with them,” I said. “Now, Peter carried a weapon and he was well trained. Matthew, the tax collector, because of his work he carried weapons. He knew how to use his staff too. Tax Collectors are not well liked. Their weapons were inside their cloak, like mine. You saw my staff too. But Judas was always talking about some sort of fighting and weapons. Judas listened to Jesus talk and never heard a word of what he said about peace. He was not revolutionary, but Judas was. He wore his sword outside his garment and would have made us an armed band of ruffians, but Jesus always steered us from violence.”
“The preacher,” the innkeeper asked, “what was he like? Some of those pious ones come in here often. Their soft hands and need to tell people what to do, don’t make them popular with none of my clients.”
“Oh, I am a man of words and yet they never seem to completely describe Him. Soft and pious are not words I would ever use talking about Jesus though?”
“Tell me then. What was he like?”
I was curious about his insistence to know more. Was he trying to get me to speak against the guards? Funny fellow. “Jesus was a man who worked with His hands.” I said. “I’ve seen his spit in the dirt and make a blind man see with the mud. He didn’t go wash like the priests, he brushed His hands together and moved on. He washed before eating surely.”
“I figure them stories to be tall tales.”
“They weren’t,” I was bragging maybe, “He did a lot more things like that. He made madmen sane, cured women’s problems, he once cast demons into a bunch of hogs and made them run into the river and drown.”
“You saw that?”
“He wasn’t just a little prissy priest like the one comes in here and wants free wine?”
“No, he was powerful,” I argued, “Some of the furniture He and Joseph made was heavy, sturdy stuff.”
“My father was like that. He wasn’t a carpenter by trade, but he had calloused hands and could make all kinds of things to work in the fields.” The innkeeper offered more wine, but I covered my cup. He leaned over the table and waited.
“You would have liked him my friend.” I suggested.
“Jesus was very strong, had the shape of a gladiator or one of the Legion and a similar stride. He was always erect, would look you in the eyes when he talked.” I told him.
“What was that dust up at the Marketplace. I heard he went crazy.” The innkeeper goaded.
“The Marketplace? I was there, it wasn’t a marketplace, it was the Temple, sacred space. It was God’s house and He said God was his father. They had started really being competitive, holding things to buy in his face. Money was being changed loudly and the livestock stink was intense. He had enough of their behavior, took a coil of rope and ran the lot of them off the property. He looked like a gladiator for a moment, they were afraid of Him.”
“He was a revolutionary, no?”
“No, he was not trying to overthrow Roman law or desecrate, he was cleaning out unclean and bad behavior at the Temple. It’s much too beautiful for all the trading and material things. He was a gentle man. He had wisdom of the ages and would take time to listen, then explain the scriptures, give us entirely different understandings of what God’s word said and what the prophets wrote. His words had such impact, such meaning. He would comfort you, encourage you and promise to empower you to do exactly what was right. Jesus, was a man who looked like the Greek statues of gods, spoke like the final authority and had the ability to make you comfortable in your own skin.”
“What of these followers, the cursed Legions and the Priest hate them. That Roman Saul, he has become obsessed about the movement.”
“Now he is called Paul, I know him, we had the same teacher, Gamaliel, who is partial to the teachings of Jesus. Gamaliel is worried about him. I told him the other day, ‘If Paul could have met Jesus, somewhere alone without a crowd where the little rooster didn’t think he had to play that role; it would have been different.’”
“But Jesus disappeared? Right?”
“He ascended into Heaven is how Peter described it. I was not there.”
“What are you guys left behind ‘sposed ta do?”
“Just what I’m doing,” I smiled, “Blessings on you. All He asked of us was to tell others about Him. Treat others with respect and be good examples.”
The shopkeeper was distracted by others in the in, “I’ve gotta get to work. You gonna be around?”
“Just for the night. I have a young man to tutor in Tyre.”
“Wish you could stick around.”
“Keep your ear to the ground. The disciples preach, there are many followers who teach. They get together, eat, visit and study the Old law and what Jesus taught. The word is not for just the Jews anymore. You can live after your death as a follower of Jesus.”
“Hadn’t heard that.”
“Now you have. Jesus said, ‘Seek and ye shall find.’ But it has to be your decision. I must rest for tomorrow. Blessings again.”
“Good talkin’ with ya.”
Authors: W.D.Edmiston, J North, Spencer Allen.