CHAPTER 11: CHRIST AND CRISIS
Again, the cylinder lands in a clump of trees beside a road.
Walt checks the indicator.
"Jerusalem: 33 A.D.?"
"That’s what it says."
"Ah!” sighs Walt, remembering. "The time of the prophet, Jesus."
"I thought we were through with hearing that name."
"I guess not. Maybe it's fate or something. Anyway, it’ll give us a chance to sharpen up our Hebrew."
"That’s right," observes Kerry, “they still do speak that language in this time, don’t they?"
“As well as Aramaic and Greek.”
"We won’t have to worry about looking out of place. We can just cover ourselves with the bed-sheets and towels and we’ll fit right in."
"You mean you plan to spend time looking around here too?"
"Well, we do have to get the water and alcohol don’t we?"
"The alcohol, maybe. I almost forgot about that. But by the sound of those falls, we won’t have to worry about the water,” observes Daniel referring to the faint sound of falling water in the distance.
"You’ve sure got good ears."
"Anyway, before we do anything let’s check the damage, shall we?" insists Daniel.
They find the damage to be quite extensive. Many tiles need to be replaced and the directional mechanism needs to be adjusted. Daniel volunteers. "Well, why don’t you two go have a look around and try to find some spirits. I’ll stay here and do what I can to fix the ship."
Walt and Kerry walk boldly out of the clump of trees and onto the road, clad in sheets, with towels around their heads. "I feel a little silly in this get-up. Do you really think we’ll fit in?"
"Well, it’s not perfect, but close enough. Nobody'll notice any difference, which they sure would if we’d kept those modern clothes on."
They walk along the dusty road, admiring the rolling hillside, dotted with quaint houses and huge, spreading trees. Suddenly, they notice, on one side, a crowd of people a short distance ahead.
"I wonder what that’s all about."
"Well, let’s go and see!"
And so our friends find themselves in the midst of a crowd of people who are listening to a man talking. "I do not come to judge the world,” the man is saying, "but to save the world.” His words seem to have a kind of power.
"Could it be him?"
"Probably. One way to find out." Walt nudges the man next to him in the crowd and asks, "Who is that man who’s speaking?"
"Why, Jesus of Nazareth. Everybody knows about him!"
"And those men there next to him--who are they?"
"Why, his disciples, of course. Where have you been?"
As they listen, they are impressed by the love and power in his words. "He’s quite a speaker."
"Sure is. But listen to what he’s saying now."
"I do not speak on my own,” Jesus was saying, "but the Father who sent me has commanded me what to say."
"Pretty impressive, eh?"
"Nah! Prophets always say things like that. Well, I guess we’d better get back and give Daniel a hand at fixing the ship."
"Yeah, we’ve seen enough. Let’s go."
Back at the ship, they try to share their enthusiasm with Daniel, who is tired from working on the ship and, thus, not very interested. "Did you find the alcohol?" he asks, expectantly.
"Oh, my goodness! We forgot all about it."
"What?! That fellow must be some kind of spell-binder! Well, it doesn’t really matter. We’ll still be here for a while, by the looks of it. I tried to adjust the directional mechanism, but there seems to be something broken. I’ll need your help, Kerry, to fix it. I also replaced several of the tiles, but not all of them. Walt, why don’t you keep working on the tiles, while Kerry and I try to fix the directional mechanism."
It is impossible for Walt to replace all the tiles before darkness sets in. "Have to finish this tomorrow."
"And guess what? We discovered a problem in the fuel system also. Looks like we’re going to be here for a while."
After supper, they try to contact home base, but the communication is so garbled that they cannot make out anything.
The next day finds our friends working hard to fix the trouble. Walt helps for a while on the interior trouble and then goes outside to finish replacing the tiles. Suddenly, he hears the sound of many voices coming from the street. He enters the ship to tell the others: "Hey, guys, it seems like there’s some excitement out there. Why don’t we take a break and go have a look."
"We have been working pretty hard at this agrees Kerry.
"What? Are you guys going to leave me again?"
"Well, you could come along. This work will wait."
"Ah, I guess I might as well. No use being the only one of us who hasn’t seen 33 A.D."
They can barely see, at the front of the crowd, a man bound and being led along by the mob. As they push their way through the crowd to get a better view, Walt asks someone, "Who are they taking?"
"Why Jesus of Nazareth. Don’t you know?"
"But he seemed to be so popular the other day."
"That was then. He’s been arrest on the charge of blasphemy, and we’re taking him to Caiaphas for trial."
"Wow!" whispers Walt to Daniel, “We certainly did come at a historic moment!"
"Yeah, I guess so. Something like seeing the shooting of old Abe Lincoln--Now, there’s an event I wish I could have witnessed."
They follow the crowd to the judgment hall of the high priest. Outside, in the courtyard, there is a man, who looks very much like one of the disciples they had seen gathered around Jesus earlier. The man is warming himself by one of the small fires which dot the courtyard. A servant girl comes up to him and asks: "Aren’t you one of his followers? I’m sure I’ve seen you with him."
The man replies with an oath "I tell you, I don’t know the man!" His words are emphasized by the crowing of the cock.
Inside, they witness the mockery of a trial. They hear the many false witnesses testify against Jesus. They hear the high priest ask Jesus whether he is the Son of God, and they listen to his calm and powerful reply "You shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven." They see the high priest rend his clothes and declare that Jesus has blasphemed and is worthy of death. And they watch as the people begin to spit on him and slap him in the face. They watch as he takes it all in silence.
"So this is the Jesus everyone has been talking about."
"Yeah, isn’t it great? Just like seeing one of those Biblical movies on TV"
"Only, this is the real thing! Look at the blood coming to his cheeks from the hits."
"Yeah, I’ve had enough of this! Let’s go! We can get a head start on the crowd."
Once outside, they again notice the man warming himself by the fire. Kerry nudges one of the bystanders. "Say, isn’t he one of Jesus' disciples?"
"Sure he is! Why, his speech even gives him away!" The bystander then turns and confronts the man. "Yes, you! You’re one of ‘em for sure! Even your speech says so!"
At this, the man begins to cruse and swear, saying, "I tell You, I do not know the man!" And the cock crows.
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