ONCE AGAIN, THE BRONZE bulky being stood before them. ”Well, what’ll it be? Yes, or no?”
Lucas looked expectantly at his partner and gestured with his hand.
”Well, yes” came the answer. “It’ll be yes. I don’t know why I was so hesitant yesterday. This is really a chance of a lifetime.”
”Well then, what are we waiting for? Let’s go, shall we?”
The sun was spreading its golden rays over the distant mountains as the three began their journey. After introducing himself to the other two, Barabbas said, ”You know, we’re luckier than I thought. On my way to meet with you, I learned that some stranger from Nazareth is riding into town and practically everyone is out hailing him ‘king.’ That means we’ll have no witnesses. Ah, but even if we do happen to get caught, which I’m sure we won’t, I’ve got the perfect alibi planned.”
The thought of getting caught stunned Timotheus and he wanted to turn back. But, gathering up his courage, he determined to go on.
Yet, he was soon to encounter a force more powerful than any fear.
”But, won’t Benjamin leave his shop for the festivities?” inquired Lucas.
”That miser? Not a chance!”
They walked on in silence for a while and Timotheus thought: a stranger from Nazareth being proclaimed king? Perhaps it was the same one that John had baptized earlier and the dove had appeared and voice spoken. Perhaps it was the same one who had been healing people and who had told John’s disciples to tell him what they had seen. Perhaps he was the same one who had fed the multitude with two fishes and five loaves. Perhaps he was-—could it be?—the Messiah?
As they turned the corner, Barabbas sighted the crowd, slowly making its way up the hillside road.
”It’s him! That crazy radical, making like he’s a king. Ha!” But the jest in Barabbas’ voice was not strong enough to conceal the joyful hope that lay there too. If this man were to be king, the present government must first be overthrown, and surely this man would be better than Pilate. Any government would be better than the present one. Had he not rioted and killed earlier this month to prove that? He would kill again if necessary for the freedom of Israel. But he was meant to be an organizer rather than a regent. Now he was neither. Now he was only a lonely fugitive, in need of money and willing to steal for it, yet shattered and afraid.
The stranger drew near, the throng about him throwing articles of clothing and shouting, “hosanna” and other eulogies indiscernible in the din. Now he was really close to where the three were and despite the crowd on either side of him, Timotheus was able to get a clear close up view of him and was deeply moved. There was something about this man that he had never seen in anyone else. He was a simple Nazarene, poorly clad, unshaven and astride a lowly donkey. Yet he had a strange radiance of face which seemed to glow even brighter against the darkness of Timotheus’ own sinful heart.
”Come on,” urged Barabbas, “It’s not much further.”
”I’m not coming,” uttered Timotheus resolutely, his eyes still fixed upon the Nazarene.
”What?!” exploded Lucas. “What could possibly be making you turn back now? Have you forgotten about all that money?”
Again the power of Lucas’ words struck him.
”All right!” He shrugged. ”It was just a slight pain. I’ll be alright.” He couldn’t disappoint his companions. Nor could he readily pass up ”all that money.”
”Good enough,” came the big man’s cheery encouragement. “Good enough!”
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