THE STRANGE looking black and white chariot pulled up in front of the teeming Market and stopped. It had been a whole week now since its driver, in his black and white robe, had knelt before the cross and given his life to the dying Nazarene. In that time, he had seen no sign of her. Where had she been? He wanted to find her and tell her what had happened to him. But, even if he did, would she understand him? Would she also embrace his loyalty to the Nazarene, or would she think him silly, or on a dead end chase? All these thoughts were running through his mind as he sat there in his chariot, perusing the crowd that filled the Market place.
Then, he saw her. Was it really she? His heart began to beat faster. He must go and confront her. He got out of the chariot and walked with quickened pace to the place where she stood. She was looking over some goods with her back toward him. He quietly but firmly called her name. “Claressa! Claressa!” She seemed not to hear. He called again. “Claressa!”
She turned slowly and looked surprised to see him. “Manaheem! What are you doing here?”
“Looking for you.” She started to turn away, but he persisted. “Oh, Claressa, I’ve changed. I’m a different man now. Something happened to me the day he died. I knelt at his cross and gave my life to him, and I haven’t been the same since.”
“Manaheem! Whatever are you talking about? Who died?”
“Why, the Nazarene, they call Jesus. Somehow I have a feeling he was more than a mere man. He died forgiving those who put him on the cross. Claressa, I tell you, I felt such a peace, as I knelt there. And I knew that I couldn’t continue with my blackmail plans against Herod.”
“You’re not going to blackmail Herod?”
“No, my dear. I saw how wrong I was to even think of it in the first place.”
“Well, then, you are changed!”
“I certainly am. Somehow, I think I’ve found what I’ve been searching for all my life. I can’t really explain it all yet, but I know there was something special about that Nazarene. The sign above his head read ‘king of the Jews’, and I believe he must be a universal king.”
“But, Manaheem, how can he rule anyone or anything if he’s dead?”
“I’m not sure, Claressa I just feel somehow that—-”
“But he’s not dead!” The gruff voice came from behind them. Manaheem turned to see who it was. It was the brawny blacksmith, who had led the insurrection, and had caused him to return to the cross.
“Oh, it’s you. We meet again!”
“Yes, and I have good news! Jesus, the Nazarene is no longer dead! He arose from the dead three days after he was crucified, as he had predicted. He has appeared to his disciples and to groups of believers at various times since. I’m now a member of a believers group which meets at the home of Marcus, not far from here. We’re meeting tonight. Won’t you join us? He just may appear.”
Manaheem smiled. “But, of course, I’d be happy to come.”
“Bring your lady friend too.”
Manaheem looked at Claressa. She sighed and smiled. “I’d be glad to come too.”
“Wonderful. I’ll, see you both tonight.”
After the big man left, Manaheem turned and looked once more at Claressa. “Well?”
“Well, now what do you think of my new-found cause?”
“What can I say? The man apparently rose from the grave.”
“Yes! Proving what I thought all along– that he is more than a mere man. He is a king indeed. He’s a king who wants to rule in the hearts of men. Perhaps he’s the promised Messiah of Scripture.”
“Oh yes, you told me you were reading the sacred writings. But they’re Jewish, aren’t they?”
“Perhaps they’re Jewish in origin only. Perhaps they’re intended for the whole world.”
“What are you saying, Manaheem? Are you saying that the whole world should become Jewish?”
“No, of course not! But perhaps the whole world should accept the Jewish Messiah, because he’s actually their Messiah too."
“Honestly, Manaheem! You make less sense all the time. But I’m glad you found something to cling to, and that you’re not still trying to get gain from other people’s mistakes.”
“I tell you, Claressa, I’ve found the answer for which I’ve been searching for all my life. I wish you could find him too.”
“Well, perhaps. Let’s see what tonight brings. I did say I was going to that meeting, didn’t I? But as for right now—-.” She threw her arms around him. “I’m sure glad to see you again. It’s been over a week, hasn’t it?” They kissed briefly.
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