Next installment of my next historical novel: Peter and Paul.
Judge not that ye might not be judged…
Shimon was regarding the assembly from the courtyard of the gentiles, a misnomer, as usually only Jews could get access to it. He recalled the Master exchanging words with the sages not so long ago. They had been stunned by his knowledge of the Law. Have the Essences instilled such proficiency? He never said. He just knew. Perhaps the knowledge always resided within him?
Yet, He too has been found guilty.
On the way here Shimon played with the idea of challenging the Sanhedrin declaration that the believers were not true Jews. That they didn’t conform to the Hebrew Law. He approached the Council through the southern gate, keeping close to the sides of the pillared court, taking advantage of the shade offered by the red-roofed Royal Stoa.
He walked slowly, alone, unwilling to expose his brethren to the wrath of the Council. He’d spent the night in prayer, asking for the courage to intercede for the believers. No matter what.
Only he didn’t make it. His knees gave way as he slid down, his back against the column, his legs trembling, refusing to support his gaunt body.
Master, willst thou not help me?
Silence reverberated across the courtyard. It surrounded him and pushed him against the stone floor. He could actually hear the stillness. Intense absence of sound. An emptiness. Like in his heart.
Master, willst thou not help me?
The sounds he heard were not from outside. They were born inside his head. Or was it just vein hope? He knew that help was coming. It had to be soon. Shavu’ot. It had to be that. All his brethren were waiting for Shavu’ot to come. They were counting the days. They were holding their breath.
Shavu’ot. The day of hope. Of redemption.
Sitting, his back against the column, Shimon shrugged. What could one man do against seventy-one? Even the Master couldn’t convince them of his righteousness. They, the judges, were set in their ways. A thousand years of tradition was on their side.
Recently they were loosing more brethren. After Stephen was murdered, stoned to death, two other believers died in similar way. Seemingly in an act of robbery but Simon and his friends know better. You cannot be robbed when you have no possessions on you. No money, no silver, no gold. Not a single shekel. All their wealth was only in their heart. Yet they died.
The believers, still but few of them, were all leaving Jerusalem. Too close to the power of the Sanhedrin. Who knew what went on in their midst?
The Sanhedrin was in full session. They got through the usual complains about abuses against the Jews by the Romans about which they could do nothing about, and got down to the more pressing matters.
There were many sects springing in Judea, and even right here, in Jerusalem. They had to be dealt with. They knew what to expect from the established Pharisees, most of them were Pharisees themselves, but there were the, often difficult to deal with, Sadducees. Also the Essenes kept insisting to be heard with their prophetic bias, and the Zealots were raising their rebellious heads. Zealotry was mostly political, but its members were practically terrorists, inciting people to rise against the Roman occupation. Didn’t they realize how powerful Rome was? Didn’t Jerusalem suffer enough strife and mayhem in recent years?
And then there were the followers of Yeshûa. They were the most enigmatic, refusing to be categorized in any recognizable fashion. Yet, the council felt instinctively, they were the most dangerous. They were the most likely to upset the established ways. The ways dating back to Moses himself.
Their ways. Their power.
(to be continued)