Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.
For Shimon the night was strangely relaxing. Even as Morpheus embraced his tired bones, his mind seemed to reach back to happier times. His eyes, under his eyelids, drifted back, until he saw vague reflections of a dying fire. Yeshûa was standing in the middle of the circle of his friends, his lose robe swaying a little in the shore-bound wind. It was a warm, balmy night. All his friends, the disciples, often spent the night, outdoors, together, at the sandy shores of the Sea of Galilee.
A smile displaced the almost permanent frown on Shimon’s tired face. He felt the gentle breeze on his cheeks; Yeshûa’s voice, gentle, persuasive, removing all worry from his mind.
Shimon was happy. Again.
They sat in a circle, listening to Yeshûa talk. It was very different from the times when the Master talked to the masses of people who, for some time now, were following Yeshûa wherever He went.
When he preached to them, he preached how to live, here, on earth, how to manage their life, how to overcome difficulties that arose between various people. Essentially, he taught them that when they eliminate strife and selfishness, and greed and selfishness, life would become easier. For everyone. For them and for others. He taught them how to live. How to conduct their ordinary, everyday life.
His teaching was very simple. If you love one another, He’d said, then you eliminate all enemies; you become surrounded by friends, and friends, He said, help one another. What can be simpler?
But when Shimon and the chosen few, the twelve of them, and Yeshûa were alone, away from being overheard by others, He talked of different things. He talked of His Kingdom. He taught that whatever we think of, whatever we feel deeply about, creates an echo in a reality which is akin to a dream. And that is why, He’d said, it is not what we do that matters so much, but what we think and feel. These are the two foundation stones of my Kingdom, He’d said. This is where we become masters of our own domain, where we are truly in the image and likeness of our father. Where our will is the most powerful force in the universe. On earth and in heaven. This is where Ye are gods, he repeated, many a time. This is where ye are gods.
None of this is real… He repeated often, though only when they were alone. Unless you accept this truth, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, He’d said. He insisted on that. Heaven is within you. In the Kingdom where we are all gods.
Heaven is within you…
Shimon didn’t understand most of His words. That last statement, about heaven, was the hardest to understand. He doubted that his friend understood any better. Not with their mind. But what did happen was a strange feeling that Yeshûa was telling him what he already knew. What he’d always known, deep, in his heart.
As so often, when Yeshûa spoke time seemed to stop. Perhaps He did transport them, if for but fragments of eternity, to a different realty which He called his Kingdom.
The fire was dying now. A spark flew, here and there, Yeshûa’s contour dissolved in the ripple of the wavelets of Gennesareth. Gradually the water became lustrous, perfectly still.
And then Shimon heard a great wind rushing at him from above. Yet he didn’t wake up, though he could swear that his eyes were wide open. He also felt Yeshûa’s presence. Just as He’d promised.
(Chapter 4 to follow)