Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.
It took Shimon the whole of the night to recover. Whatever happened on Shavuoth, on the southwestern hill of Jerusalem, was not only beyond his expectations, but it didn’t make any logical sense. Not with logic as he knew it.
Frankly, his recollection of that day was hazy. Fragments went well beyond real, yet they were as vivid as some of the things Yeshûa did and said when still amongst them. Others, other things he, he himself, has said, other reactions from the crowds, seemed veiled with a haze of improbability. Yet, again, throng of people seemed to sway with his every word, as though grasped in a gigantic wave of Truth spilling from his mouth.
In a strange way, it was a humbling experience.
Those were fragments of events, or recollections, Shimon couldn’t quite accept, quite reconcile with the way he’d always regarded the world.
Twelve frightened men, deprived of will of their own, taking to thousands of people coming from different parts of the world; talking to total strangers, in the strangers’ own tongues, in their local vernacular, telling them of things which completely upset the usual, accepted norms of behaviour. And the men, those foreigners, seemed to be accepting the new world-view, accepting the new concept of reality; accepting, absorbing, making it their own.
“Does this make any sense?” Shimon looked at his friends, his co-conspirators, who stood throughout the long day, from sunrise till sunset, sharing the Good News.
His colleagues all knew what he meant. They all returned smiles of understanding. Whatever they did yesterday, on that incredible Yom Ree-Shon, on Shavuoth unlike any other Shavuoth, was as much beyond their understanding as beyond any logical process that could be explained by human mind.
“Does this make any sense…” Shimon repeated softly.
To Shimon it didn’t. He was a stubborn man. He wouldn’t give up his established mindset easily. In that sense, he really was Kepha. And he might be persuaded to compromise on any matter, other than the Master’s teaching. On that he was immovable.
Yet, at the same time, it was he, Shimon the Rock, who was no longer afraid, who stood proud in the midst of the hornets’ nest, on the broad steps of the Temple itself, steps leading to the Hall of Hewn Stones, to the Sanhedrin, to the Holy of Holies beyond, who preached to the swaying masses.
He stood and spoke the words Yeshûa put in his mouth, with priests looking on, unable to do anything, unwilling to show their true colours in front of the milling thousands who seemed to hang on Shimon’s ever word.
The same was true of all his friends. Every one of them. They just couldn’t reconcile their own memories of that day with the way they regarded reality of everyday life. It was as if the Master had been there, standing amongst them, speaking through their lips.
And then, with the rising sun, the fire lit his heart again.
Ignoring the danger inherent from the priesthood, Shimon and John returned to the Temple. People, hungry for the Word, were already there, waiting. They both delivered another sermon. It wasn’t quite like yesterday, but the remnants of fire still burned within them. This time close to five thousand people heard the Word. This time close to five thousand people accepted the Good News.
These were the most incredible days. Had someone mentioned them a week ago, not one of them would have believed it. And yet it had been promised by Yeshûa.
At nightfall, after the second day of preaching, of sharing the Good News, sanity prevailed. Shimon led his men, in small groups of three or four, back to their hiding place. There was no need to tempt the priests and the Pharisees any further. The News has been announced. It would spread. Those who heard it would go back and pass it on the others.
(to be continued)