Next installment of my new historical novel: Peter and Paul.
Shimon raised himself slowly to his feet. Then he sank back again. Another day, another failure. His chest heaved in protracted, silent sob. More like a whimper, really. He was who he was, no matter what Yeshûa had called him.
Why won’t you help me?
He got to his feet again and slowly made his way home. It was a long walk to the mud-brick hovel he and his band of men called. His mind drifted to that day, that Thursday, when Yeshûa was betrayed by Yehudi.
That whole period immediately preceding Yeshûa’s arrest, judgment and even the Crucifixion was heavily mixed in Shimon’s head. Perhaps it was necessary to protect his sanity. Too many things happened too quickly. He, whom Shimon considered invincible, suddenly allowed the lower forces to sweep Him in their current. None of this made sense. At least not then, not at the time. And even when He returned for those few days, forty short days during which he saw Him only a few times, did little to alleviate the painful longing he felt for his Master.
Yet now, but a few day before He left them again, the echoes of judgment returned to him with a force of a tornado. The court of the gentiles filled to the brim. No, not by the gentiles. By Jews. By Jews all waiting for the Sanhedrin to pass their judgment.
He saw bunch of old men, old tired men and their aspiring assistants who accomplished little in their lives, pass judgment over a man in the prime of his life, who taught, unflinchingly, the philosophy of love. A man, who’d never hurt a fly. One man against seventy-one. One man, His hands tided behind his back. And they dared to pass judgment?
In the name of what. Tradition?
Even Pontius Pilate absolved Him. Gave Him his dispensation from any wrongdoing. But not they. They demanded His blood.
Yes. This was a true Sanhedrin trial. The trial of death.
Shimon blinked as he saw, again, the image of Yeshûa standing relaxed, almost nonchalant, if perhaps with just a trace of compassion for those who judged Him.
None of this is real…
“None of this is real, Kepha. Do not be afraid.” The words lingered in his ears, his mind, his heart.
None of this is real? Then why can’t I, Shimon, go and face the judges and declare the Truth taught by you, Master?
Thursday night and then again on Friday morning. Once wasn’t enough. Not to sate their pride, to fill their cups with bitterness that would follow their lives to the end.
“We demand his death. He claims to be the King of Jews. In the name of Rome, you cannot allow this!”
They cried and the masses, the dumb, ignorant masses picking up the chant. Death… death… death…
Fools. His kingdom is not of this world.
Shimon shook his head. The images were becoming too real. It was as if he was about to face the same horrors once again. He quickened his pace. He hardly noticed that he left the Sanhedrin far behind.
Let the dead bury the dead, he whispered through clenched teeth.
It was getting dark. More dangerous. Not from the priests or the corrupt sages; not from the members of the council, but from ordinary, honest riffraff, who couldn’t make the ends meet. Yet, at the same time he knew that nothing would happen to him. Not now. Not yet. There were things he had to do first. Only… only he needed courage. And in that very moment, for the first time since Yeshûa had let, he felt, he knew, that that too would come. Soon.
He didn’t even know how very soon.
(Chapter 3 will follow)