Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image

Just wanted to share an excerpt from my upcoming novella Christ’s Rebellion . This will be released by 12/23/13, for FREE the first two weeks out. A brief synopsis would be in order, but I really don’t bother writing those until after the work is complete. I never know what I am going to add in that might end up needing highlighted later.

I can say that the story is mainly focused around Judas Iscariot and Jesus Christ. There is a discovery, on Judas’ part that Jesus is not the Messiah, and that Jesus is very much unaware of that reality. Turning him in to be sacrificed, a chain of events is put in motion that could bring about a gruesome end of the world scenario if Christ is allowed to resurrect. Iscariot must now decide if he will find a way to stop the execution of Christ and allow the false prophet to continue, or if he will kill the prophet himself, subverting the purpose Christ had thought he’d found during his 40 days in the wilderness.

I welcome all feedback, even the haters who shiver at the idea of  a book involving one of their favorite extensions of God. Just understand if it is outright hate and condemnation, you will be … accepted as you are.

Excerpt:

He had been walking for a number of days alongside the powdery dirt edges of the roughed out wagon route going from Nazareth to Jerusalem. In each town he had stayed to find work, it seemed every village had a well known uncle or brother who handled the carpentry demands of the locals. This meant little chance to add coin to his purse to help finance his ministries.
Walking through the afternoon heat, the dust filled air making every breath uncomfortably thick, Jesus felt a sense of hopelessness overtake him. He had been thinking back on his days working within his father’s carpentry shop in Nazareth, and it caused him to feel an overabundance of regret for breaking with his family to further his talents in spiritual teaching.

His mother had never been comfortable with his self professed relationship with their god. Like many in her small village, she had never deviated from the common teachings and held on to them with a firm stubbornness which frustrated her husband regularly. Though she claimed conception of Jesus by this omniscient patron of their people, her husband, Joseph, had considered the notion ridiculous.

“It is obvious this boy is mine, Mary,” he said to her during one of the many recounts of Jesus’ almost certain magical conception and birth, “He is clearly a descendant of my family’s great patriarch, King David. Jesus possesses our appreciation for our promised lands and he shares in my talents of wood working. He is certainly blessed by our Lord, but not from His loins. And you overlook how he and I are of same color in eye and hair. I think you should no longer feel shame for our tryst at the Purim celebrations before our marriage.” Leaning towards Mary, his roughened fingertips toyed with a strand of her long dark hair that had slipped away from her braided hair wrap, saying in a quiet voice to her astonished face,”How I enjoy remembering that exciting night we shared.”
Mary blushed at his reference, the tips of her ears beginning to glow a brighter pink, as she hid a smile behind her hands that were covered in the crumbs of bread dough she had been working just moments before. Shaking her head in disagreement, still giggling, she chided her husband saying,”I stand by my visitation that followed the next day, Joseph. I cannot question such a holy messenger.”
“You could question the amount of wine you drank the night before!”, he shot back with an exaggerated raise of his graying eyebrow. The look of horror on her face at his reply sent even Jesus into a fit of laughter. He had been nearly fifteen when this conversation took place, and took little offense at his father’s jovial skepticism. Joseph knew his mother’s claim was true, having admitted he thought he was spoken to by God when considering leaving her out of shame. Yet, he was afraid to profess such things for fear of angering the local rabbi and clerics with such prophetic like claims. At least, this was how Jesus had always rationalized his father Joseph’s refusal to accept his seemingly supernatural origins.

Yet, as Jesus was trudging on along the heated sandy byway of merchants and traders some sixteen years later, he feared maybe his father had been correct. What if he were simply the result of a passionate encounter between a betrothed couple during one of the most raucous celebrations of the year? How did he seem come by his understanding and complete connection to the holy Father’s teachings? There was little doubt he had a deeper knowledge than most scholars of the sacred teachings, and how he interpreted them at such a young age had many priests awed. His ability to teach the scriptures and laws of God had been well known throughout Nazareth since his early youth, often being put to the test by these same awed temple priests in hopes of proving him, or even his entire family, as a fraud.

All these contradictory thoughts and worries began to gnaw at his conscience as he rounded a slightly curved hill that led to a small village called Bethany. He had been advised by a farmer in Jericho that there would be need for a carpenter due to a large number of deaths caused by rampant disease. Jesus viewed this tragedy as a prime opportunity to share further spiritual guidance and comfort that his heavenly father had to offer any who would accept him. Additionally, he could earn money as well with his skilled wood working expertise while ministering.

Eventually he reached the mid point of the worn down trail to the small city before him, and as it spread out, it showed little signs of business or industry from the appearance of the very basic dwellings that dotted along the small basin of trees. Wondering if the advice to come here was falsely inspired, he continued on down into the village, realizing at its entrance he had been sent to a place that had an alms house for the poor and sick.

There would most certainly be a large number of people to minister to, as well as steady work for sometime. Leprosy and demon possession were always thick in towns like this, though the pay would be very scant because of little money amongst the population due to their living conditions. His stomach had already been aching from lack of food, and he opted to seek out the charity immediately to get something to eat. If no food, at least some warmed wine would allay his discomforts.

The streets were a mix of dirt, rock, and gravel, that were tightly packed and rarely maintained. Many of the buildings were small mud brick structures with mostly thatched roofs. The originally dark color of the mud had faded to almost white due to the hard shining sun throughout the year. The dirt and grime of the inhabitants seemed to coat the exteriors of these buildings, like haunting reminders of what their lives lacked in sanitation and upkeep. Several women were toiling with their heavy jugs of water and as Jesus approached they giggled and pretended to not take notice of him, but chatted noisily about a made up problem with a relative while secretively glancing at him from the corners of their dark wandering eyes.

Eventually he found a shopkeeper that peddled in a few oils and incense for burials, and Jesus managed to get direction to the alms house which was just a few more houses up from his market. Thanking the man for the help, Jesus offered a simple blessing to which the old man began to laugh, asking the down trodden man,”What will that buy me? Surely not wine! As you can see around you, blessings and wishes we have plenty of around here. If you want to make a difference in my life, bring goods to trade!”

“I offer more than sustenance for your earthly needs. I offer you nourishment that will feed your very soul all the way through to eternity within Heaven’s gates!”, Jesus countered, adding,”I guess a thank you is good enough then.”

The man just waved him away, having no interest in the small offering of spiritual rewards from the self proclaimed man of God before him. His brightly dyed simlah flapping wildly about him from the breeze, he turned back to his wares and paid no further attention to the haggard looking holy man before him. Jesus accepted the rude shop keeper’s dismissal and went on his way, finding the alms house shortly thereafter. Approaching the bare door, he noticed all the fragile and plainly ill townsfolk that had gathered about the building. Some were simply laying against the building, napping in the small bit of shade that a young fig tree offered at the corner of the structure. Mothers were trying to comfort small children whose bellies had bloated from lack of food and clean water as they sat on a uneven bench built on the front side of the entrance while waiting their turn to beg for help.

Deciding to find out what he could do to offer any kind of support, Jesus began walking across the threshold of the doorway when a scrawny teen with dirt flecked cheeks and coal black wiry hair stopped him,”You have not been waiting your turn like the rest of us have the entire morning.”

“I didn’t realize. Can I offer you any help while I wait like the rest?” Hearing the clear indignation in the young man’s voice, Jesus thought he might try to help him first. From the looks of him, he could use a lot of help.

The boy was nearly fourteen, and covered with sores and crusty scabs all over his arms, face and neck. Having known nothing but hardship and illness for most of his life, the offer surprised him, as well as two of his friends sitting next to him that seemed to suffer from the same affliction as he. Maybe food or money would be of help, but looking at the bearded man’s heavily stained clothes, disheveled hair, and bare dirty feet, the boy could find little confidence in any help to be gained at all from this stranger.

“Are you here for food?” ,the boy asked him quizzically.

“Yes.”

“Then what do you have to give me?”

“Comfort and healing.”

“So you have medicines then?”

“None of those things are needed to find comfort and be healed by our Heavenly Father.”

The inquiring teen and his friends had stood up at this point, forming a small half circle around the compassionate man before them. Their faces were hard with doubt and suspicion and their fists were clutched, jaws clenched. Jesus decided to take a further step into the doorway, sensing a mounting threat of aggression in the conversation. Still, no punches were thrown, just a sudden burst of laughter from the pitted skinned boy who had initially prevented his entrance into the poor house.

Pointing a grimy finger at Jesus’ face, he said through chuckles of amusement,”I understand what you have to offer. You’re one of those prophets that come through here now and then. You look for the ill and weak thinking you can make us believe you are the savior. You come to us, rejected souls in your mind, because you cannot prove yourself in the regular world and think we are so desperate that we will take any chance we are offered.”

Bristling with hurt pride at the accusation, Jesus looked around at the diseased assembly from the darkened doorway, and saw that it was gaining more observers watching the angry scene to find out what was going on. The words spoken were partially true. This was a city filled with desperate people, and he believed he should start where he would be needed most, but Jesus would not let his holy father’s laws be disrespected.

Stepping back into the crowd, Jesus gathered his senses and spoke steadily with the utmost seriousness,“Yes, I am the Son of God. Sent to you as a gift of compassion and teaching so all may enter His kingdom in Heaven.” More laughter followed his proclamation and in frustration he raised his voice at the now large group of thirty people bellowing above the voices of disagreement,”Why would I go to the cities of the wealthy and well in spirit? They would not be in such good state if He were not already in their hearts! How can any of you show disdain when you are so obviously lost in the eyes of God!”

As he spoke, a poorly dressed man who had been observing the entire scene unfold outside the charity’s doorway stepped forward. Waving his bare arms between Jesus and the incredulous crowd gathered round him, he cried out loudly,”This is the one I spoke about when telling the Pharisees there would be a man who surpasses my own talents because he has known the Lord before me!”

This stranger before Jesus was a puzzling sight. To many that had lived in Bethany for most of their lives, he had long been discounted as a bold and often liberal preacher of religious law. Still, his impassioned voice calmed the excited people who had gathered about, and it had the affect of making them assume Jesus must be another follower of the preacher’s brand of faith and devotion.

“I am John. Please follow along,” the bare chested stranger said in a low murmur as he motioned for Jesus to follow him. Where, he had no idea, but Jesus nodded a quick agreement in reply to the whispered instructions from this faith professing stranger.  Deciding it would be better to risk his chances with the camel hide covered wild man that had leapt in between him and the tense mob of onlookers and hecklers, he remained silent, letting the preacher handle the crowd.

Pushing a path through the ill tempered mob, John continued with his loud proclamation, saying in a booming voice,”Look! The Lamb of God has come before us! I don’t know him, but I was told by the Almighty it would be here in Bethany his son would be revealed to me. Did you see the Spirit come down from the heavens as a dove and sit on his shoulder? I have seen it! I testify to all of you here today that this man is God’s Chosen One!”

Jesus was taken aback by this man’s statement of who he was, and grabbed his guide’s elbow to not be lost in the pressing throng of people around them. There were snorts from some and derisive comments from others in response to this loud demonstration of John’s further attempts at validation of faith, but the onlookers dispersed back to their original activities. The earlier teenager, covered in his infected scabs and pus filled eruptions, threw a small rock at Jesus while yelling at the pair,”Get your false promises and madness out of here, preacher! Take that one with you to worship with the other members of your blasphemous cult! Show him your river of baptizing in which you can smell the shit of the village on your rags afterward!”

The stone had bounced off of Jesus’ shoulder, causing little harm. Jesus turned back towards the child to defend the apparent minister that rescued him from a very dangerous situation, but he felt a pull on his robed arm and looked to the man called John for an explanation. They had stopped in front of a small stable and John looked at Jesus, saying,”I hope you understand that no one will open their doors to you in this city. Especially after your little ministry of insults! Around here, disease is not the worst threat to be encountered, it is disillusionment.”

“But I am going to combat that very thing! It isn’t caused from our Lord’s teachings, but sown by the refusal to hear or answer His beckoning.”

“I know this, and we will succeed! Now, this is my friend’s house. He is one of my dearest friends, though not exactly a true believer. But, he can be trusted and will gladly provide a place to sleep tonight.” John led Jesus to the front door of the small constructed building. There were several rough wood benches and a lean-to type of overhead shade around it. Several empty clay jars that once held wine were strewn about by the door and with an irritated breath John swept them aside with his barefoot as they entered into the house of the man called Lazarus.

Advertisements