by Miles H. Rost
A few weeks before it happened, I packed up my belongings. I was to leave my wife, my family, and everyone. The journey from the desert to the sea, to travel to the west, was beginning. It was a 2 week walk and ride to Tyre, where I would pick up a ship that would take me as far as I could go. Thus was the life of a traveling educator.
Educated by the best, a head of a prosperous temple at the time, I felt I was being moved to leave and do more with what I had learned. It wasn’t necessarily because I wanted to leave, but it was because there was nothing left for me to do there. It was going to be very hard to leave behind my wife and my children, but I made sure that my brother, Elam, took care of her in my absence. Elam’s a good man, older than me but still devoted to family.
I was making my way towards Damascus, when I met up with a block in the road. There were men who had said that the way to Damascus was blocked for travelers, and that I needed to go around the city. The caravan I joined up with were reluctant to do so, but after making an inquiry, we realized that there were big things afoot. And, so, we headed south and west. We passed from the lands of Assyria and ended up in deep Roman lands. While I had no quarrel with the Romans themselves, I heard about some of the different things that had happened in the interim.
I heard about this Jewish man, this Jesus whose name as a teacher had even spread to my community. I didn’t pay him much mind, though. The ravings of a lunatic, I once said to my temple brethren. They all laughed with me about it.
We were nearing the end of two weeks, and we stopped short of Tyre. We ended up in a small village about a day’s journey from Tyre. We were close. I had decided, for some reason, to walk outside after dinner in order to clear my head and prepare myself for the next day. The sun was low in the sky, but it had not set when I encountered this man. He was a very powerful person, someone who did command authority. Rugged and everything. He was standing next to the well, looking like he was taking a rest.
“Good eve, sir. Is this well being used?” I asked him.
“I’m just taking a rest right now. You should be able to use it,” he said, with a smile.
While I worked to operate the well, the man continued to look at me. I was starting to get unnerved when he finally spoke.
“Tell me. What have you heard about this Jesus fellow?”
I looked over at him. I didn’t pay him much mind with his scraggly beard which appeared to be unkempt in the darkening light of the evening.
“Jesus? Are you talking about that Jewish guy? The things he’s saying seem to make me think he’s a bit out of his mind.”
I saw a little glint in his eyes, and that is when I knew that I was in deep trouble. He started into a debate with me about this Jesus, whom he called “The Christ”. About how he died so that others may live, and how we were to live by faith and not by sight. I just sighed, because I felt like I was being sold a pitch.
That’s when he threw the curve ball at me.
“He’s still alive. His body was dead. I saw it die. But He’s alive! I saw that, too! By the Sea of Galilee we saw him, and many upon many saw him, too.”
I responded to him that it could not have happened, but in my educated head, I felt like the logic that was in there was failing. I couldn’t explain why, but the idea of bodily resurrection actually seemed to make sense in the way this man was speaking.
“But let me ask you this, my good man. Why would such a man decide to do this for someone like me? Why would he knowingly give up his own life, to save a person like me who doesn’t even believe in his words?” I asked the man.
“Because it’s simple: If he sacrificed himself for all, that means we’re all on His level. We’re all equal.”
I sat for a little bit, to chew on this. One thing went through my mind: “The lunatic isn’t a lunatic at all. He’s the Lord. It makes sense.”
That night, my entire life was changed. I acknowledged all of it, and with the help of the scraggly-bearded man, I later went out to other lands to tell people, to share the Gospel, and to show people how Christ died for them. The scraggly bearded man, the one who called himself Petros, was a good friend to me during that time.
As I gave him a hug before boarding the boat, I looked at the boat and him, and said something I never would have thought of saying in my time back in the small educated area from which I came.
“Kyrie Eleison down this road that I must travel.”
Petros gave me the blessing, and I went on my way. Christ’s death gave me life, and it was certain, I would share it with whoever I met on my new life to a new land.
(A joyous Easter Sunday, and Resurrection weekend to all who read. – M.)