Easter: Seeking Messiah (Part 4)

courtesy of morguefile

courtesy of morguefile

A rooster crowed loud and clear, dividing night from morning. Simon awoke with a start, surfacing from a bad dream. Where is Messiah? The question had tormented his sleep.

His sore feet throbbed from yesterday’s interminable search. High and low, around every corner and doorway, he had sought Jesus and His disciples in some upper room he had never found.

He pushed his cover aside and sat up. The darkness permeated the room, but gray shadows promised the wings of dawn. Was his brother awake? He laced his sandals around his tender soles and stood.

“Simon.” Saul’s voice whispered from an adjoining room. “Come outside.”

He followed his brother through the door and met him by an olive tree. In the lifting darkness, he could make out his features—poker-faced, wrinkled brow, wide-eyed.

Saul leaned close to his ear. “A temple servant—a believer—brought news early. He is warning all of Jesus’s followers to proceed with caution. Caiaphas had Jesus arrested very late last night in the Garden of Gethsemane and is holding Him in a prison cell even now.”

Simon swallowed hard. The realization strangled him, and he hung his head, his shoulders slumping. “I—I couldn’t reach Him in time.”

Saul patted his brother’s back. “It’s not your fault. You did everything you possibly could.”

“Brother. I must go to the temple. Will you accompany me?” He turned and stepped onto the road.

“Gladly.” Saul matched his steps, and both escalated into a rapid clip.

As they neared the heart of the sacred city, Simon viewed the temple’s towering presence in the early dawn. He imagined Jesus bound in an underground dungeon—a horrible pit fit only for criminals, not his innocent Messiah. The volume of low, rumbling voices heightened as they drew closer.

“Many people are already assembled. Perhaps they will release Him soon.” Saul’s words were hopeful, but Simon sensed the agony behind them.

“Watch out! Who is this?” Simon fell sideways against his brother.

A madman had dashed out of the rays of the rising sun, pushing Simon aside and fleeing in the opposite direction. The man’s wrapped face was invisible, revealing only wild eyes, and he uttered a cry that should have come from a wolf, not a man. Eyes that seemed familiar. He tore away with no apology, growling in torment like a wounded animal.

The brothers rocked on their heels as they stared at his zigzag into the distance and up a hill. Simon turned back to Saul and grabbed his arm. “Something terrible must have happened. Quickly!”

Their steps spurred into a sprint to the courtyard of the high priest. Crowds milled, voices argued. “Jesus is a blasphemer! The witnesses have testified!”

Defenders contended. “He is guilty of no crime. Our Messiah is from God and must be released!”

Simon ran to the edge of the porch and peered. Was that Jesus, surrounded by chief priests and elders? He heard slaps and voices mocking. His heart jolted, landing in his throat. He leaned against Saul, his knees buckling. “My God, they’re beating Him!”

Saul pointed. “Look! They’re leading Him off in chains. Let’s see where they’re taking Him.”

courtesy of lightstock

courtesy of lightstock

Simon clung to his brother for support as they trailed a large crowd of followers trudging down the road. The dust, knee-high from scores of shuffling sandals, puffed brown in the early morning brightness. They soon discovered their destination was to see Pilate. As they waited in the distance, Simon wiped the streaming sweat from his brow and coughed, his throat dry, straining to discern what was happening.

Time crawled. The chief priests reappeared, pushing and shoving Jesus, forcing him in a new direction.

The crowd waved fists in the air at the sight, crying out. Some pleaded for mercy, others condemnation.

One elder in the circle with Jesus placed his hands on either side of his mouth. “Pilate is sending Him to Herod—He is a Galilean!”

The volume of differing opinions rose. Simon judged that the majority of voices were expressing hostile remarks against Messiah, and his heart ached.

“If they could only know what it was to be a leper …” He recoiled at the memory of his dissolving extremities wrapped in stinking rags, forced to proclaim Unclean! to passersby. But to be delivered and healed by one touch from Jesus. His life restored, his body whole.

His brother hugged him close. “Let’s continue. I pray that Pilate may be merciful to our Lord.”

Saul flashed a reluctant smile as they joined the hundreds on the next leg of the journey. The sand in the hourglass was slipping away for Jesus. And Simon’s son.

courtesy of morguefile

courtesy of morguefile

Easter: Seeking Messiah

Happy Easter Season! I’m taking this opportunity to tell you about some upcoming blog posts I hope you will enjoy reading. I’ll be writing Biblical fiction where a real character will experience what it may have been like during Jesus’ donkey ride into Jerusalem for Passover, His crucifixion on Good Friday, and His resurrection on Easter morning.

 I’d like to introduce you to Simon, the leper.


Simon rocked as he sat on his camel, the sun’s merciless glare slicing  into his eyes. As he traveled the desert road from Bethany, he ducked his face into long scarf wound around his neck and wiped away sandy dirt, mixed with soured sweat. His focus sharpened, and he squinted into the distance. His heartbeat quickened and a smile spread across his weathered face.

“Ahhh. Jerusalem.” A glittering jewel, flashing like a precious stone in a king’s crown.


He dug the heels of his sandals into the sides of his camel, ignoring its bleat of protest, and charged on. He had left his wife and infant son at home in Bethany and  was determined to arrive in time for Passover. His brother lived inside the city wall, and his family would make room in their cramped quarters.

But what drove his passion was the news that Jesus was arriving there, too. This compassionate man, who had touched him two years earlier and made him whole, had erased his life sentence of leprosy.  A miracle of restoration back to his family, and he was intent on repaying the Lord for His mercies.


Simon had also witnessed the miracle of Lazarus coming back to life, convincing him that Jesus had to be Messiah. Although the Sadducees preached and taught against the resurrection, not the Pharisees. How could anyone not believe when Lazarus had been dead in the tomb four days?  The Teacher had commanded in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” and the man, wrapped up like a mummy, had hobbled out alive. I’ll never, never forget it.

He shook his head side to side. The Sadducees were fools in his opinion—though seeing, they remained unbelieving. He laughed aloud as he trotted, remembering that recently he had hosted Jesus and Lazarus at his supper table. He inhaled a deep breath, still able to smell the lavish worship a woman, a believer, had displayed that night.

When Mary had quietly entered with an alabaster vial, no one had paid attention. But then the rich, sweet smell floated everywhere, growing stronger until his nostrils burned with the fragrance. The expensive perfume dripped from Jesus—down his hair, his beard, and through his tunic. That’s when everyone realized she had broken the vial and discreetly poured it over His head.


As some began to protest indignantly that she had wasted its value by not selling and giving the money to the poor, Jesus put up His hand. They immediately silenced.

He would always cherish Jesus’s words. “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Questions somersaulted in his mind—what did He mean … His burial? Only dead bodies were anointed, and Jesus was very much living. He had to search for answers.

However, there was another reason for this journey besides celebrating Passover. He pictured his infant son lying at home, his stomach cavity pumping in and out as he attempted to inhale enough air for just one good breath. His fearful, brown eyes pleaded. Give. Me. Air.


He had to locate Jesus. Then his son would be healed. His heart galloped and wrung at the same time, causing tears to squeeze out his eyes and tunnel down his cheeks. Absolutely must. If Jesus could raise the dead and heal lepers, He could heal his son with a single word.

Could he find Him in time? 


photos courtesy of morguefile and istockphoto