Everything - Chapter 17
Addi ran down the various streets on his way to the Sheep Gate that led to the Kidron Valley when only moments later, Lycus caught up to him as he ran.
"Where are you going?" Lycus asked as he slowed his pace.
"The Sheep Gate," he said between breaths.
"You're taking the long way, follow me," he replied and took the lead, turning down a side street, then down another. Addi had never been to this part of the city and strove not to lose Lycus in the process. However, try as he could to keep up, he was not in the same condition and was falling further behind with each stride. Lycus realized it, too, and waited for Addi at the next turn making sure he saw which direction to go. They finally turned onto a street Addi was familiar with and knew it was a straight line from here. The next time Lycus stopped Addi waved him on.
"Go, I will meet you there!" Addi yelled and Lycus nodded and sprinted down the street, leaving Addi behind in the darkness.
Since his lungs and legs were burning with each breath and step, Addi realized he had to slow down if he was to get there with any strength left to help. As he found a pace he could maintain, he began to think about everything that was happening. Judas had sold Jesus out for thirty silver coins; the same amount of money Cleopas was paying him as a spy to share the inside information about Jesus. Had the withdrawal of the money forced his betrayal? Cleopas had said Judas was very upset and needed it. Nevertheless, to betray the Messiah, let alone a friend you have spent the last three years with, for thirty silver pieces, seemed hard to believe.
Addi passed through the Sheep Gate, down into the valley, and was on his way up the other side when he saw the flickering light of torches and lanterns, and heard the growing rumble of the crowd coming toward him. He stepped off the path and watched as the lead elements of the crowd came into view. Shaan was right. There were armed soldiers dispersed among the line of priests and people working their way down the path. Most wore the expression of excitement and satisfaction as they passed by, but then Addi recognized Judas as he came into view and, despite the pats on the back and verbal encouragement from those nearby him, his face revealed a deep regret. Behind him was a tight group of soldiers and priests who were surrounding one man who was bound and being pushed forward, Jesus.1
Where were Jesus' disciples? Addi wondered. Had they been killed or beaten when they came to Jesus' rescue. As the group leading Jesus got closer, Addi stepped from the side of the path, came toward the group, and tried to stop their forward progress.
"You are making a huge mistake! This is the Messiah we have all been waiting for," Addi yelled, trying to explain to them. At first, they were surprised by his sudden appearance and several jumped back expecting to be attacked, but one of the members of the Pharisees in the group gave orders to one of the soldiers nearby.
"He defies the orders of the High Priest," and the soldier pulled his sword and stepped toward Addi and with the tip of the sword pointed at his chest, prepared to run it through him. This is how it ends? Addi thought as he prepared for the thrust and the pain that would follow.
“Stop!” a voice called out from the crowd as one of them moved closer. It was Gavriel.
“Addi? What are you doing here?” It seemed strange Gavriel would stop the soldier from killing him.
"Don't do this Gavriel. You are killing the Messiah we have all been waiting for!" Addi yelled the last part, but only laughter came back from the crowd around him. "You are murdering an innocent man and his blood will be on your hands and the hands of all people of Israel," Addi continued. Gavriel looked at his clothes and then shook his head.
"Where were you today, Addi?" He asked and stepped closer to watch his expression, but Addi only shook his head.
"What, you and the men you sent to follow me couldn't keep up?" Addi replied and smiled.
"What have you done Addi," Gavriel asked, seeing the confidence and lack of fear on Addi's face, a face he had come to know the past fifteen years. Addi could see the nervousness and concern on the face he had learned to read, as well.
"It's over Gavriel. Let Jesus go and," Addi started, but Gavriel interrupted him.
"And what Addi? You will buy his freedom from us?" Gavriel laughed. "You have shown your true loyalty. I promise by the end of this evening, you will have joined your Messiah and will suffer a similar fate," Gavriel ended and nodded to a nearby soldier who grabbed Addi's linen cloak and started to drag him toward the group near Jesus.
As Addi was dragged toward the group, he saw Jesus looking into his eyes before he suddenly smiled at him.
"I don't understand," was all Addi could think to say to Jesus as he tried to make sense why all this was happening.
"Your father already told you everything you needed to know. Just remember, all things are possible with God. Now as Joseph did with Potipher’s wife, run Addi,"2 Jesus said. Addi felt the belt around his waist come lose and his linen cloak the soldier was using to hold him began pulling free. At first, Addi tried to pull it back on out of fear of losing his only item of clothing. But the soldier, thinking Addi was trying to pull away, tugged even harder. Remembering Jesus' words about Joseph and Potipher’s wife, he let go of his own grasp on the cloak, spun away from the soldier, and ran naked into the darkness.3
"Don't let him escape! Get him!" Addi heard Gavriel yelling orders to the nearby soldiers as he ran deeper into the darkness of the woods. Unseen branches whipped across his exposed flesh. Stumps and branches seemed to be trying to trip him at every step, but each time Addi would climb back to his feet and run again. Apparently, these same obstacles were causing those pursuing him just as much trouble, as he could hear their pursuit fading. He was so tired from the earlier run, that, despite the added adrenaline from his near capture, he found his legs were starting to fail him. He stopped briefly to catch his breath and listen for his pursuers. At first, he heard nothing, but then the sound of footsteps nimbly moving toward him forced him to start running again.
His pursuer was too quick, and he knew he was too tired to run any further. Seeing a thick branch on the ground he had landed on after his most recent stumble, Addi grasped it with both hands and stepped behind a tree to wait for his pursuer.
"It's me, Addi," a voice said who had stopped just beyond his reach. It took a moment before he recognized Lycus' voice. Keeping the club at the ready, Addi stepped out to see Lycus standing there with both hands up and in front of him. "It's okay, they have stopped following you," he said and Addi still refused to lower the club.
"Why didn't you try to stop them?" Addi asked.
"That was the same question I asked Cleopas and the other disciples. He said Jesus told them not to resist his capture any further. Peter even cut off one of the men's ears in his defense, but Jesus rebuked him and put the man’s ear back on, and surrendered himself to them. Then the disciples fled."
Addi thought of the sadness Jesus must have felt seeing his friends leave him, but then tried to understand why Jesus allowed himself to be handed over to them. As the Son of God, he could have called angels to protect him or simply walk through them as he did on the cliff in Nazareth. Addi finally lowered his club, leaned over, put his hands on his knees, and began to cry uncontrollably. He had given up everything for Jesus, and now he was being led to his death. How could he follow him now? If he was supposed to die with him, Jesus would not have helped him escape.
Between sobs and heavy breathing, he remembered what Jesus had said. Your father told you everything you needed to know. Just remember, all things are possible with God. Addi stood back up and wiped the tears from his face with the back of his arms.
"We need to find Cleopas," Addi said and started walking toward the city.
"Do you want your clothes?" Lycus asked and Addi looked down and suddenly remembered his current condition. At first, he thought Lycus was speaking about getting his cloak from the soldiers, but then noticed Lycus was still carrying his pack, which held all Addi's clothes from this morning.
"Yeah, that would probably be less awkward…for everyone," Addi said as Lycus slid the pack off his back and pulled out the various garments inside. As Addi dressed, Lycus kept an ear out for any danger.
"For a city boy, you sure got some chutzpah," Lycus said and then laughed. "That or you're pretty stupid."
"Based on the results of the evening, I would say the latter statement wins the debate," Addi replied as he slipped his familiar cloak around his shoulders. He then nodded and started walking.
"Where are you going?" Lycus asked and Addi realized he had not followed him.
"To the uh... I don't know. Where is Cleopas?" Addi finally asked and Lycus pointed in a different direction. Addi motioned with his hand. "Why don't you lead," and Lycus smiled and started walking.
"Good idea. I think I might have to rule out the chutzpah thought," he said chuckling.
Addi learned they were heading south through back trails, down old roads, and finally to a place just outside of the Valley Gate in the southeast part of the city. Their biggest concern was Hadar, who had spies stationed at the various gates around the city. Finding one they could pass through undetected would be difficult. Addi was familiar with this area because it is where he kept most of his herds and flocks. He let Lycus know he even had a herdsman's quarters here if they needed a place to stay for the night.
"I thought you gave that away today?" Lycus said and smiled.
"I did, but I don't think they will get the gift until later in the week. Until then we can use it," Addi replied, ignoring his jab.
"I'm pretty sure they won’t mind, but your estate and any other location of yours are where Hadar will be looking for you, assuming he wants to find you this evening," Lycus replied and Addi nodded.
"Where to then?"
"My house," Lycus said and continued down the trail that followed the massive walls to the entrance of the gate. The Roman soldiers at the Valley Gate had apparently not received word from Hadar, or they simply did not care to get involved in Jewish affairs. They let the two men pass through without much more than a look and a nod.
They still walked cautiously as they followed various alleys and side streets, avoiding the main roads when possible until they finally arrived at the back door of a simple two-story home. They entered through a door in the back that, at first glance, Addi did not even recognize as a door.
"Stay right there," Lycus ordered Addi, as he closed the door behind them and proceeded to walk slowly through his house, stopping briefly in a few areas before turning up the wick on an oil lamp on the far side of the room. Once the light from the lamp filled the room, Addi could see it was a simple, but functional home. Lycus again seemed to follow a set pattern of activities as he walked through his home, carrying the lamp before him, before finally nodding toward Addi.
"Come on over and go halfway up the stairs and wait for me," Lycus stated, then waited as Addi followed his instructions. Once he stopped on the stairs, Lycus reversed his previous actions before climbing the steps past Addi to the second-floor landing and began unlocking the big door at the top of the stairs. Sensing Addi's perplexed look, Lycus turned and smiled.
"In my line of business, you can never be too sure," Lycus said and half smiled.
"Yeah, I guess so," was all Addi could think to say as he followed Lycus up the stairs, through the heavy door. As he reached the upper landing, Lycus crossed the room and using the fire from the one lamp he carried, lit two additional lamps and placing them across the room from each other. As the darkness fled from the room, Addi realized this upper room was far more attractive and inviting than the lower floor. It was as if he had passed from one income bracket to another.
"Do you even use the downstairs area?" Addi asked and Lycus shook his head as he busily pulled a few items from some shelves and trunks scattered around the room and sat them on the table.
"Please feel free to sit anywhere you would like," Lycus said as he came back into sight and placed some food and water on the table and then pointed to a doorway across the room.
"There is a small bed in the far room if you feel the need to sleep." Addi nodded in response as Lycus walked into the room and then back out with a change of clothes. As Lycus changed, Addi saw that the clothes he was putting on were far darker than the ones he had worn before.
"So, what do we do now?" Addi asked and Lycus stopped his activity for a moment.
"I need to go out and find out what is going on. You, on the other hand, need to stay out of sight, as I am sure Gavriel is trying very hard to find you," Lycus said, then turned, and started gathering a few more items to put into his pack.
"I'm supposed to just stay here and do nothing while Hadar has Jesus?" Addi asked and Lycus nodded.
"I'm sorry, but I can't take you with me. I do not have the resources to protect you. I promise I will send word to you when I hear something," Lycus said and then took a deep breath. "Addi, I know you want to help, but you have already done everything you can at this point. You are exhausted, you need to rest and recover your strength. Things could get far worse if they decide to come after all of Jesus' disciples next," he said and put his hand on Addi's shoulder. "What you can do is pray," Lycus said with all sincerity.
Addi walked over to a chair, sat down, and tried to think of anything he could do to help Jesus. He tried to think of favors he had with people of influence he could call upon that were not tied directly to the Pharisees or Pesachya group, but none came to mind, or were too insignificant to matter.
"Don't open the upper door for anyone, do you understand?" Lycus said, jarring Addi from his thoughts. "If someone knocks on the downstairs door, then I did not send them. If they knock on this door with two taps, one tap, and then two taps," Lycus tapped on the heavy door at the top of the stairs demonstrating his instructions. "Then you will know they are from me." Addi nodded. "If they try to open this door without that code, then you need to run before they break it down," he said and walked over to a cabinet, opened it and pulled the clothes hanging there aside and motioned for Addi to come to him. "There is a lever right here you will pull. Then put your foot against the back wall and the panel will slowly lower like a drawbridge, reaching the roof of the home next door. Make sure you shut the cabinet door before crossing to the other side. Once there, a counterweight will pull it back into place," Lycus said and Addi nodded again, amazed, more by the paranoia of Lycus' life and the planning that went into this, than the escape door itself. "Once across, stay on the roofs by jumping across the first few rooftops. The third house will be too far for you to jump, so you will need to climb down," Lycus continued to explain and could see that even though Addi was nodding, he was getting lost in the directions. "Don't worry, I do not expect anyone to come here, but if they do and you need to leave, go as quietly as possible," Lycus hesitated a moment as if thinking. "The best place to go would be the livestock holding pens and hide there until I get there, or I send someone for you." Addi again just nodded and walked back over to the chair and sat down.
Lycus returned everything to its original place, walked to the heavy door at the top of the stairs, and then turned back to face Addi.
"I really want to tell you everything is going to be all right, but deep down, I'm not so sure. We just need to take one day and one problem at a time." Addi nodded silently as Lycus unlocked the door and stepped through it, shutting and locking it behind him. Addi listened as Lycus' footsteps faded down the stairs. Then there was silence.
Addi again reflected on all that had happened in the last few hours, wrestling with various ideas that could somehow change the course of Jesus' fate, but every idea seemed to lead to his capture by Hadar without gaining Jesus' freedom. He thought briefly about running to Alcaeus and telling him he wanted to use the proceeds to buy Jesus' freedom, but he had signed the agreements and papers, knowing the buyers would not relinquish their incredible windfall gains. He thought about how he could try to change the deals, but then realized it was Jesus' intent for him to sell everything. Changing course would be going against his wishes.
He slid his chair to the table, poured a glass of water, and broke off a piece of hard bread, chewing slowly and methodically until he could swallow it. He looked around the room and realized this was his new chosen life. A life having the possibility of death waiting at each corner, continually wondering if he would have a place to stay, a bed to sleep in, or food to eat. As horrible as the hard bread tasted and despite all that had happened in the past few hours, he had never felt more alive, yet more confused. All he had was gone and the only thing he had to hang onto were the words and promises of Jesus. He had obeyed him and sold everything, but how was he to follow Jesus if he was dead? Did he mean, "Follow me" by dying with him? Addi wondered, but then shook his head remembering how Jesus told him to run when he had been captured. Jesus told him something else in Gethsemane.
"Your father told you everything you needed to know. Just remember, all things are possible with God." Addi said the words out loud as he remembered them. He closed his eyes, wishing he had his father's notes Cleopas had copied. Then he started to pray.
1 John 18:1-3
2 Genesis 39:11-12
3 Mark 14:51-52