Everything - Chapter 19
As they walked through the city, Lycus stopped and bought some wine and milk. Although he carried most of the bulky stuff, he had Addi take some of the smaller stuff that was heavy. Addi never questioned it, but Lycus could tell that Addi was wondering why the need for food.
"We may need traveling food if those of us remaining are forced to flee the city in a hurry. I don't know how many of us will be left, so we'll gather all that we can carry," Lycus stated as they made several stops on the way back to the place in question.
"Where are we going?" Addi asked.
"There is a trusted disciple and his family who live in the Lower City. Unless they were waylaid along the way, I'm pretty sure that is where Cleopas and the rest of the disciples would go," Lycus replied. Addi was not sure if it was intentional, or just the slow pace they were traveling, but they did not arrive at their destination until after darkness.
Lycus knocked three times, paused, and then four times. The door opened, an older man stood looking at Addi and Lycus. Then motioned for them to enter. Once the door was closed behind them, Lycus sat his pack and armload of food down and embraced the older man.
"It is good to see you Clopas. Is Cleopas and the other disciples here?" Lycus asked and the man nodded.
"Yes, those that are here are upstairs," Clopas said and looked at Addi.
"This is Addi. He is a friend of ours," Lycus said as if to answer the man's questioning look.
"I know this man. We have been praying for him," Clopas replied and Addi was stunned by the idea that someone was praying for him. Addi, in turn, sat his items down, reached out, and shook the man's hand.
"Thank you for the prayers and for allowing us into your home," Addi replied and the man nodded again. After they had gathered their items, he led the two of them into the adjacent room where a small stove was burning and a lamp doing its best to fill the dark room.
The door at the top of the nearby stairs opened and Addi and Lycus watched as Cleopas cautiously walked down the dark steps into the light of the room. Seeing the two of them standing by the fire, he crossed the room and embraced them. Cleopas tried to start a conversation, but was having difficulty doing so, but finally could complete a sentence.
"I'm so sorry Addi. I was unable to protect him as I promised and now not only have you lost everything, we have lost the Messiah whom you gave it all up for," he spoke softly. Addi smiled and patted him on the shoulder.
"It's all right. Everything will be all right," Addi replied and Cleopas gave him a doubtful look.
"Why don't we go upstairs, and I'll introduce you to everyone, and Lycus can update us on anything new he has learned," Cleopas stated and motioned them toward the stairs. Grabbing their items, Lycus led the way, followed by Cleopas and Addi, with Clopas last in line. As they stepped into the room, Addi could see there were multiple lanterns and candles burning and the room was bright and warm.
"Lycus! Good to see you are safe," a slightly older man said. As the man shook Lycus' hand, Cleopas pushed by holding Addi's arm and leading him into the middle of the room. As Addi stepped past Lycus, he saw at least twenty people of various ages and gender sitting or standing around the room. He could tell by the puffy red eyes most had recently been crying, and all were now staring at him.
"My friends, this is Addi ben Zuriel," Cleopas stated and everyone seemed to go silent a moment as they took in his presence. Finally, an older woman, whom Addi could tell was deeply troubled, her face streaked with tears, stepped forward, put her hand on Addi's arm, and smiled.
"Hello and welcome Addi. I recognize you from Tuesday; you were at the Beautiful Gate and brought us food," she said. Apparently, others in the room were there that day, as they too nodded and acknowledged the gift.
"I'm afraid I only brought a little. It was Jesus who turned it into a meal, but thank you. And you are?" Addi asked and the room again grew quiet.
"I'm Mary, Jesus' mother," she said. After the initial shock, for some reason Addi stepped forward and embraced her, causing several people in the room to grumble at his actions.
"I'm so sorry that I could not stop all of this," he said as she returned the embrace and then stepped back to look at him.
"Ahh, you are the rich young ruler I have heard about," she said. He started to nod and then shook his head.
"Not anymore, I'm afraid, just…young and tired, I guess," he replied nervously as she smiled and looked over at Cleopas.
"And I am sorry for your loss, but encouraged by your faith in my son and your friendship with Cleopas," she said and Addi nodded realizing that she must know about his parents and Cleopas' involvement. Wanting to change the subject, Addi nervously asked what was on his mind.
"Was Joseph and Nicodemas able to persuade Pilate to release Jesus to them for burial?" Addi asked, trying to avoid the use of 'body' in his question. She nodded and smiled.
"Yes, thank you for sending them. Pilate sent a detachment of troops to help Joseph wrap him in clean linen. They were kind enough to help us place him in Joseph's own tomb and to roll a large stone in front of it, so no one would take his body. Because the Sabbath was approaching, we had to leave, but we will return after the Sabbath with spices to prepare his body,"1 Mary said, reaching out to touch Addi's cheek. "He spoke about you on several occasions. Although we did not have the faith to believe, he said that all things are possible with God. You are an answered prayer in more ways than you know," she ended. Addi felt grateful, yet confused.
As Mary stepped away from him, Cleopas turned and motioned toward a few men just a little older than himself.
"Addi, this is John and his brother James, Andrew, Thomas, Philip, Simon and Matthew," he said pointing to each one as he said their names. "Andrew's brother, Peter, along with Bartholomew, and James who is the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus have not arrived yet," Cleopas added the last part nervously and then turned to introduce Addi to the women. "You have met Mary, and these are our other Mary's," he said and the two women, one younger and the other older smiled as Addi nodded toward them. "Mary Magdalene and Mary, the wife of Clopas, who owns this fine house," Cleopas ended. Everyone exchanged greetings until the sound of someone softly clearing their voice could be heard. Cleopas looked at Addi and smiled as he turned him toward the sound. "And not to be forgotten, this is Clopas' daughter Eliana. Eliana, this is Addi," Cleopas said and Eliana smiled and stepped forward to where Addi could see her better. Addi's heart jumped as he recognized her face and smile.
"We already know each other, but it's nice to finally be formerly introduced," Addi replied and smiled back.
"She is the one that has been prompting the prayers for you," Clopas said and Eliana embarrassed by her father's announcement elbowed him in the side.
"Ouch, well it's true," he replied, almost shocked by his daughter’s gentle attack. Eliana's cheeks flushed, and she looked away from Addi while the others in the room smiled.
"Thank you," Addi said and hesitated a moment until she looked back at him. "I'm not sure I would have made it without your prayers," and Eliana smiled again.
"You're welcome," she replied coyly. "Would you two like something to eat or drink?" she suddenly interjected as if trying to change the subject and both nodded.
"Lycus, is there anything new you can tell us about Hadar's and Caiaphas' plans for those of us remaining?" Cleopas asked. Lycus began to walk through the various encounters he and Addi had experienced, but focused mainly on the curtain of the temple being torn in two and Hadar's current condition. As Lycus answered more questions from the various members, Addi could not help but watch Eliana as she gathered some buttered bread and a cup of tea for each of them, starting with Lycus first. What a strange twist of fate, he thought as she approached and handed him a slice of bread and hot tea.
"Thank you again," he said awkwardly as he took a bite and tried to pay attention to what Lycus was saying.
As Addi listened, he glanced around the room and could see everyone had a deep concern for those who were still missing.
"Where is your son?" Lycus suddenly asked of Clopas.
"Maor went to find Peter," Clopas replied and Addi coughed and choked on the bite of bread in his mouth.
"Maor? The herdsman who works, um, that used to work for me?" Addi almost shouted the question and Clopas nodded. Addi immediately looked at Cleopas and saw him smile; then at Lycus whose smile was just as big as Cleopas'. Addi realized they both knew. "I know him… I mean, obviously I know him, but I, anyways…sorry for interrupting," Addi embarrassingly stumbled through his words. Now that was a strange twist of fate, Addi thought and shook his head.
A moment later it hit him that Eliana was Maor's sister. His mind was racing at the realization of everything unfolding around him. Feeling light headed, he stepped away from the main group and found a seat near the wall. Addi could see Cleopas was watching him. All Addi could do was shake his head in disbelief and Cleopas shrugged. As he sat there, he tried to think if Cleopas at any time had hinted or suggested Maor should receive his estate, but he knew he had not.
"I have several men watching the temple for us," Cleopas replied to Lycus, his voice bringing Addi back to the discussion. He knew every resource Cleopas had available would be engaged on this.
"Why do they hate us so?" Eliana said suddenly, frustrated from having to fear them.
"Because they do not understand what they are doing," Addi replied softly.
"How do you know this?" John asked and Addi sighed.
"Because I sat in the same meeting with them as they made their plans, thinking Jesus was not the Messiah. Several of us tried to stop it, including Joseph and Nicodemas, but none of us could. Now I am their enemy and they will be looking to take my life, too," he said and could not help but notice Eliana slowly started shaking her head.
"I still do not understand why Judas would betray Jesus?" John's brother James asked as the room fell silent.
"For thirty pieces of silver," Lycus replied. "On the way to Gethsemane, one of the ringleaders thought Addi was still a part of their group and told him Judas had led them to where they were praying. He betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver." Everyone seemed in disbelief or pain at the thought; most just shook their head and sighed.
"God will repay Judas for his betrayal," John announced softly.
"Judas is dead," Lycus replied and the room suddenly grew silent. "I learned he hung himself after realizing what he had done."2 The shock of the statement caused everyone to shake their heads.
Sensing the moment, Lycus suddenly broke the silence. "I'm going to join the rest of the team and see if I can learn what Hadar's plans are," Lycus told Cleopas, who nodded.
"Be careful," Cleopas said as Lycus walked over to Addi and patted him on the shoulder.
"Get some rest, you look horrible," he said and started to walk away, but Addi grabbed the center of his cloak and pulled him back.
"I'm guessing you thought my beneficiary selection was pretty funny, too?" Addi stated and Lycus nodded.
"Sometimes, all you can do is step back and be amazed at how God works," Lycus said and headed for the door leading down the stairs.
Addi thought about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then on the cross on Golgotha, his face and body unrecognizable. He suddenly realized what “everything” truly looked like. How could you ask someone to give up everything for you without first showing that you were willing to do the same for him? Addi remembered what he had told him in the Garden as he was being led off; "Your father told you everything you needed to know." Addi stood up and walked over to where Cleopas sat.
"Do you have my father's notes?" Addi asked, but Cleopas shook his head.
"They are in a safe place if that is what you are worried about," Cleopas said, but Addi shook his head. No, I had a dream last night where my father was reading a section of Isaiah and I wanted to…" Addi stopped and looked at Cleopas, who sat there with one eyebrow raised as if disappointed in Addi. Addi closed his eyes and tried to remember the opening verse his father had read to him.
"Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"
Addi began as he struggled to repeat the words his father had read in Isaiah he remembered so clearly in his dreams. But Cleopas suddenly took over the reading from memory and everyone in the room listened as the words painted the perfect picture of what had transpired this day.
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."3
As Cleopas finished the last words, Addi looked up to see everyone still in deep thought and surprise at what Isaiah had prophesied about Jesus 750 years earlier.
"What other scriptures did my father have written down that related to Jesus as the Messiah?" Addi asked Cleopas, who seemed to think through the various writing in his head.
"In Isaiah, your father found a scripture that talked of a virgin birth, "The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.""4 He replied and looked over at Mary and smiled. "He mentioned another section a little further in Isaiah;
"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.""5
Cleopas suddenly jerked at a memory, "The words he spoke on the cross and even those around him today spoke the very words written in Psalm chapter twenty-two".
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!"6 As Cleopas finished, he could see the pain it was causing Mary, Jesus' mother, as if replaying what had happened today.
"I'm sorry Mary," Cleopas said softly, as she shook her head.
"It’s okay Cleopas. It helps to remind me that God is in control no matter what is happening around us," she said, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I cannot help but feel that it is not over, but just beginning," she said.
They smiled and nodded. "Can we pray? I feel that is what he would be doing right now," she said and smiled.
They all joined hands and prayed into the late hours of the evening. Lycus returned and reported the priestly order had withdrawn into the temple. There was a rumor floating around about Hadar having gone mad and Caiaphas having locked himself inside one of the temple rooms after the earthquake, but he could not verify it.
As the night fell and everyone slowly drifted off to sleep, there were only a few who remained awake; Eliana, Jesus' mother, Cleopas and Addi. While Cleopas and Mary were talking, Addi moved closer to Eliana so he could speak in a softer voice and not wake up those who had drifted off to sleep. After a few minutes of general discussions, Eliana smiled and suddenly asked a deep question.
"Why did you never pursue me?" She asked and then smiled. "I mean you stopped by so many times everyone knew you had an interest, but you never spoke with my father or my family," she said, the smile fading from her face as she waited for Addi's reply.
"I made a vow to God that I would not seek a bride until his kingdom was established," he replied, and she wrinkled her face.
"Why?" she asked, and he took a deep breath.
"My parents were killed seeking that same kingdom, and I did not want to put another person I cared about at risk, or a family, as a result of seeking the same thing," he replied.
"So, since you have made that vow to God, then nothing has changed for you?" she stated. He suddenly realized that what she said was true. He tried to answer twice, but could not find the words as he realized the vow was still in place. "Although honorable, it was not thought through very well," she finally said, and he nodded.
"I know, I am so sorry. I made it when I was much younger and my feelings at the time were much stronger," he said, and he saw her demeanor change as she nodded.
"Good night, Addi. I'm sorry that you lost everything and deep down I'm also sorry that you made that vow," she said as she stood up and then touched Mary on the shoulder and headed to one of the rooms where the other women had gone to sleep.
As Addi thought through their conversation, his heart sank again at the thought of Jesus' death and a vow that would never allow him to pursue Eliana. He stood up and walked into the room where the men were sleeping and found a spot on the floor. Using his cloak as a pillow, he slowly willed himself to sleep as the horrible events of the day played through his mind.
1 Luke 23:55-56
2 Matthew 27:1-5
3 Isaiah 53:1-12
4 Isaiah 7:14
5 Isaiah 9:1-7
6 Psalm 22:1-23