Everything - Chapter 20
They spent the Sabbath inside, resting and praying. Cleopas and Lycus had gone out to gather the spices and perfumes from friends for Mary and the other women to prepare to take to Jesus' tomb on Sunday. Early in the morning a knock on the door found Maor standing there with Peter, Bartholomew and James. As Addi listened to their conversations, it sounded as if the entire core group of disciples were now all together in one place. Even without Jesus, there was a renewed spirit of family. Although everyone felt disheartened, Peter was extremely downcast in spite of all efforts to encourage him. As the day wore on, John finally had enough and seeing Peter sitting quietly in a chair by himself, rebuked him in front of all of them.
"We are all saddened by our Lord's death Peter; however, your moping about is not helping us to understand what we should do next. You have always been the first one to step forward to give advice, to do things we were all afraid to do, to challenge those who came to do us harm. You even took a man's ear off with your sword last night when they came to take our Lord! Peter, we need you to be that man now more than ever," John said sternly, as Peter shook his head and looked up with tears in his eyes.
"I am not that man!" he shouted stunning everyone by his response. "I said I would die with him, but instead I denied knowing him three times last night as I tried to follow him from a distance and watched as they abused him,"1 Everyone was quiet as Peter continued. "Out of fear, I even denied knowing him to a girl who recognized me and called down curses on myself. Then I swore out loud that I did not know him." He shook his head and looked around the room at everyone. "Three times," Peter said again. Putting his face in his hands he started crying.2
John stood there a moment, then reached down and laid his hand on Peter's shoulder.
"Peter, you had the courage to at least follow Jesus. We ran," John said. "I was there when Jesus told you this would happen. It did not make sense to any of us, nor did we believe it, but he knew. He knew that Judas was going to betray him and told us so at our last supper together, though none of us believed that either," John added and knelt down, putting his arm around Peter and embracing him. "Jesus knew everything that you would do before you did it, but he still chose to give you the keys to the kingdom, and not to any of us.3 Despite your poor timing, hasty words, and boastful statements that might drive us crazy at times, you are our leader and the one Jesus believes can do this. Now more than ever, it is time for you to step forward and lead us before we all lose heart and fall away," John ended and put his head on his shoulder.
"You're always saying that he loves you more, so why don't you lead us?"4 Peter replied and then chuckled between the tears and took a deep breath. John nodded and chuckled as the others in the room smiled at Peter's sarcastic statement. It seemed Addi was the only one who did not understand the humor behind it.
"That's true," John said in agreement but apparently in jest. Everyone, including John, laughed and shook their heads. Addi could see even Peter smile behind his hands and wished he understood the humor behind it. "Peter, no one has ever accused you of being the smartest, or best looking, or fastest in our group," John added in jest as more laughter came from the group. "But you have always been the bravest and strongest of us. Who you are deep down makes you the best one to lead us. Jesus knew it before any of us knew it. Moreover, until this very moment, I did not know it. I need you. We all need you," John ended sincerely. Peter sat quietly a moment, then lifted his head from his hands and looked at John.
"Then can I sit at Jesus' right hand in your place?"5 he asked John as he stood up, taking John by surprise at the request. Then Peter smiled as John shook his head and everyone laughed, except Addi.
"Nope," John said and looked at the group as if searching for something. "Who was next on the leadership list?" John asked sarcastically, and everyone laughed even louder as they closed in and embraced Peter. Although Peter's attitude improved following that interaction with John, and there was even a renewed spirit in the group, Addi could tell Peter still carried his burden of guilt from denying Jesus.
Lycus returned later in the day to report that Pilate, at the request of the Pharisees, had sent a detachment of soldiers to guard Jesus' tomb. This concerned Mary more than anyone else, because she strongly desired to prepare Jesus' body with the spices and perfumes.
"We will go in the morning to see if they will allow us this wish," Mary said confidently. They discussed who should go with her, but were concerned if too many went the guards may feel threatened and would be less likely to allow her to enter the tomb. There was also a concern that should the disciples all come together in one spot, the Pharisees could easily have them arrested. The final decision, one that Mary suggested, was only she and Mary Magdalene would go to visit the tomb.
For Addi, the rest of the day was getting to know the other disciples, while Maor constantly verbalized how encouraged he was to have Addi with them. Addi pulled Cleopas and Lycus aside.
"He seems very encouraged by my presence. Does he know?" Addi asked them and both shook their heads.
"Addi, that's just how Maor is," Cleopas replied. "He spoke about you often and thinks highly of you," he ended.
"That will probably change once he gets to know you," Lycus interjected and smiled. Addi shook his head at the sarcasm and then looked over at Maor again.
"He was a good choice," Addi said distantly and they all nodded. "This whole coincidence of choices must seem really funny to you two," Addi said as they all continued to look over at Maor. At first, Lycus and Cleopas were shaking their heads, but then they both slowly started nodding again.
"Yes," they both said almost at the same time. "That is does," Cleopas added.
"Something I'm sure we will never let you forget," Lycus added and patted Addi on the shoulder as he raised an eyebrow. "Cleopas, will you be sure to remind me if I forget?" Lycus asked sarcastically and Cleopas just tapped the side of his head.
"On a more serious note," Cleopas suddenly interjected and Addi looked at Cleopas to verify he was indeed serious. "Lycus has discovered that Gavriel has gotten word of what you did and is indeed seeking to find and kill you. He does not have approval from Hadar but is doing this on his own," Cleopas said and Lycus confirmed the report with a nod. Addi tried to think of what they should do when Lycus interjected.
"Addi, you’re being here puts the rest of the group at risk from Gavriel's vendetta. I think it would be best if we moved you outside the city until things settle down or Gavriel runs out of money searching for you," Lycus stated. Addi thought about everyone in the room and the last thing he would want is to cause harm to any of them. His eyes rested on Eliana, who had been rather distant to him today. Perhaps this would best for her and for him as well, he thought and then nodded to them.
"You and I will leave together, first thing in the morning. I have a place in Emmaus where Gavriel will never find you," Cleopas said. Addi felt better knowing he would at least have a friend with him and Emmaus was only 7 miles from Jerusalem should he need to return.
"Can we wait until the women get back from the tomb?" Addi asked. "I want to know that they are safe before we leave."
"Of course," Cleopas replied and smiled.
Addi asked Cleopas and Lycus not to tell Maor until after he left so there would not be any strange or awkward feelings between him and Maor, or his family. The rest of the day Addi spent with Maor, explaining that he had sold everything to keep it from falling into the Pharisees’ hands. Addi did not tell him he was the beneficiary, only that he would like his new boss and he would be playing a crucial role for the current owner. Maor was grateful for the opportunity Addi had negotiated with the new buyer, but conveyed how much he would miss working for Addi. Excluding Eliana, the rest of the family seemed very encouraged by Maor's new opportunity also.
With Lycus' help, Cleopas retrieved some clothes, food, and the tube that held his father's notes for them to take on their journey.
"Something to read and study," Cleopas stated when he handed the tube over to Addi. Addi felt his father's notes were the most important and valuable thing he owned.
That evening, they shared a meal together, each saying their goodbyes to Addi when they were told he would be leaving them to avoid Gavriel's vengeance. They all wished him well and said they would be keeping him in their prayers. Only Eliana was silent during the discussions. Later he saw Eliana by herself, folding clothes that had been gathered that day from the yard after drying. He approached her, took a blanket from the basket and started folding it.
"In a little while your brother is going to need a great deal of your help," he said softly, and she nodded.
"It sounds like a wonderful opportunity for him and the family," she replied as she folded a shirt and selected another item from the basket. "It's unfortunate he does not have a trained advisor nearby to help him," she said and kept folding. Addi did not reply immediately as he saw the poor result of his efforts and started refolding the blanket again.
"Eliana, I am so sorry and wish there was a way to go back and change that vow. But I can't," he said and looked down at the blanket. "I can't change my vow to God, perhaps it was meant to be and my leaving is exactly what needs to happen so that you can move on in your life," Addi said.
"Will you?" She asked, and Addi seemed confused by the question. "Will you move on in your life?" she repeated and clarified. Addi shook his head.
"No, you are the only woman that I have ever thought about, or dreamed about. I will never stop thinking about you and praying for you," he ended and looked her in the eyes. She took a deep breath, exhaled, and then shook her head.
"Then I won't either," she said and stared back into Addi's eyes. "I will wait Addi. You are the only man I have thought about or dreamed about; and until I die, or God's kingdom is established and releases your from your vow, I will never give up that dream," she said confidently. As he stood there looking at her, they both realized the whole room of people had been listening to their discussion and mutual statements. It was awkward for both of them as they blushed and looked down at the basket of clothes.
"All things are possible with God," he heard Mary say as she walked over to where the two of them stood and placed her hand on each of their shoulders. Addi looked down at his third attempt to fold the blanket and realized its poor condition again.
"My learning to fold clothing may be beyond God's ability," he said as he started over and Eliana laughed.
"You have never folded clothes before have you?" she asked, and he shook his head, a little embarrassed by the question. "A formerly wealthy bachelor without any servants can be a difficult road. Looks like I had better teach you," she laughed, and began explaining the details for folding clothes.
"We may need to visit him on occasion to teach him to cook also," Mary said. The idea of seeing them in the future encouraged him greatly.
The next morning Mary and Mary Magdalene, escorted by Lycus, headed toward the guarded tomb of Jesus with the spices and perfumes. Everyone else waited nervously for the three to return safely, during which an earthquake rattled the house. To everyone's surprise, it was a little less than two hours later the three of them returned, excited and out of breath. Everyone feared the worst as they rushed into the house and sat down.
"There was an earthquake… The guards were afraid…an angel told us not to be. He knew we were looking for Jesus, but that he was not there because he had risen, just as he said he would. He told us to look for ourselves, which we did. Peter, Jesus' body was not there. He then told us to tell you to go to Galilee, to meet Jesus," Mary said, and took a moment to catch her breath.6
"It has been a long few days, Mary. Take a minute to catch your breath," Peter said and looked up at Lycus, who shrugged.
"Mary was worried that if the guards saw me that they would be too concerned that their request was a trap, so she asked me to stay by the gate of the city. I did not see anything, only their excitement as they came back to the gate," Lycus said, then turned and looked at Cleopas and Addi. "I did see several of the guards pass and I sent a man to follow them. On our way back, he reported that the guards went to the temple where they met with Caiaphas, who was not happy at whatever news they were sharing with him. If the body is missing, either they took it, or they are going to blame it on his disciples and send men to get it back. Either way, I think it would be best for those of you who do not live here to leave Jerusalem quickly," Lycus ended and the men looked at each other.
"No! He rose from the dead. Jesus told us himself," Mary Magdalene said and everyone turned to look at her. "He said you are supposed to go to Galilee to meet him."
"You saw Jesus?" Peter asked and both Mary's nodded. Peter glanced around the room for confirmation or advice, but none came. He shook his head.
"Everyone get packed. We leave for Galilee immediately. As we travel north, John and I will break off to visit the tomb to verify this and then meet back up with you on the northern road to Galilee," Peter said and they all scrambled quickly to get packed and ready to leave.7
There was a clear sense Peter and the other male disciples did not believe Mary and Mary Magdalene. Not that they were lying; but instead, their story was from a deep desire to see Jesus. Combined with exhaustion and lack of sleep, they were delusional. Both Mary's held to their story as they prepared, but you could feel a growing uneasiness in the group because of the mixed perspectives.
Addi was glad he and Cleopas had already packed. They took the spare moment to say their goodbyes to Clopas, his wife Mary, Moab, and Eliana. The goodbyes were encouraging, yet sad for Addi. He worried about them and what Hadar and Caiaphas would decide to do if they found out they were disciples of Jesus. He worried more about what Gavriel might do when he found that Addi had given everything to Maor. He knew Cleopas would be coming back here to protect him, but he did not know the depth of revenge Gavriel would pursue. The hardest goodbye was with Eliana. He felt as if he was letting go of the only happy thing left in his life. As they said goodbye, she embraced him and smiled deeply.
"You get busy fulfilling that vow Addi, son of Zuriel. I will be waiting for you," she said with tears forming in her eyes.
"I will Eliana, daughter of Clopas," he replied and smiled. She then turned, and walked back into the house.
They left in smaller groups of five to six disciples each to not draw too much attention. Heading north around the city, they came to the main road where Peter and John sat their packs down and slowly jogged toward the area of Jesus' tomb. Twenty minutes later, they returned and Peter shook his head.
"The guards were gone, and the tomb was empty, nothing but the strips of linen left. I don't know what happened, but we will assume that what you were told is accurate and head to Galilee. Cleopas, Addi, it is time for us to part ways as you are heading to the northwest," Peter said, as they all either shook hands or embraced.
Cleopas and Addi walked in silence for a mile of the seven-mile road toward Emmaus. Each of them wrestling with everything that had happened that morning.8 Addi suggested they pray for Maor and his family to be protected from Gavriel, and for the disciples to remain safe from Hadar, Caiaphas, Herod, Pilate and anyone else that may desire to harm them. Their prayer lasted for several miles. As they came over a rise, they could see the village of Emmaus in the valley below and stopped to rest a moment.
"Why is it that you have a home here?" Addi asked and looked down the road they had just traveled, seeing a man approaching in the distance.
"I told you I had a family," Cleopas said and took a deep breath. "This is where they live and work. I like to come here and buy food and items from them. It gives me a reason to talk with them without putting them in danger," Cleopas said and smiled.
"So they have no idea who you are," Addi stated and Cleopas shook his head.
"When I was just a baby, they gave me to another family because they were young and poor and could not afford to feed me or them. That family took me to Jerusalem, where the wife of the family died that same year. The husband blamed her death on me and sent me to an orphanage. That is where I was raised until I learned how to make it on my own by living on the streets, and where I learned and perfected my trade," Cleopas smiled and looked at Addi. "It's also where I developed my wonderful personality and skills," he chuckled.
"You did well," Addi replied and Cleopas nodded.
"For such a time as this," Cleopas mumbled and Addi raised an eyebrow. "The book of Esther, it was Mordecai's challenge to Queen Esther when trouble was coming on the Jews. Your father's stolen notes, our friendship, your hiring me to research Jesus; it all unfolded perfectly. I believe I was placed exactly here for such a time as this," Cleopas finally ended, Addi nodding his head.
"I feel the same," Addi replied as he saw the man approaching them getting closer. "Which brings up the question," Addi turned back to face Cleopas. "Why didn't Jesus ask you to sell everything and give it to the poor?" Cleopas pondered the question a moment and then smiled.
"Apparently that was not the thing that would keep me from following him. Mine was telling you what I had done and finding the forgiveness that I needed before I could truly follow him," Cleopas said and smiled. Addi shook his head and then shrugged.
"A mile left, shall we continue?" Addi asked and motioned for Cleopas to lead on and smiled.
As they walked the last mile to town, they talked about everything that had happened in Jerusalem the past week and what they should do from here forward. Between their discussions and being tired from their long walk, their spirits were down considerably. Addi saw that the man heading toward them had now caught up with them.
"What are you discussing together as you are walking?" the man asked, apparently listening to what they had been saying.
"You have just come from Jerusalem and you do not know the things that have happened there in the past few days?" Cleopas asked the man.
"What things?" the man asked.
"About Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him, but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive, even Jesus himself. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him," Cleopas told the story as dry and detailed as he usually would as they walked along, counting the various "additions" on his fingers.9 The man walking with them chuckled and shook his head.
"How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all the prophets have spoken!" The man exclaimed, and his words caught both Cleopas and Addi by surprise. "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" the man asked and waited for their response.
"What do you mean? What things have the prophets spoken that we did not see?" Cleopas asked, obviously hurt by the accusation that he somehow missed the details of the coming Messiah. The man took a deep breath and slowly and methodically worked his way through the scriptures, starting from Moses and then all the way through the prophets, explaining in detail the meanings of the prophecies and descriptions of the Messiah. Addi was mesmerized at the detailed information and understanding the man had on Scriptures, quoting each passage from memory as if he had been there himself writing them. With each new verse and explanation he shared, it revealed more and more about not only who the Messiah was, but also what his exact purpose was in returning to establish his kingdom. Addi could see that Cleopas was struggling to keep up with the man as he shared his knowledge with them; not in understanding what he was saying, but putting what he heard to memory.10
As he concluded just before of the edge of town, the man suddenly stopped walking with them as if he was going to leave in another direction, but Addi and Cleopas both urged and pleaded with him to stay with them as it was almost evening. At first, he hesitated but then agreed and smiled.11
Stopping briefly to buy some food and drink for the evening, they arrived at Cleopas home and Cleopas began preparing dinner for the three of them. As Cleopas prepared the bread and wine, he fired one question after another at the man, who just as quickly answered them with a reference to Scripture. Addi sat in amazement at the man and the good fortune they had in running into him on the road. While Cleopas was looking for facts and locations of Scripture to memorize, Addi was more interested in 'why' things happened the way they had. With each answer, the man would easily shift his answers to match the questions and personalities of who was asking.
Cleopas sat the bread on the table and took a seat beside them. As Cleopas was adjusting his chair, Addi asked the man how he had become so well educated in Scripture. In response the man reached over and took the bread, and began to pray for the food. Addi and Cleopas both closed their eyes as the words flowed out of the man and into their hearts. Addi watched as his life passed in front of his closed eyes. Each decision and choice he had made, whether good and bad, was slowly being put together as pieces of a puzzle are put in place. Step by step, person by person, his life passed before him right up to the point they met the man on the road. Addi realized he had never asked the man his name, or even really looked deeply at him. However now, with eyes closed, he knew exactly who the man was who sat across from him. It was Jesus, the Messiah and Christ. He had risen, just as Mary had claimed.
Addi opened his eyes to exclaim out loud that he knew who sat across from him, but as his eyes focused, the only person there was Cleopas, and his face had the same expression of joy and happiness.
"Where is Jesus?" Cleopas exclaimed and Addi shook his head and stood up to look around the room. But there was no one with them and the door was still shut and locked.
"How could we have missed knowing he was Jesus?" Addi half shouted as he turned back toward Cleopas. "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" Addi stated and Cleopas nodded.
"Eat something and get packed, for we leave for Jerusalem immediately,"12 Cleopas said and Addi knew that is where they were supposed to go. "I now see that something amazing is about to happen in Jerusalem, something that the world has been waiting for since the Garden of Eden," Cleopas stated, took a deep breath and shook his head. "I cannot believe I did not see it before. It was so clearly laid out before us. Even your father understood," Cleopas continued and Addi realized that many of the scriptures that Jesus had shared were in the notes Addi's father had gathered.
"Your father told you everything you needed to know. Just remember, all things are possible with God." Jesus' words while in the Garden of Gethsemane rang in his head again. Addi suddenly realized what Cleopas was talking about, that Jesus' Kingdom was coming!
1 Matthew 26:33-35
2 Matthew 26:69-75
3 Matthew 16:13-19
4 John 13:23-24
5 Mark 10:35-45
6 Matthew 28:1-10
7 Luke 24:9-11
8 Luke 24:13-14
9 Luke 24:17-24
10 Luke 24:25
11 Luke 24:28-29
12 Luke 24:30-33