As they walked, jogged and sometimes even ran down the dark road leading back toward Jerusalem, they would talk about the scriptures that had been shared and their meaning.
"God had told us all along when and where his kingdom would come!" Cleopas said between breathes. "It was right there all along, I just can't believe I missed it," he said and shook his head. In Isaiah 2, he told us; "This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord."1
Cleopas quoted the scripture from Isaiah, the one that Jesus had shared with them on the road. "The 'last days' he speaks of is now and 'all nations will stream to it.' 'The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem," he said between breathes. "Addi, he picked the Passover as his time not only because it was a representation of him as the Passover lamb, but because Jews from all nations would be there to witness it."
"Help me understand what was meant in Daniel 2?" 2 Addi asked and Cleopas nodded and seemed even more excited.
"The dream Nebuchadnezzar had of the statue, head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron and clay," Cleopas gave a brief recap of the story and took a breath. "550 years ago, it was a foreshadowing of earthly kingdoms that would come. We now know that the head of gold was the kingdom of Babylon, the silver chest represented the Mede Persians empire, the bronze the Greek empire of Alexander, and the iron and clay is the Roman empire we now live under," he said, taking another deep breath.
"In Daniel it reads; 'In the time of those kings,' the time of Rome," Cleopas interjected. "The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. 'The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.' God, 'not by human hands' is going to setup his mountain, his kingdom, that will never end," Cleopas said and smiled.
Addi gave Cleopas some time to catch his breath as they walked, before finally asking another question.
"So, has it been established?" Addi asked and Cleopas shook his head.
"I don't think so, not yet. John the Baptist preached that the Kingdom of heaven is near. Right after Jesus' own baptism he preached that the kingdom of heaven is near. While he was with them, Jesus told his disciples that they would see the kingdom of God come with power. He told Nicodemas that no one could see the kingdom of God unless he was 'born again' through water and spirit. He told the Pharisees later that it was not a visible kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom that is within us. And Jesus told Peter that he would give him the keys to the kingdom of heaven and that Peter would open that door for us." Cleopas paused and then looked at Addi. "There are things that are still unfinished, or unfulfilled in the prophecies," Cleopas said. "Peter has the keys but to my knowledge has not opened the doors to the kingdom yet, nor have we seen it come with power, and we have not received the Holy Spirit. So, no, I don't believe it has arrived yet." Cleopas ended and sighed. Addi thought about everything Cleopas and Jesus had explained and felt a growing urgency inside.
"We need to walk faster," Addi said. "I don't want to miss this," and started jogging again.
They arrived in Jerusalem early in the morning just before daybreak. Knocking on the door to Clopas' house, it took a moment before someone finally opened it. It was Eliana. Although Addi could tell they had awkened her, she smiled at the sight of the two of them.
"Welcome back," was all she said as she opened the door and allowed them in. It was not until Addi sat down at the table that he realized how tired he was. Walking and jogging 14 miles in less than 24 hours was not an easy task for him and he knew Cleopas must be even more tired.
The noise they made entering the house seemed to be the catalyst that slowly woke people from their sleep and brought them to the main living area. As each new person entered, Addi was happy to see that all the disciples had returned to Jerusalem.
"Did he appear to you too?" Peter asked. Cleopas and Addi nodded, smiled, and told them what had happened and what Jesus had said.
"We went to Galilee and the mountain where Jesus had told us, or should I say, told Mary to tell us to go," Peter said while looking at Mary. "Sorry for not believing you," Peter said and Mary just smiled.
"All is forgiven Peter," she replied. He turned back toward Addi and Cleopas.
"As we sat on the mountain and prayed, Jesus came to us and said; 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”3 Peter paused a moment. "Then he told us to return to Jerusalem. While we were packing he disappeared; so, we obeyed and returned here," Peter said and then took a deep breath. "I don't know what it is that I am supposed to do," he finally said and shrugged his shoulders. They all looked at each other as if waiting for some additional information to be revealed, but apparently there was nothing to be shared.
"Peace be with you," a man's voice echoed behind them, startling everyone. They turned to see Jesus walking out from one of the darker corners of the house and into their presence. Several backed away from him, while others moved behind those closest to them as if for protection. "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have," Jesus said as he held out his hands for them to see. There was a sense of joy, amazement and fear all combined that seemed to paralyze everyone in the room. Jesus walked past them and asked, "Do you have anything to eat?"4
At first no one moved, but then Jesus' mother stepped forward and gave him a piece of broiled fish. Addi could see the deep love and affection that only a mother and son could have for each other. Jesus took the piece of fish from her hand and ate it and then turned to the rest of them.
"This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms," Jesus said and then closed his eyes. Suddenly Addi felt his mind being opened and Jesus poured into it a river of knowledge and wisdom that he could never have learned in a lifetime. As the river slowed to a trickle, it was as if he could see and understand every aspect of Scripture.
"Oh my," Addi heard Mary Magdalene whisper, realizing that this river of spiritual knowledge was flowing into all of them.
“This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”5
Several people had taken a moment to sit down as they tried to grasp what had just happened. Jesus, sensing that they needed some time, waited for everyone to settle back down from the joy and excitement they were sharing from their new-found knowledge.
"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you," he said calmly and lovingly. And with that said, breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."6
As his words ended, Addi felt a presence or power suddenly enter him, something he had never felt before. It felt as if it was searching for a place within him, and when it finally found the spot it was looking for, there was a feeling of total peace and comfort. As he opened his eyes, Jesus was no longer there. As each person slowly opened their eyes, they all did the same visual search that he had.
"He's gone!" Clopas suddenly blurted out after searching the room for Jesus.
"He does that a lot," Addi mumbled and shook his head as he tried to understand everything that had just happened to them. He could see everyone was wrestling with the same inner feelings and new experience that he had, and did not know what to do with it. Addi looked at Cleopas, who did not seem to be as affected by everything that had just happened and the new information he was now carrying inside.
"So, this is what your head feels like," Addi stated as he looked at Cleopas, who at first seemed confused and then understood and nodded.
"Although this is much better, I wish he would have cleared out the other memories before filling my head with his word," he said and several laughed and nodded.
With the knowledge of the Law and Prophets flowing through their heads, they discussed the past, what they had missed, and what they were to do with this new knowledge they had been given.
"Why is Jesus waiting to establish his new kingdom?" John asked.
"Pentecost," Peter replied. "In just under forty days, Jews from around the world, 'all nations', will be in Jerusalem to celebrate the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. I believe he intends to fulfill it then and usher in his kingdom," Peter said, almost proud of himself for putting it all together. Addi could see Cleopas thinking through what Peter said and then nodded in agreement.
"I think you are right. If so, we have forty days to prepare for his new kingdom, whatever that will look like," Cleopas said and they all were excited as they tried to guess what would happen. As Addi watched everyone, he realized if what Peter said was true, then his vow to God of remaining single would be over and he would be able to pursue Eliana. He looked across the room to find her and saw her looking back, but then looked away.
A short time later he spoke with Eliana while she was preparing the afternoon meal with Clopas' wife Mary.
"If what Peter said is true, then God will have answered my prayers by bringing in his kingdom," he said, and Mary leaned forward and smiled at him.
"He will have answered more than just your prayers Addi. He has answered all the prayers of those in our past and future," she said and smiled. Addi nodded as he thought through all those from the past who had written about Jesus and longed for this day. Despite all the challenges, he had been blessed to live at an incredible time.
"My heart wants to rejoice, but so much can happen between now and then that I won't let it," Eliana said softly without looking up. Addi understood her fear. He too had been on a journey that allowed him to experience some incredible highs, but often followed by some very deep lows in his life.
An unfamiliar knock on the door brought them all back to the reality that they still lived in a very dangerous world, a world led by a fallen angel who wanted them removed from it. Everyone moved out of sight and into the back rooms, as Lycus and Cleopas looked through a crack for the source of the knock.
"There are five men, four armed," Addi barely heard Cleopas whisper and then advised Clopas and Maor what they should do, before moving to the join the rest of the group in the back rooms. Only Clopas, Mary, and Maor remained in sight as Clopas opened the door.
"Greetings," Clopas said.
"Greetings to you and your home," the man replied. "Is Maor, son of Clopas here?" the man asked, and everyone felt a twinge of fear as Maor stepped forward to where he could be seen.
"I am Maor, son of Clopas," Maor replied and waited.
"By order of Atreaus, I am delivering this important document for your acceptance," the man said and Addi looked over to where Cleopas and Lycus were hidden. They both seemed to relax a little. Addi, on the other hand, had not planned on being here when this happened. In fact, he had not planned on even being alive; but with everything happening concerning Jesus, it had totally slipped his mind. "Please sign here that you received these documents," the man ended and there was a brief pause. "Thank you. Have a blessed day," the man said as the door closed. Maor and Clopas walked into the room carrying the leather tube.
Addi looked again at Cleopas and raised his hands in silence as if asking what he should do. Cleopas just shrugged as the rest of the disciples came out of hiding and walked into the room to see what the leather tube contained. Everyone gathered around the table to watch Maor break the seal and slowly open it up. Cleopas stood in the doorway of the bedroom where Addi was still hiding.
"A letter from Hadar?" one of them asked as Maor looked inside and extracted the rolled document.
"They were soldiers, so I think it is from Pilate," another interjected. Maor broke the seal on the parchment and slowly rolled it out onto the table. Addi walked into the bedroom, sat on the bed, watching from the dark room at those around the table and waited. He really did not want to be here.
He watched Maor's expression change from fear to confusion as he reread the opening section. Addi knew his name would not be mentioned until the end, and the document was long.
"What?" Maor suddenly said. By then Addi was watching Maor's mother Mary, who was reading over his shoulder. She took a deep breath and put her hand over her mouth before looking up at the rest of the group.
"What is it?" Peter asked and Maor shook his head.
"Someone is giving me something, as if I am their heir," he said and then kept reading. Several times he stopped reading, ran his hands through his hair, and shook his head. Then he would reread the sentence again, to make sure he understood it correctly. His mother, who was also reading suddenly walked away, stood at the window, and stared out with her hand over her chest. Maor also took in a deep breath and put his hand over his mouth.
"They are giving me all the herds and flocks…but that's," he stopped and looked around confused, but did not see Addi sitting in the darkness of the room. Maor kept reading while shaking his head, slightly at first, then in big motions. Then a ripple rolled across his face and body. Addi knew he had read the final line that listed the value amount of silver and gold being held for him on deposit in a bank. It also listed who the vast amount of money had come from. He let the scroll roll back, stood up, and looked around.
"Where are you Addi?" Maor asked out loud as his father Clopas reopened the scroll and started reading it. Addi stood up and started walking toward the doorway.
"He's in here," Cleopas said and motioned over his shoulder.
"Thanks for covering for me," Addi said sarcastically as he passed by Cleopas, who just shrugged. As he stepped out into the light of the room, Maor shook his head and raised his hands.
"Why are you doing this?" Maor blurted out and then stopped. "I mean thank you, but I don't understand. Are you dying?" he suddenly asked, deeply concerned for him. Addi just shook his head.
"No, but I did not think I would be alive to see you receive it," Addi replied with a smile. Don’t get me wrong, I'm glad I am," he added and smiled.
"What is going on?" Peter suddenly interrupted loudly and Maor turned briefly to look at Peter.
"Addi sold everything he owned and gave me the livestock business, all his herds and flocks, and even his home," Maor replied and then turned back to face Addi.
"And why would you do such a thing?" Peter asked. Addi started to answer, but then stopped.
"Because Jesus told him to," Cleopas interjected and then smiled.
"He told you to sell everything and give it to me?" Maor asked in bewilderment.
"No, that part was my idea," Addi answered. "Of all the people who worked for me, no one has been more loyal, hard working and honest than you. Jesus said to sell everything and give it to the poor. It was not meant as an insult, but as a gift of appreciation. I just knew you would do what was right with all of it if you controlled it," Addi said and waited.
At first Maor just stared at Addi and then shook his head.
"This belongs to you and your family," Maor said, but Addi shook his head, but then nodded.
"Yes, but you are my family. You are all I have left in this world," Addi replied as he looked around the room. But as his eyes passed over Eliana, he saw a deepening scowl growing on her face as she crossed her arms.
"What?" Addi asked in surprised hurt and everyone turned to look at Eliana.
"Addi ben Zuriel, did you give this to Maor knowing that I was his sister?" Eliana asked sternly. Addi, at first, did not understand the reason for her question, but then realized that it looked as if he gave it to Maor with the hidden intent of joining the family and perhaps marrying his sister. She thought she was being used so Addi could keep his money. Addi shook his head and stepped forward, but Lycus started laughing and stepped between them.
"No," Lycus said and chuckled again. "He had no idea that you were Maor's sister. That is the part that is so amazing and funny," Lycus added and Addi shook his head while Eliana looked at him. "You should have seen the look on his face when Clopas mentioned that Maor was his son. Priceless!" Lycus said and laughed again.
"It was, and I can confirm that what Lycus said is true. Addi did not know that Maor was Clopas' son or that you were Maor's sister," Cleopas added and laughed. Eliana looked over at Addi again, who nodded his head in agreement with Cleopas. "I knew you had an interest in Addi, but I did not know he was interested in you," Cleopas said. Then with a raised eyebrow added, "and we are supposed to be best friends that tell each other everything?" he ended, smiling. Addi just shrugged and nodded.
"Eliana, I would never do that. I had no idea what a sense of humor God has. When I decided to give up everything, I had no idea that he would give a piece of it back to me through you and your family," Addi said and then smiled. "I can’t think of a better family to have given it to, or to work for assuming Maor will hire me," he said and smiled at Maor.
"Well, you can't cook or fold clothes, so you better find a good paying job," Eliana said sarcastically and smiled. "I'm sorry, for doubting you. I told you I was guarding my heart," she ended and then smiled again.
"I'm the last person that would want to break it," Addi replied and returned her smile.
"Aww, they are so cute together," Mary Magdalene said and Addi realized that again this all took place in front of everyone.
"It gets pretty crowded around here. Should I expect to see this same group when we are officially courting?" Addi asked sarcastically.
"Yes," "Yep," "Or more," were the most common responses, all of them coming at almost the same time from everyone, followed quickly by laughter. Addi smiled knowing deep down that if he was going to belong to a family, he could not ask for a better one.
"Well, I would like to announce the first employee that I will be hiring," Maor began, but Addi raised a hand and stopped him.
"You might want to check with your top appointed advisor first," Addi interjected and then pointed at Cleopas. "He'll do a very thorough background check to see if I know anything about your business," Addi smiled while the others laughed. But then his expression changed. "Until we know what Gavriel is up to, you might want to keep me off the books as an employee. No need to draw his attention until he gets over the fact that he lost everything and won't be getting any of it back," Addi stated. Taking a long breath, he walked away from the group and into the pantry area as if looking for food.
"What are we going to do with all that money?" Addi heard Maor's mother ask Clopas.
"We'll ask Jesus. He'll know what to do with it," Clopas replied. Addi just hoped he did not bring any trouble or danger on this house by such a gift, mainly in the form of Gavriel's revenge.
1 Isaiah 2:1-5 2 Daniel 2:24-45 3 Matthew 28:18-20 4 Luke 24:36-43 5 Luke 24:44-49 6 John 20:19-23