Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter V

A young man approached me and greeted me.
“May the Lord’s Light shine upon you, friend.” I am John Mark. On behalf of my mother and I, I would like you to invite you to our home in Jerusalem should you ever venture in that direction.”
I peered at him for a brief moment before speaking. “Your graciousness is kind and am thankful for the offer should I indeed ever be in the city of Jerusalem. I cannot marvel though that, I, a gentile, should ever be greeted and welcomed so.”
“Did you not recall what Simon Peter told Cornelius? We Jews should not regard these old restrictions?”
“John Mark, you are young, and idealistic. I don’t want to seem to disregard your invitation but would all your friends and acquaintances be of the same mind?”
“They may or may not be. Whe have to start this new alliance of all God’s children somewhere and sometime.” John Mark replied matter of factly.
“Would you risk further alienation even by your Jewish friends and peers by doing so? “ I
“I could report that you are a former proselyte.”
“Pardon me? I answered.
“Our law allows one who has acknowledge the God of the Jews to be the one true God and subjects himself to the laws of Moses-
“-John Mark, excuse me, I don’t know about anything of your laws to-“
“That can be arranged later – the main thing is that you are a believer in the one true God and the Lord Jesus Christ whom He has sent to be the payment of our sins.” John Mark replied
“Payment?” I retorted.
“Yes, we cannot attain to be as righteous as we need to be to be accepted in His presence because of our sins.”
“Sins?
John Mark tilted his head quizzically, “Janus, why have you joined us?”
“I am seeking answers to some deep questions” I asked. “I am hoping that these can be answered by learning about this one true God.”
“You have resolved this much in your heart?” he queried
“John Mark, the last year in this land, regardless, of any biased notions, I have experienced some very extraordinary events in my life that involves this man, Jesus.”
“You have?” Mark quipped. “Why are you here? Are you a Roman official?”
“You could say that.” I remarked.
John Mark began to shy away from me.
“You have come to spy out on us!” he exclaimed.
“No, No…that isn’t my purpose!” I returned.
“Then what!” John Mark shouted.
John Mark’s raised voice had drawn attention to us. Cornelius came out into the courtyard where we were, seeking to find out what was happening in his home.
“This man is a Roman spy, sir….coming to accuse us of insurrection or rebellion!” John Mark exclaimed once again. “He could be reporting you to the procurator for having us here!
“Janus?” Cornelius queried “What of this?”
“Sir, I would make an oath on my very life that these suspicions are unfounded.” He asked me of my purpose in this land and I reported to him that I was a Roman official-“
“We must talk. Peter, I must give my leave of you. I appreciate that you came to the bidding of my servants and your heavenly visitor. I would desire more conversation with you but you have told me much to think about in explaining about Isaiah’s prophecies, how the Messiah must first suffer before he comes as a triumphant king!”
My head once again begun to buzz with this new information – well – I had heard the reading of these writings of the prophets but it just didn’t make sense!
“Come, Janus, you and I have matters to discuss.” Cornelius commanded.
I followed the centurion to a secluded alcove at the other end of the courtyard. A servant appeared and Cornelius instructed him to bring us wine and a wheat loaf. The man left quickly and quietly.
“Now, you must tell me of your purpose here in my home and in this land.” He simply commanded.
“Sir, you invited me to hear this Galilean speak and sojourn here as long as I required.”
“Yes, I have. You, however, are in suspicion of ulterior motives. How and for what purpose did you come about in this land. Do not be alarmed. I am re-quired to be informed of the purpose of all ‘foreigners’ in this land that are not conspicuously a soldier. Are you a diplomat sent here to inquire about this ‘new and odd’ sect of the Jews, the followers of the Nazarene?
“Sir, may I be permitted to go to my lodging here? I have some articles that would do well in assisting me to answer your questions?”
“Go and return quickly”. He answered.
With a nod, I acknowledged his command and left to return with the items I had minded to show him.
I rustled through my baggage and pulled both items out, tapping the heels of the sandals together to remove the dust that had collected on them while travelling here to this estate.
As I started to move, I remembered to bring with me my discharge letter. I reached back into my bag to grab it but I could not place my hand on the rolled up document. I opened it full open and peered into the bag’s content. I moved a few clothing articles but only saw the baggage bottom. Did I not return it into the bag before I left to come here?
Yes, I remembered seeing it earlier today upon waking but now -? It was at that moment that I glanced at a small corner of parchment by my bedding.
I reached for it and pulled a blank form with only a few letters visible yet still –not enough to make anything intelligible. I was aghast. What happened? How could it have happened?

Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter V

Thomas Josiah Chappelle

Oxford, United States

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Chapter Five of the "saga’ of the ’Sandals of the Nazarene

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