Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter VI

I returned quickly to the alcove as not to keep the Centurion waiting. Regardless, in whatever sphere, Cornelius commanded regard and respect. His servants and soldiers moved quickly at his obeisance and followed his instructions to the ‘letter’.
“I apologize for my delay but I discovered that one item that I wanted to show you has been damaged beyond legibility.” I stated.
“At ease. What is it that you have to show me?” Cornelius questioned.
First, I handed my damaged scroll. “It is my release from the garrison at Antonia –Jerusalem.
“This will not do, soldier. Did you not think to place it in an oil skin to protect it from damage!? It is a very important document!”

When I went to retrieve it in my baggage, I did not find it there but outside near my bedding –unscrolled.” I answered.
“You are suggesting that it has been tampered with?”
“Possibly, Sir. I have had no need of handling it until bringing it to you. “ I rejoined.
“It gives me no choice but to reinstate you with full rank of a sub commander in my battalion. Cornelius stated.
“Janus, you do not do well to be found a man with no means in this country. How will you keep yourself? Are you a skilled tradesman or a tinkerer? Do you think these people would do business with you even if you were?”
“I am in your debt, Sir! I will do well in serving you.”
“Yes, you shall. Now, what is this other item of interest in your story, soldier?”
“These, Sir!” I took the sandals out from underneath my outer tunic and handed them to him. “As you can see, Sir, they bear the markings of gear worn by the local inhabitants. They are not remarkable except for the fact they were worn by the fisherman’s ‘rabboni’.
As Cornelius reached for them and turned them in his large hands, he looked at me and stated plainly. “So you were there.”
“Yes Sir. I was there. I took part in placing this -our Jesus – on the timbers and placing them upright. I w-watched him die.” It was then that I found myself breaking into an uncontrollable sob. “I-I didn’t know, Sir , at that time who He r-realll-y was then. To be plain, Sir, it didn’t make sense then – and I d-don’t b-believe it m-makes much sense even now.”
“I’ll warrant that, soldier. Tell me more of your report. Leave nothing out.” Cornelius ordered.
I gave him my account in every detail that I could recall from the time we mocked Jesus; placing a crown of thorns upon his head, replete with a purple cloak. I told how even during the time my captain thrashed him with the crop, Jesus did not retaliate with words or thwarted actions –even the look of pity on His face. This pity was not in regard to himself – but directed to us! I told of him of our march to Golgotha –what all that had occurred there –his early demise and the rich man that had come to ask for the body. I then reported of our watch at the tomb – how we thought this was much unwarranted due to the fear that his followers had of their own lives being in peril. Finally I reported of the strange and awesome light and earth tremors –the opened tomb that lay bare before us save the garments used in his burial that was laid aside. I spoke of our guard’s dismay – no hope for our own lives. I then spoke how I was released from service so as to not bring shame on the whole of the fortress guard there and hushed-hush – not to speak to anyone of these matters.
“These matters must torment your soul.” Cornelius proffered after a long pause of silence that followed the completion of my report.
“Aye, that they do, Sir. My mind has not but in anguish after these events.”
I told him how I scrounged about and kept to myself during the ensuing months. How I made my way up to Caesarea and had been contemplated on taking passage –to anywhere but here. I recounted hearing at the market about hearing how, he, Cornelius was receiving a Jewish fisherman at his home – one that had been with Jesus.

Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter VI

Thomas Josiah Chappelle

Oxford, United States

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Chapter Six…. continuing the story

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  • EAWilliams
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