Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter VII

“I can only imagine your torment, Janus, as well as your need to resolve these matters in your mind and heart. These events are staggering and would perplex any man. I imagine that the Jews themselves do not know how to handle this radical Nazarine ‘sect’. You and I are on the ‘outside’ looking ‘in’ to a way of thinking and a way of life these people have been living for hundreds of years.”
“Sir, You are an officer in the Roman Emperial Guard. I can only imagine that you were schooled and pruned early for this career. You know of the ‘gods’ of Rome, how even Caesar is proclaimed a god. What is it about this ‘God of the Jews’ that made you become partial to Him? Surely you know the risks!”
“Aww, Janus, that I do!” Cornelius replied. “I do not take these risks, lightly, for one in my position. My men are loyal to me and many have acknowledged at least a mental assent to the words spoken by the Galilean fisherman, this Jesus’ apostle. As for me and my household, we have been in this land for eight years. In order to keep the peace of Rome in this area, I have developed, you may say, a novel ploy. I have taken the tax money collected and reinvested into the lives of these people as well as some of my own wealth. The Jews here have learned of this and we have come to ‘a meeting of our ways. Thy synagogue leader meets me at the fountain and tells me of some of the plights of individuals and families who are struggling because of taxes imposed upon them or other debts. I have my administrator make special arrangements with them to pay off their debts or in some cases, dismiss them – only in extreme cases. In return, I have the communities appreciation and Rome’s seal of approval for keeping ‘peace’. It is left to them to believe I have secured peace by just applying an ‘iron hand’ upon these ‘brigands’ alone.

“I have heard of the great healing works of Jesus, the Christ before this week. I had been living near Capernaum, when a servant of my household became very ill. I sent messengers, Jewish elders, to Jesus, asking for His mercy – that He may heal my servant. I knew that I being a Roman and Gentile; it would be unacceptable to approach him. I had my messengers plea with Jesus just to ‘speak a word of healing’ regarding this servant. I had Mateus meet Jesus on the way and report to the Master, saying that I was unworthy for Him to enter my home; I believed that He being a Teacher, I could rely on His authority to speak and permit my servant, Stephanus, to be healed. Mateus had been gone for some time but Stephanus recovered the very hour that Jesus spoke.1”

“That incident of placing that trust in the Lord caused me little hesitation to go and search out the fisherman, when the angel instructed to do so."

“So you have known of thi- the Messiah
Of the Jews for some time.?” I mused.
“Not quite by that title or role –but of Him, yes-s, and thankfully so. Janus, I know I have your confidence for you are a seeker as I am. Natural prejudice would preclude and dismiss giving ear to such voices as we have head in this land and yet – If I had been posted in Alexandria, I would have had access to the great library there to learn of the scribes gone before us of many things – to compare philosophies. I don’t know if I would have been captivated by any of them though as I am regarding the stark realities that I have faced here – in Palestine. In any annals of the Greek and Romans which I have studied, there is no one , not even Plato, Aristotle, that spoke like the Nazarene of whom you carry his sandals. You have an item that will in its time, rot and deteriorate but His words never will –that is why I must and do risk my own station and life. There is naught on Mount Olympus and if they were, they are just a bunch of petty beings who have no power or authority to affect my life. I believe that the God that Jesus revealed is the very one true deity and we have no need to seek another – not even”, Cornelius looked about cautiously for eavesdroppers; “the Caesar. “

“These are weighty words you speak, sire ,” I cautioned.
“Some would accuse me of treason but I serve Rome, my country land and though I revere the Emperor and Senate, they are men such as you and I – who piss, crap and die. Julius Caesar proved his mortality as perhaps others will fall, betrayed by their fellows. It is the nature of men who seek ‘divine places’ for their own purposes.”

“Sire, you speak as a sage, perhaps with the authority and widom as the revered rabbi.”
“Perhaps it is because of the Holy Spirit that teaches me .” Cornelius proffered. “Come, I must introduce you to the troops and find you the vestments of your rank, soldier.”

Sandals of the Nazarene Chapter VII

Thomas Josiah Chappelle

Oxford, United States

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Chapter Seven of the countinuing story Sandals of the Nazarene

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  • Estelle O'Brien
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