Ethel's Writing's









A Novel by Ethel (Hiday) Wicksey

ISBN 978-0-9809182-1-2


Dedicated to my Mother,

Winnie Tulloch

A Godly Woman

Her Children Arise up


Call Her Blessed

Proverbs 31:28 b



I want to give thanks to my Daughter Jane Hiday who listened to the novel and checked the story over for mistakes while I was writing it.

My daughter Sandy Hiday, I love the mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top that you would bring me when I was tired.

I would also like to thank my sisters Barb and Kathy who read and corrected the mistakes they found.

Thank you to all the Bible study leaders who instilled the love of the Scriptures in me. Thank you, my friends, at IMAGINATION ink and the Kent Writers Guild who supported me.

Thank you, Patricia Blonde for your encouragement and doing the final edit for me.

© Ethel Hiday Wicksey

January 30 2018



Caiaphas looks at Annas his father-in-law and says, “We are responsible for shedding the innocent blood of Jesus Christ, our promised Messiah.”


The next day Annas hears the bells on the hem of Caiaphas High Priestly robe ring, as they brush across the stone floor.

With a loud voice Caiaphas says, “I have personally chosen you to come here today because you are trustworthy. The temple veil was torn yesterday and the Holy of Holies ransacked. Do not tell anyone about the torn veil, or what we say here today. If you do the Temple Guards will personally hunt you down, and kill you.”

Follow the adventures of two brothers, who are priests in the temple in Jerusalem. One was in the temple when God tore the veil while his brother stood on the hill and saw Jesus being nailed to the Roman cross at Golgotha

The brothers have proof of what really happened in the temple that day.

The High Priest Caiaphas, plans to have them killed. The brothers run for their lives, so they can tell Jesus disciples, the truth about, “The Biggest Cover-up, of The Torn Veil.”

A Note to the Reader

The story in this book is about the death and resurrection of Jesus. The temple guards arrested many followers of Jesus. Some of them had to flee for their lives and go into hiding. Several dead people left their open graves and walked the streets of Jerusalem.

The careful study of scripture and reference books supports the fictionalization of this story. To create authentic speech, I paraphrased the words of the biblical characters in the novel. I directly quoted from, The New King James Bible, and the King James Bible and the New American Standard Bible®, when the people in the novel are reading or reciting scripture passages.

Ariel-Ardon, Iram-Irad, Jorah-Jorim, Leah, and Ravid are fictional characters along with several others.

You will recognize people from the Bible like Nicodemus, Simon the Leper, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

I encourage you to research the events in the Bible.

Some of the scripture references for the Biggest Cover-up come from,

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts.

Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, talks about the promised Messiah.”

Leviticus 21:10, talks about the High Priest and how they should not tear their clothes.

Matthew 26:65, says, The High Priest Caiaphas tore his robe.

Luke 8:3, Luke 24:10, Joanna, wife of Chuza



Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest takes several deep breaths to calm his racing heart. He removes a sweat-soaked cloth from his pouch and wipes his face. He is still in shock when he thinks about what he did the day before.

He talks to Hilbert the temple guard before entering the Holy Place.

It takes a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the dimly lit room. ‘I wish yesterday had never happened. If only it was a bad dream.’

Caiaphas hesitates then slowly walks across the room to the torn veil. He trembles when he sees the jagged threads hanging from the acacia pole, sixty feet above him.

Nothing had changed, it was not a bad dream, the veil is still torn in half from top to bottom.

He reaches down fingering the rough seam of his blue wool robe where his wife had sewn the tear back together the day before.

‘I was with the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin, as they requested testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but they found none. Some people bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.

‘Then a few men stood and bore false witness against Jesus, saying, “We heard him say, I am going to tear down this Temple, built by hard labor, and in three days build another without lifting a hand.” But still, their testimonies did not agree.

‘Then I stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Do You answer nothing? What is it which these men testify against You?” but He kept silent and answered nothing.

‘I asked Jesus another question, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of God?”’

‘Jesus answered, “Yes, I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”’

‘When I heard this, I tore my clothes in anger. I knew it was wrong to tear my robe. It says in Leviticus, “The High Priest who has been anointed, with oil poured on his head and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments, must not let his hair become unkempt, or tear his clothes.

‘I said, why do we need to have any further witnesses? You have heard these insults to God. What do you think we should do?’

‘They shouted, “Crucify Him.” Everyone agreed with me, that Jesus was guilty and must be killed. The governor’s soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spat on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head several times. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. When they were finished, they led him away to crucify him.’



The Biggest Cover-up

of the Torn Veil

‘I must hurry if I am going to offer the incense up to God before my father-in-law Annas arrives.’

Caiaphas had arranged the night before, to replace the priest whose turn it was to do this. He planned that only those who he could trust would be allowed to enter the holy sanctuary.

He hesitated, then slowly walked over to the golden altar of incense. He set the glowing fire pan full of hot coals from the bronze sacrificial altar on the floor.

He scraped the smoldering ashes from the altar into a large container, then using tongs, he picked up several hot coals and placed them in the middle of the altar. He sprinkled some of the pure frankincense, mixed with other sacred fragrances over them.

A whiff of smoke sent a sweet-smelling aroma, which represented the prayers of the Hebrew people towards heaven. The Holy Room filled with a sweet fragrance.

There were no windows to let the outside light into the Holy Place. The glorious golden lampstand lit the room. Caiaphas walked over to where it sat on a golden table. He traced the workmanship with his fingertips. It had a central shaft from which three branches extend from each side, forming seven branches. Seven lamps holding olive oil and wicks were on top of it. Each one looked like that of an almond tree, having buds, blossoms, and flowers. The priests kept the lamps burning continuously.

Caiaphas used the golden wick trimmer, then filled the oil chamber with pure pressed olive oil. When he finished, the bright flickering light from the lampstand filled the room, causing shadows to bounce from the walls. ‘Good, the room will be full of light when Annas arrives.’

It is hard for him to avoid staring at the torn veil. His heart quakes with fear as he walks across to the table of showbread. His hands tremble as he picks up a baked loaf of flat-bread. He breathes in the aroma of wheat and honey. It helped to calm his nervous tension.

My father had taught me that the showbread symbolized the continual presence of the Lord. He said, ‘It is a presence more vital than one’s daily bread, and is to remind the people of their dependence on God’s provision, for their spiritual and physical needs.’

Caiaphas puts the round bread back on the table beside the other eleven loaves. Each loaf stood for one of the twelve tribes of Israel.


Caiaphas had discovered something the night before, that would shock his co-conspirator, Annas. The two of them had plotted for months with the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin in the Jewish High Court, for ways to get rid of the troublemaker Jesus.

He rubs his tired eyes. He had spent the night scanning through the sacred scrolls, and reading what the Prophet Isaiah wrote about the promised Messiah, being born of a virgin in Bethlehem.

Some of King David’s writings from the Psalms told how they would cast lots, to divide up his clothes, and that the wicked would pierce his hands and feet.

‘I watched as the Roman soldiers cast lots, to divide up Jesus clothes. After they were through fighting over his cloak, they lay Him on a cross and hammered nails through his hands and feet.’

Caiaphas thinks back to his childhood. ‘If only I had listened to my father when he told me to spend more time reading God’s word from the Torah. I would have known the truth. The truth has always been there for me to read.

‘I shrugged my shoulders at everything he tried to teach me. It is clear to me now who Jesus was. It is too late, nothing I can do will change what happened yesterday. Jesus our promised Messiah is dead.

‘I must stop the people from finding out what really happened. I know that God tore the veil. The truth needs to be covered up. If we don’t, my life will be in danger.’

While Caiaphas waits for Annas to arrive, he thinks about the many times that Jesus had disobeyed the leaders of Israel.

‘I was there the day that Jesus single-handedly cleared out the temple courts. He was like a mad man, as he went about turning over the tables and spilling the money on the ground. I was powerless to stop Him.

‘Jesus upset me when he said, “You are a son of hell.” He even accused me of being a hypocrite. I had no choice. I had to get rid of Him. How could I stand and face the people after Jesus tongue-lashed me?

‘I stood beside Annas and watched as the Roman soldiers crucified Jesus. We heard as He cried out in a loud voice and said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

‘We were satisfied. It was over. A soldier pierced Jesus with a spear, causing blood and water to run down His side and mingle with the earth. Everything had happened, according to our well-plotted plan; Jesus was dead.

‘Annas and I turned our backs on the crucified mangled body of Jesus and walked back towards the temple. I said, ‘Annas, our plans succeeded; Jesus will not bother us anymore. He is dead and his so-called father god could not save him’

‘How wrong I was! The words that I spoke yesterday as I walked back to the temple, have returned to haunt me.’


Caiaphas hears a familiar voice talking to the guard. ‘Good, Annas has arrived.’ He turns to view the doorway. ‘What will Annas say when he sees the torn veil?’

“You called for me Caiap—” Annas stops when he sees the woven veil. He is speechless.

Caiaphas smiles as he watches his father-in-law’s face turn white. He never liked the man but had to be careful not to show it.

Annas stood in the doorway trembling.

Caiaphas goes over and stands beside Annas. He puts his hand firmly on his shoulder. He looks him in the eye, and with a trembling voice says, “Annas, I spent the night reading the words from Isiah and the Psalms, where they talk about our Messiah. We shed the innocent blood of Jesus, our promised Messiah, yesterday.”

His father-in-law Annas takes a deep breath and says, “Did I hear you right Caiaphas? Did you say that we are guilty of shedding the innocent blood of our promised Messiah?”

“Yes Annas, that is what I said. Jesus is our promised Messiah and He is dead! We arranged for His death. We must cover-up the truth because our lives will be in danger if the Jews find out what we did.”


Caiaphas and Annas think about what took place in the past few days, as they pace the floor of the inner room.

Caiaphas reaches down and touches his robe where he had ripped it in half the day before. He interrupts the silence. “Annas, God tore the veil from top to bottom. It happened at the same time Jesus died on the cross. I have a witness who said he was here when it happened.”

“Who is your witness?”

“He is a young priest called Iram. He told me that when he finished trimming the wicks of the golden lampstand, he heard the shofar blow, announcing the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. It was at the ninth hour, at the very same time that we saw the death of Jesus.

“Iram told me that there was a loud noise. He looked up to see what was happening, and saw the veil being torn from top to bottom.”

“Do you believe him Caiaphas?”

He uses his cloth to wipe his brow before answering. “Yes, I do. I talked with Shawn the temple guard at the door. He said that Iram was the only priest that came in, or left the Holy Place. We both know that there is no other way in or out of the Room.”

“Can we trust Iram not to tell anyone about what happened?”

“I took care of the situation!” Caiaphas smiles as he pulls his dagger from out of its sheaf. He shows it to Annas. “I told Iram that this dagger is not only used for killing sacrificial lambs. He understood what I meant. I described what would happen to his mother and sisters if he said anything.”

Caiaphas points the dagger at Annas. “I arranged for some of my personal guards to follow Iram and watch his house all night. I gave them orders to kill our only witness and his family, after the meeting we are having with the priests today. I do not want to leave any loose ends.”


His lips curl up in an ugly smile, as he carefully wipes his sacred dagger with the sweat-soaked cloth, before putting it back into its sheaf.

Walking over to the torn veil, Caiaphas motions for Annas to follow him. They stare at the embroidered blue, purple and scarlet wool and fine twined linen. The men examine the delicate weaving. It has figures of winged cherubim worked into its design.

Inspecting the beautiful decorative veil, they feel the thickness of the heavy woven material and examine the long threads that dangle from the acacia wooden pole, that is sixty feet above them.

“Take a closer look at the veil Annas. Only the power of God could tear it from top to bottom. See how tall and thick it is.”

“I agree with you Caiaphas. It would be impossible for any human to cut the thick veil from top to bottom.”

They gaze into the empty Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was still missing. It had not been found since it disappeared, at the time the Babylonians looted Jerusalem in 587 BC.

Annas says, “Anyone can look through the open veil into the Holy of Holies and see the truth. The room has been empty, for over five hundred years.”


Caiaphas reaches out his hand to steady Annas and prevents him from fainting. He pulls out a flask of wine and gives it to him. “Take a sip; it will help calm you. We both have had a shock.”

Annas takes a deep swallow and chokes. With much turmoil, He thinks about what had taken place in the last few days.

“Our lives will never be the same.” Caiaphas notices Annas’s flushed face. He continues speaking, “Only God knows what will happen in the future. The priests that I have sent for will be here soon. We need to talk about the plans I have before they arrive.

“We must act fast if we want to prevent the people from finding out that the veil was torn.”

“How are we going to do that Caiaphas?”

“It is important that we stop any information about the Holy Veil being torn from leaving this room. We must be the only ones who know the truth. God tore the veil in half. We are responsible for having Jesus our promised Messiah, executed on a Roman cross!”

“I agree with you Caiaphas. If the Jews learn the truth of who Jesus truly is, and that we were behind the plot to turn Jesus over to Pilate, so that the Roman soldiers would execute him, our lives will be in danger.”

“Be careful what you say, Annas.”

“What will you tell the priests after they see the torn veil?”

“I have sat up all night thinking about it and come up with a plan that should work. You need to agree with everything I say. We must cover-up the truth about the torn veil at all cost.”

“I will help you Caiaphas.”


Caiaphas Lies

The next morning several priests, who Caiaphas had sent for, enter the Holy Place. They stop with disbelief and stare at the torn veil in front of them. All but one stands in shock.

They cannot help but fix their eyes on the veil, and it soon becomes the focus of their conversation. Some of the braver priests walk over and look at the jagged tear and feel the material.

They can see through the torn veil into the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant is missing, along with the pure gold cherubim guarding the mercy seat. Nothing had prepared them for this. Who took the Ark of the Covenant away?

Their teachers taught them, that only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. He would stand before the Ark of God and offer a prayer for all the people.

In the Torah, it says, ‘If you touched the Ark of the Covenant, you would die.’ When King David was returning the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark. The Lord’s anger burned against him because of his irreverent act. God struck him down and he died.


The priests whisper in small groups, “How did the veil tear? Why was the veil cut? Where was the Ark of the Covenant? What is this all about?

Caiaphas folds the material of his blue robe so that the darned rip does not show. He walks across the room to address the priest. The bells on the hem of his priestly robe ring, as they brush across the stone floor. The room becomes silent.

Most of the young priests have never been that close to Caiaphas before. His priestly garments are made with white linen that is weaved with gold, scarlet, blue and purple wool. It is the same colour as the torn veil.

On the shoulders of his woven apron, rested two jewels, each engraved with the names of the six tribes of Israel. A breastplate worn over it had twelve precious stones. They have been arranged in four rows of three and engraved with each of the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The breastplate is connected to the belt of the apron, and fastened with blue straps and gold chains.

He had wound a long-woven belt several times over his tunic, near his heart. A gold plate engraved with the words, “Holy to God,” is worn over the flat turban on his head.


Caiaphas looks at the priests to see if there is any fear. Iram gazes back at him and does not blink.

The High Priest hesitates, calms himself and when he is ready tells them, “I have personally selected you to come this morning. I know you will obey my orders because you are trustworthy. If you speak to anyone about what I am going to tell you, I will arrange for the Temple Guards to kill you, along with your family.”

He continues, “You will be the only priests that will have access to the Holy Room at the temple from now on.

“We have two witnesses that said they saw several followers of Jesus leave the temple after he was crucified on the cross. When they told me about the followers of Jesus being here, I came to the temple and saw what they did. They used a sword and cut the veil down the center, exposing the Holy of Holies.”


Caiaphas pauses to catch his breath, then looks at the priests standing in front of him. “All the information that I told you about the veil being torn, must stay within the walls of this room. I have several Temple Guards patrolling the streets of Jerusalem, looking for the guilty followers of Jesus.” He looks at Iram and says, “They will be caught and punished.”


He pulls out a bag with thirty pieces of silver, the same amount that Judas had thrown at his feet the day before. He gives a nail and hammer, along with the bag of silver coins to the priest who is standing closest to him. He whispers something in his ear, then says so everyone can hear, “Iram, I want you to hammer a hole through the top of these coins with this nail.”

Iram reaches out a steady hand and takes the hammer and bag with the coins. He knows that Caiaphas is lying. He listens to the other lies that this wicked man says.

“You are to put a thread from the torn veil through the hole and hang the silver coin around your neck. Guards will stand at the entrance. You must show them the silver coin with a hole punched through it, when you enter this room. Only the priests I have chosen can burn the incense, replace the showbread and trim the wicks in the lamp-stand from now on.”


Caiaphas pulls his sharp dagger out of its sheaf and hands it to another priest. “Ariel, I want you to cut thirty heavy threads from the veil and bring them to me.”

Ariel reaches for the dagger. He goes and stands beside the veil. His fingers tingle with a strange surge of power when he grasps some strands of the frayed wool in his hand. He takes time to examine the threads of scarlet, blue, purple and white. He notices that the veil is as thick as his hand. The workers had used several kinds of material to weave it.

No human could have cut the heavy veil from top to bottom. Ariel starts to shake. ‘If a human did not cut the veil; then who did?’

He hears a whisper from behind the veil. Ariel glances into the Holy of Holies and sees that it is empty. The voice says, “Ariel come through the open veil. I Am, wants to talk with you.”

The voice continues to beckon him!

“Ariel…Ariel, come, enter through the veil so that we can talk!”

Looking around the room to see if anyone is listening, Ariel whispers, “I cannot come to You God. I am not worthy to be in Your presence.”

Ariel remembers his sister saying that she heard Jesus say, ‘Come unto me all who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest. He scolded her and said, “Never go and listen to Jesus again Ellen. If you do, I will tell our father.”

Ariel senses a strong pull and wants to enter through the open veil to be with God, but his heart is heavy from what he saw the day before. He does not have the courage, or the faith to enter the Holy of Holies. He prays, “God, please help me!”


The hammer hits a nail and punches a hole through another silver coin. The eerie echo bouncing off the walls, reminds Ariel, of the similar sound he had heard the day before.

He whispers, “God, I had to turn my head away and close my eyes as the soldiers hammered the nails through Jesus hands and feet.

“Jesus is dead. He looked up and said ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’, then Jesus hung His head and died. He forgave my sins. The sky turned an eerie black and the earth began to tremble.”

Ariel hangs his head in shame. “I am a temple priest. I approved of Jesus death. My brother and I joined the crowd that shouted, crucify Jesus, free Barabbas.”


The hammering stops. There is an uncanny silence in the room. Ariel the young priest trembles and his heart begins to quake within him. “Oh God, what have I done?” Several tears trickle down his cheek and he wipes them away with some strands of the torn veil. “Jesus, I am sorry for what I did to You. Forgive me. God give me the courage to do what You want me to do.”

Ariel cuts several handfuls of the torn veil, hides them away in his tunic, puts the dagger through his belt and quietly slips through the open door out of the Holy Room. The guard waves him on, as he steps away from the entranceway of the temple.


‘I know that God has forgiven me and will give me the courage to stand up for what is right. I must go and tell my friends the truth. With boldness, he declares, ‘I am willing to risk my life and tell everyone about the biggest cover-up of the torn veil.’

Ariel starts down the path that leads to his home in Jerusalem, then ducks behind a pillar into the shadows. He backtracks to the other side of the temple and waits. He hears footsteps coming. ‘Have they missed me already?’

Pulling out the dagger, he looks between the pillars. With a sigh of relief, he returns the dagger to his belt. He puts his hand over a man’s mouth to stop him from screaming and pulls him behind the pillar.

Ariel says to his prisoner, “Iram, what took you so long?” He removes his hand and the brother’s embrace.

Iram smiles at his brother. “Thank you for trusting me, Ariel.”


The words are no sooner out of Iram’s mouth before they hear a commotion coming from the temple.

He hears someone talking to the guard, “Hilbert, did you see two young priests leave the holy room?”


“Which way did they go?”

“They went down the path towards the city of Jerusalem.”



A Place to Hide

“Run.” Iram grabs his younger brother’s arm as they keep in the shadows. They are both out of breath when they reach the sheep gate of the temple.

“We need to rest.” Iram gives his wine-skin to his brother. “Take a sip. We should go to the Pool of Bethesda, near the stone wall that encloses the sheep.”

They take cover behind the wall and talk. The area is familiar to them because they had gone there several times in the past, to get the sacrificial lambs for the temple.


“We have no time to talk now Ariel. Our life is in danger. We can hide in the olive grove until it gets dark. I hope you can still climb trees.”

Ariel agrees with a nod and a grim smile. They stay in the shadows of the rocks and trees, as they gradually work their way up the well-worn path that leads to the Mount of Olives.

The earthquake the day before had caused some large boulders to roll down the hill. Several rockslides block their progress and slow them down. After a few detours, they end up on a crooked path that passes by the tombs in the graveyard.


They see a young man walking towards them.

Iram whispers, “He looks familiar; he looks like our cousin Jorah.”

Ariel shakes his head, “It can’t be Jorah because he is dead. Remember, we were at his funeral three years ago.”

Iram exclaims with disbelief, “It is Jorah!”

The brothers stand with their feet frozen to the ground, as they gaze at their dead cousin walking down the hill towards them.

When Jorah recognizes his cousins, he runs to them with outstretched arms, “Iram, Ariel! I am glad to see you!”

Iram examines his cousin’s body. It cannot be Jorah because he is standing on two legs, He tells him, “If you are Jorah, I am not sure that I am glad to see you.”

“Yes, I am your cousin Jorah. Jesus came to see me yesterday. He opened my grave and now I am alive.”

Ariel and Iram stand looking at their cousin with their mouth wide open.

Ariel says, “We were at your funeral three years ago Jorah, and saw you buried. You were dead. I do not believe that you came out of your grave and are alive.”

“Yes, I am alive, Jesus raised me from the dead.”

Iram tells him, “We do not have time to talk. We must find a safe place to hide! The High Priests and temple guards are searching for us.”

Jorah says, “I know somewhere that we will be safe.” My brother and I hid there when we were young. Come with me,” He starts walking up the hill.

The brothers follow him through the graveyard stumbling over loose rocks. They relax when they reach the cover of the olive grove.

Picking up two small bushes, Jorah says, “Take these and erase our footsteps, so that the guards can’t track us.”

Ariel and Iram erase their footprints as they follow their cousin to the far side of the olive grove. Jorah stands in front of a majestic, mangled, old olive tree, then disappears behind a large shrub that is growing at the bottom of it. They crawl into a hole in the ground. There is a hollow beneath the roots big enough to provide them shelter.

“My brother and I were young boys when we played here. Sorry, the space is smaller than I remember.” Jorah sits down and leans his back against one of the roots.

Ariel sits on the ground across from him and looks around the shelter. The light from the sun filters in through the twisted roots. He tries to stretch out his legs to get comfortable, but there is no room.

He still has a difficult time believing that the young man sitting across from him is his cousin Jorah. People do not come back to life. ‘What is going on?

‘How did Jesus raise him from the dead? I watched as the Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross and saw them pierce his lifeless body with a sword.’

With an anxious voice, Ariel asks, “What happened to you Jorah? You were dead the last time I saw you. The doctor cut off one of your legs because it was full of infection. Now you have two legs.”

Jorah replies, “I am still puzzled by what happened to me. I came back to life yesterday. I was standing in the graveyard, along with several hundred men, women, and children. Our graves were opened and we were completely healed, with a new healthy body.”


‘How is someone raised from the dead?’ Iram sits and ponders about what has taken place. He says, “You were dead for three years Jorah. “What are you planning to do now that you are alive?”

“I tried going home, but someone I didn’t recognize answered the door. They said, ‘We bought the house.’ Strangers are living in my house.”

“Jorah, your parents moved to a farm near Joppa, the year after you died.”


The brothers speak about what happened at the temple. Ariel reaches into his tunic and removes a handful of the cut veil. He tells Jorah about the torn veil and how Caiaphas lied about it. Iram shows him the nail and the silver coins with holes punched through them.

“Iram and I will tell you everything later. It is necessary for us to make some plans.

“We need to replace our temple robes, cut our hair and shave our beards so that no one will recognize us. We cannot go into the city to find new clothes. The High Priests and temple guards are looking for us.

“The three of us all need to find some new official documents saying who we are, or we could get caught.”

Jorah says, “All I have are the clothes on my back and these new sandals.”

The space is small and Ariel’s legs start to cramp. He stretches them, before saying, “We will need food and some other supplies. Do you have any ideas Jorah?”

“I can get everything for us. No one will recognize me in Jerusalem, remember, I am a walking dead man.”

“That is a clever idea Jorah.” Iram reaches into his tunic and pulls out a pouch. I need you to get a package from our friend Rufus, the sandal maker. I also have a message for him. Do you know where his shop is?”

“Yes, our family bought all our sandals from him.”

Iram takes a piece of parchment out of his pouch and removes an ink bottle and quill. “It is lucky that I came prepared.”


Using the light that is filtering in through the roots of the tree, Iram writes a message to Rufus telling him about what happened at the temple. He blows on the ink. When it is dry, he folds the parchment paper in half and puts it into a pouch. He asks his brother for several strands of the torn veil. He pulls the colourful threads through a silver coin, ties a knot and adds them to the pouch.

He tells Jorah, “When you get to Rufus’ shop, go to his back door and ask if Rufus is there? Tell him that you have come to pick up the black and brown sandals. He will have an important package for you.

“Rufus the sandal maker is my father’s uncle, and a most trusted friend. Like our family, he is a priest of the division of Abijah. Ariel and I spent many hours at his house, while he taught us how to read the Torah and prepare to become priests.

“Give him this pouch. I wrote him a letter about God tearing the veil at the temple, and that Caiaphas is telling a lie. The followers of Jesus did not damage the temple. Please be careful.”



A Dead Man Comes Calling

Jorah starts a conversation with another traveler and walks with his family as they near the city. He is clean-shaven, so the guards do not question him when he passes through the entranceway into Jerusalem.

He listens to the people talking. They say the temple guards are searching everywhere for the priests Ariel and Iram, who are the followers of Jesus, who vandalized the Holy temple of God.


He hides in the shadows as he gets closer to Ariel and Iram’s home. The temple guards have the place surrounded. He keeps his distance and continues walking.

There is a commotion up ahead. Jorah crouches down behind a hedge and hides. The soldiers drag two young boys and a man out of the front door of a home.

One of the temple guards says to the man as he hits him, “Obil, we know you are a friend of Iram and Ariel’s family. Tell us where they are hiding and we will let your family go. If you do not tell us, I will have your sons killed in front of you.”

The father falls to the ground weeping. He begs, “Let my boys go. I am telling you the truth. Iram and Ariel never came home today. I do not know where they are.”

“You lie! You know where they are.” The guard motions to some soldiers. They take their swords and pierce the hearts of the two small boys.

Jorah holds his breath and tries not to scream, as the boys fall to the ground in front of him. He bites his tongue to prevent himself from shouting. Tears flow down his face and drop to the ground. ‘I have no weapons and it is important that the guards do not find me, or my blood will flow in the dust beside those boys. God be with their family.’

He does not stay around to find out what happened to the rest of the family. His heart is heavy because of the inhumane cruelty he saw.


He stays off the road and takes cover in an orchard, as he walks to the next street. After a few more blocks, he stops and hides to see if anyone is following him.

The way is clear, so he turns down a small alley and knocks on the back door of the sandal maker.

A man comes to the door.

Jorah follows Iram’s instructions and asks, “Is Rufus here?”

“I am Rufus.

“I have come to pick up the black and brown sandals?”

“What do you want with the sandals?”

Looking around the street and seeing nobody in sight, Jorah whispers, “Iram sent me to get them.”

The man grabs Jorah firmly by the arm and takes him through his house into the back workshop. “Are Ariel and Iram safe?”

“Yes, they told me to tell you that they escaped.”

“Good, I have been praying for them.”

Jorah gives a pouch to Rufus. “Iram sent you a message. He told me you would know what to do.”

Rufus opens the pouch and pulls out a folded piece of parchment. After reading it, he makes it into a ball. He opens the paper and reads the message again? He removes the silver coin and colourful threads from the torn veil. He holds the white, scarlet, blue and purple strands up to the light. He is at a loss for words.

“Iram told me to tell you not to believe the rumors you will hear. Caiaphas is spreading lies and saying that the followers of Jesus damaged the holy room at the temple.”

“I believe you. Ariel and Iram have always tried to be righteous, and follow the commandments of God.”

Rufus puts the parchment back into the pouch, then wraps the cord with the coin around his waist, under his tunic. He ties a solid knot, so he will not lose it.

“Iram said to tell you that he overheard the temple guards talking yesterday. Caiaphas had told them to kill him and his family today. That is why his family had to go into hiding.

“He told me that you and your family are followers of Jesus. He wants you to go tell them the truth of what really happened at the temple.”

Turning to his guest Rufus asks, “What did you say your name is?”

“My name is Jorah.”


Rufus’ wife comes in with a tray of refreshments and sets it on the table. He pours two tall goblets of wine and hands one to Jorah. “Help yourself.”

After taking a refreshing sip of wine and a bite from a piece of Passover bread, Jorah says, “This is delicious. I haven’t eaten for three years.”

Rufus chokes on a mouthful of wine. After regaining his composure, He asks, “What do you mean you haven’t eaten for three years?”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you, I am Ariel and Iram’s dead cousin. God raised me from the dead yesterday. I died three years ago!”

What is happening? Rufus examines Jorah’s leg, “I thought you looked familiar. I remember the day you died. We all prayed for you to get well. We asked God to heal you, but you continued to get worse and the doctor had no choice, but to cut your leg off. You died, and now you are alive!”

“My leg was restored and I am in perfect health.”

“You are a miracle Jorah. Rumours have been spreading all around Jerusalem today. They are saying that hundreds of people came out of their graves yesterday after the soldiers crucified Jesus on the Roman cross. You are the second dead person that I have met. I wish we had more time to talk, but I know you are in a hurry. I will get the package for you.”


Rufus goes to the back wall, and removes a secret panel, then takes out a pouch. “Tell Iram and Ariel that their parents and siblings arrived at their destination and are safe. I know where they are hiding. Tell them that they are never to come here. You should come instead. I will keep them informed through you when I have any news.” He passes Jorah a small bundle.

“Thank you, I will tell them. I am going to a friend’s house to get some clothes and supplies. They will have to change their identity and shave off their beards.”


Rufus goes to a side table and starts to mix some tanning stains together. “Take this container of leather stain with you. Iram and Ariel will need to use it after they shave. Their face will be as white as a baby’s bottom, and a dead giveaway that they are the wanted priests.”

“Thank you for all your help Rufus.” Jorah drops the jar into his pouch and picks up the bundle before leaving through the back door. After checking to see if anyone is watching, he disappears into the shadows.


The young man thinks about what he is going to say to his friends, as he walks towards the other side of town. ‘I am supposed-to-be-dead! How will my girlfriend’s father receive me? Will he send me away? Will he believe me? Will he help me? What will Leah my beloved, the woman I planned to marry say when she sees me? Is she married?’

He stands in front of the familiar house for a few minutes. Jorah takes a deep breath to calm his nerves, then knocks. It is not every day that a dead man comes to your door.

A voice asks, “Who is there?”

“It is your friend Jorah.”

“It can’t be Jorah! He has been dead for three years.”

“It is Jorah. Look for yourself Nicodemus. I am alive.”

Nicodemus opens the door a crack and shuts it fast. “Are you a spirit?”

“No Nicodemus. God raised me from the dead yesterday when He opened the graves. I am alive and could do with a friend and some help.”


Nicodemus swings the door open, “Come in, hurry, it is not safe on the streets!” He shuts the door behind him and secures it with a heavy bar, then says, “The temple guards are looking for some followers of Jesus, who damaged the holy room at the temple.”

“I know them Nicodemus. They are my cousins, Ariel and Iram, the sons of my uncle Levi. I believed them when they told me that they did not damage the temple. Caiaphas has falsely accused them. They need a change of clothes, some food and a place to hide. Can you help them?”

“I can get you food and clothes Jorah, but it is not safe to hide here.

“Let me look at you first. You are in perfect health. The last time I saw you, you were lying dead in your bed. Now you have two legs.”

Looking around the once bustling room, Jorah asks, “Where is your family Nicodemus?”

“I sent them away during the night to stay with some distant relations. Our lives are in danger. Caiaphas the High Priest might find out soon that I am a secret follower of Jesus. We will have to hurry.”

Jorah says, “I met Jesus yesterday when He raised me from the dead. He told me He is the Son of God!”

“You say that you saw Jesus, Jorah! That is impossible. He died on the cross yesterday. I know, because I helped bury him.”

“Jesus raised me from the dead Nicodemus. One minute I was talking to him in heaven and then I was standing by my open grave. Jesus told me not to be afraid, that His Holy Spirit would guide and direct me in what I should do and say.”

“What can I do to help you Jorah?”

“My cousins Ariel and Iram are priests and their lives are in danger. The High Priests have sent the Temple Guards to search for them, because of what happened at the temple yesterday. They have proof that Caiaphas and Annas are lying and have planned the biggest cover-up of the torn veil. They want to tell the followers of Jesus about it.”

“I would like to meet your cousins. I never trusted Caiaphas or Annas. Caiaphas’ father is not a descendant of Aaron. The Roman leader Valerius Gratus, appointed him as High Priest. The Torah says that you must belong to the same family group as Aaron, to become a High Priest. Joseph of Arimathea and I went to Pilate yesterday and asked for Jesus’s body. If word gets back to Caiaphas or Annas about what we did, we will be as good as dead.”

“Are you saying that you helped remove Jesus’ body and buried it Nicodemus?”

“Yes, Jorah. They usually let the crucifixion victims hang on the cross for a few days. I did not want this to happen to Jesus.

“I had my servants carry several sacks containing a mixture of aloes and myrrh. Joseph of Arimathea and I took Jesus body from below the cross, wrapped it with spices and strips of white linen. We placed his body in a new tomb that belonged to my friend Joseph. It is in a lovely garden not too far from the place where they crucified Jesus. The soldiers rolled a heavy stone in front of His tomb.”

“What do you plan to do Nicodemus?”

“I will leave after dark and make my way to where my family is hiding. We will stay there until it is safe for us to go home. Let us eat while we talk. Your cousins will need to change their names. Let me think about it.” The men finish eating in silence.


“I have two good names for them. Ariel’s name will be Ardon, it means roaming. Iram’s new name is Irad, which means fugitive. I am a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin.

“I have everything I need including my official wax seal with me. You will need a document with a new name as well. Jorah, what would you like your new name to be?”

“You are the scholar Nicodemus, you choose.”

“How about Jorim, it means raised by God.”

“You still have your sense of humour Nicodemus. Roaming, fugitive and raised by God; sounds good to me.”

“Your new names have the first few letters that are in your old names so that it will not be as confusing to you and your friends.”


Nicodemus sits at a small table and pulls out three documents. He picks up his pen and writes, then puts a glob of warm wax beside his signature and presses an official government seal into it.

After the wax on the documents is cool enough, he wrinkles them up and rubs a bit of dirt into the new white parchment paper, to make it look old. He puts them into three animal skin covers to protect them and passes the documents to Jorah.

“This should take care of one of your problems. Welcome to my house Jorim.” He smiles then embraces his friend. “I will get you some food, clothes and other supplies to take with you. Your cousins are likely the same size as my sons.”


Jorah looks around the room while he waits for Nicodemus. ‘I wonder if Leah ever married.’ He thinks back to the eventful day that changed his life.

‘I finished building the room in my parents’ house. The women were in the kitchen preparing our wedding supper. My father came to help me put up the hooks for the wedding canopy, that would hang over the bed in the room that I built for Leah. The rung of the ladder snapped and pierced my leg, crushing the bone.

‘The wedding never took place. Before the week was over, the doctor had cut off my leg. I lay dead because of the infection, our friends attended my funeral instead of my wedding. How sad!’ Glancing over at a shelf on the wall, he sees a dove. Jorah picks it up and caresses the familiar piece of olive wood with his fingertips. It reminds him of his beloved Leah and of what could have been. ‘I remember carving this dove for Leah and giving it to her the day of our engagement.’ A few teardrops run down the wings of the dove and drop to the floor, disappearing in the dust. Jorah is still cradling the precious bird in his hands when Nicodemus returns with several sacks of supplies and wineskins.


“I see you found the dove. I am surprised Leah left it behind. She must have forgotten it with all the commotion last night. It has never been out of her sight since you died. Take it with you and you can give it to her when you see her.”

‘See her. When will I see her?’ Jorah did not have enough courage to ask Nicodemus if Leah had married. He sighs as he drops the dove into his pouch.

Nicodemus gives the sacks and wine-skins to Jorah. “This should help. Bring your cousins to meet me at the crooked tree, near the north gate outside Bethany, an hour before sunrise tomorrow. I have a plan. I will go to Bethany and see someone I trust, to help you and your cousins.



A New Identity

Another ant is crawling on Ariel’s leg. He starts to fidget and swats at it. “Iram, it is getting late and Jorah has not come back. What is taking Jorah so long? The sun is low in the sky, do you think the guards caught him?”

With a nervous laugh, Iram replies. “He must be visiting with Rufus and can’t get away. You know how he loves to talk. It is not every day that you have a dead man knocking on your door and dropping in for a visit.”

 “You have to admit that it was kind of eerie talking with someone who used to be dead. What is going on Iram what happened at the temple today? Why all the secrecy?”

“I couldn’t tell you anything until our family was safe. I went to the temple to trim the wicks of the golden lamp-stand yesterday. When I finished everything, I heard a noise and looked up. Something strange happened.”

“Tell me about it Iram, I am not going anywhere?”

“I saw the veil of the temple as it was torn in two.”

“Caiaphas told us that the followers of Jesus did it.”

Iram shakes his head. “No Ariel, Caiaphas lied! Jesus' disciples did not tear the veil. I stood in front of the Holy of Holies mesmerized with fear. I held my breath as I watched the veil rip from top to bottom. God tore the veil in half, while the priests were offering the evening sacrifice. I know the time because I heard the priest blow the Shofar.


“I was shaking so hard I didn’t know what to do. It was late in the afternoon when I finally found Caiaphas. I told him what I saw.

“He followed me to the Holy Place. After examining the veil, Caiaphas came over and looked me in the eye. I could see that his face had turned white under his black beard.”

Iram continues, “Caiaphas pulled out his sacrificial dagger and waved the razor-sharp blade inches from my throat.”

“Do you mean this dagger Iram?” Ariel removes the sacred dagger from his belt and hands it to his brother.

Iram jerks back in shock, “Where did you get this?”

“Caiaphas handed it to me this morning when he told me to cut the threads of the veil.”

His brother Iram reaches out his hand and holds the razor-sharp dagger.

“Caiaphas told me, ‘Your family will all be killed like a sacrificial lamb if you tell anyone that God tore the veil.’ He had a sinister look in his eyes, when he said, ‘I am the High Priest and will tell the real-truth about what happened to the veil. Keep your mouth shut if you know what is good for you Iram. Bring your brother Ariel to the Holy Room tomorrow and we will talk.’”


Ariel holds up a handful of the veil, “Did I hear you say that God tore this veil?”

“Yes Ariel, I saw it happen.”

“I believe you Iram. When I was cutting the veil, I kept hearing a voice whispering, ‘Ariel, come through the open veil and talk with me.’ God wanted me to enter through the veil and talk with Him. How could I go into the forbidden room, the Holy of Holies and talk with God?

“I cut several handfuls of threads from the torn veil, tucked them into my robe, fled out the door and waited for you.”

“I am glad you listened to me Ariel. If you had not left the temple as I told you, we would both be dead.

“Caiaphas had two guards follow me home last night. I overheard him telling them. ‘Kill Iram if he stops and talks to anyone. Make sure no one leaves his house. I will take care of the situation in the morning.’ I heard the swish of a knife as he cut it through the air. It sent shivers up and down my spine.”


Iram wipes his brow. “I stayed up all night helping our family pack. Zan our younger brother took a message and several packages to father’s friend Rufus. The guards out front did not see him. He entered the basement through the door in the house and left through the one hidden in the orchard. I am glad we helped our father built it. It saved our family’s life.”

“Do you mean to tell me that I slept through all the commotion?”

“Yes Ariel, you were always a heavy sleeper. The package contained a bundle of money and some important papers.”

“Where was everyone this morning when we headed for the temple Iram? The house was empty.”

“Our family left in the middle of the night through the basement. They will be staying with some of our distant relations, ones that the High Priests do not know about.

“Only Rufus will know where they are hiding. This way our family will be able to communicate with us.” He whispers, “Be quiet Ariel, I hear someone coming up the path.”

The brothers slow their breathing and try not to make a sound!


They hear the familiar voice of Hilbert the Temple Guard say, “Hand me the wine-skin Shawn, I am not getting any younger.”

The brothers sit and listen as Hilbert takes a sip of wine.

He says, “I need to sit on that rock and rest for a while.”

They hear the scraping of the guards’ armor as they sit on the rock that is in front of the twisted roots of the old olive tree. They can make out the outline of the two men through the roots.

Ariel tries not to make a noise, as he brushes another ant from his face. ‘It is lucky for us that Jorah had me erase our footprints, or the temple guards would have seen them.’


The brothers listen to what Hilbert is saying.

“Caiaphas and Annas are furious. They say that the priests Ariel and Iram are followers of Jesus. They did some damage to the Holy Room at the temple.”

Shawn says, “I was guarding the entrance way to the temple yesterday when this happened.”

Hilbert continues, “Annas told me that they stole the golden dagger; the one that belonged to the High Priest Aaron the brother of Moses.

“I was told by Caiaphas and Annas, that they must be killed at once when we find them. They do not want them spreading their lies.

“They also told me that a reward of fifty pieces of silver will be given to the person who kills them. I sure could use the money.”

After resting for a while, Hilbert stands up and says, “Shawn, we should try searching down by the tomb where they buried Jesus.”

The brothers feel relieved. They hear the boots of the temple guards clicking on the gravel as they walk away.


It is a while before Iram can speak. He is fuming. “Caiaphas is lying, God cut the veil from top to bottom.” He tries to stand and hits his head.

Ariel pulls the golden dagger out of his belt. He feels the detailed carvings and workmanship on the handle. “The guard said the dagger belonged to Aaron! I did not steal the dagger Iram. I slipped it into my belt and forgot it was there, after I cut the veil. I will return it to the temple someday.”

Iram looks out through the branches. He whispers. “I hope Jorah takes a different path, so he does not encounter the guards.”


They sit and think about what had happened to them, while they wait for Jorah to return.

The brush by the entranceway parts without a sound. Jorah craws into the hiding place. He whispers, “It is lucky for you that those temple guards do not know how to be quiet. I heard them coming, so I hid behind a big rock until they passed.”


He puts the packages on the ground in front of Iram and Ariel. “The two of you are in real danger. I would not want to be in your sandals for anything. I saw some soldiers kill two young boys because their father would not tell them where you are hiding.”

Iram asks, “Where did this happen?”

Jorah puts his hand on Iram’s shoulder. “It was on your street, about three houses north of where you live. I think they called the father, Obil.”

Iram catches his breath, “Not Obil… Obil and his sons are our friends.”

“I am sorry. I was afraid to stay and find out where they took Obil. If only I had a sword.


“The whole City of Jerusalem is in an uproar. Caiaphas the High Priest and Annas, are spreading lies about how the two of you are secret followers of Jesus. They say that you desecrated the Holy Temple of God and that you stole the dagger that belonged to Aaron.”

Iram whispers, “It is a lie. I would never—

Jorah interrupts his cousin, “It is lucky I know the difference, or the fifty pieces of silver that they are offering for your head, would be awfully tempting. It will be dark soon and we have a lot of work to do. Rufus gave me everything you need to change your identities.”

Jorah opens a pouch and asks, “Who wants to go first? You need to shave your beards and cut your hair.

“Come over here to where it is lighter Iram and I will help you.”

Ariel hands Jorah the sacred dagger. “Don’t cut my brother. This dagger is sharper than a razor.” He pours some water into a goblet from the wineskin. “This will be interesting,” he chuckles. How long since you saw your self Iram? What do you really look like under that bush growing out of your face?” He gives Jorah a bar of soap.

Iram sits back while Jorah cuts his beard and hair. It is hard on him. From as far back as he could remember, he looked forward to growing a beard, so he would be old enough to become a temple priest.


Jorah says, “Rufus told me that you might want to know what you look like when you are finished. He included this old mirror so that you could see yourself.” He holds the brass mirror in front of Iram, so he can see his face.

“I guess you are next Ariel.”

Iram watches as the identity of his brother emerges. He has a long narrow face with a cleft chin. When Jorah is through shaving him, there are a few nicks. The truth is, he had never shaved anyone in his life.

The brothers stared at each other without beards for the first time in years.

“Rufus is right when he said, your faces would be as white as a baby’s bottom after you shaved. Your skin is not weathered and will give you away.”

Reaching into his pouch, Jorah removes a small jar. He takes a piece of cloth, and dips it into the tan coloured leather dye, and wipes it on the men’s white faces and arms. “That is better. Your own mother will not recognize you now.”


“I have some official papers for us. My friend Nicodemus used the first two letters in our names so that it would not be so confusing.” He hands Ariel and Iram a leather pouch. “Ariel your new name will be Ardon. It means Roaming. Iram your new name is Irad. It means Fugitive. I am not Jorah anymore. My new name is Jorim. It means Raised by God.”

They reach into the pouches and look at their new identities. Ariel’s paper says, Ardon, son of Levi. Iram’s says, Irad, son of Levi. Jorah’s says Jorim, son of Ethan.

“Your friend did an excellent job Jorah. The documents look real.”

He says, “They are real Iram, they are official documents; only the names on them are false. From now on we should never call each other by our old names. It will take time to get used to our new identity.”


The brothers remove their priestly robes and put on the borrowed clothes. They feel the unfamiliar course material made of sheep’s wool. Irad’s outer cloak has brown and blue stripes, while Ardon’s is grey and green.

Jorim puts on his new cloak with yellow and black stripes. He says, “Nicodemus was right, they do fit us. We will be able to recognize each other in a crowd.”


Irad opens the package that he packed the night before. He takes out some money and divides it three ways. “This should be enough to help us buy supplies in the next few months.”

Ardon tells them, “We will need to find a place to hide our clothes and anything else that can identify us. You never know, we might need to use them in the future.”

“When I was hiding from the temple guards I noticed there was a crack in a big rock large enough to hold these sacks. We can pile some dirt and stones in front to cover it up. No one will be the wiser.”

The men put everything into the waterproof animal skins.

They sit and eat some of the food that Nicodemus sent. The wine is the best that they had ever tasted. Jorim talks about what they will do in the morning.

It has been a long day, so the men stretch out on the hard ground and rest.


The sun has not yet risen when Ardon picks up a branch and erases their tracks from around the olive tree. They might need to use it again. They head down the hill to hide the sacks in the rocks, then walk towards the meeting place near Bethany.

The three of them blend in with the many visitors around Jerusalem, who had come to celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


The sun is budding over the horizon when the friends arrive at their destination. They sit under the crooked tree near the north gate of Bethany and whisper about their adventures from the day before.

“Here comes Nicodemus now.” Jorim points to a man walking up the hill. He welcomes his friend with a hug.

Nicodemus looks around, “We need to find a private place, so we can talk without people seeing us. That cliff over there is big enough to hide us from all the people traveling in and out of Bethany.”

The men sit on the grass behind a large pile of rocks. “My name is Nicodemus, a friend of Jorah who I now call Jorim. This is going to be confusing at first, but you must never use your real names again; even in private. Remember, walls have ears. Trust no one except my friend Simon the Leper and the men he brings to talk with you. Your life is in danger!”

Ardon says, “Thank you for all you have done for us Nicodemus.”

“I was happy to help you. I see the clothes fit you. I know that God sent Jorah, I mean Jorim to me. The news of what Caiaphas the High Priest said you did, has been spreading around Jerusalem. It is like a fire out of control. Your real names are on the lips of everyone. The price on your head has been raised to one hundred pieces of silver.”

Ardon shakes his head in disbelief, “A hundred pieces of silver. That is scary.”

Nicodemus agrees with them. “It is a lot of money. I need to hear your story. Start at the beginning and do not leave any details out!”


Iram starts. “Nicodemus, my birth name is Iram. My younger brother Ariel and I are of the priestly division of Abijah. My lot was pulled last week according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn the incense and trim the wicks before filling the golden lampstand with oil.”

He describes in detail all that took place. “I was just going to leave the room when I heard a loud noise. I looked up and saw the veil that separated me from the Holy of Holies as something torn it in two. It was at the same time the priests blew the shofar announcing the sacrifice of the lamb.

“I went at once to find Caiaphas. The sky was dark as midnight and the earth trembled under my feet. I finally found Caiaphas walking back from where the Roman soldiers had just crucified three prisoners.


“I heard him say, ‘Annas, our plans succeeded; Jesus will not bother us anymore. He is dead and his so-called father god could not save him.’

“I spoke to Caiaphas and told him that I had something to show him. When we entered the holy room Caiaphas face turned white. I told him what I saw happen to it.

“He pulled out his knife and told me, ‘Keep quiet about what you saw, or I will arrange to have someone kill you and your whole family. Come with your brother to the holy room in the morning and we will talk more about what happened today.’


“The next day I followed Caiaphas instructions from the day before and brought my brother to the holy room.

“Caiaphas handed me a hammer, a nail and a bag of silver coins. He told me to punch a hole through each coin.” Irad opens a bag and dumps some pieces of silver, along with a small-sharpened nail into his lap. Each coin had a hole punched through the top of it. “I brought these coins with me, so that I could show them as proof, that I am telling the truth.”


The earth begins to tremble and several heavy stones tumble down the cliff, just missing them.

Jorim ask, “What was that?”

Irad says, “It is a small earthquake, not as bad as the ones we had the other day.”

They are safe. The men get up and brush the dust from their clothes.

“We had better move away from the rocks, in case there is another tremor.” They follow Nicodemus and take cover behind a big tree. After they get comfortable, he hands the silver coins and nail back to Irad and tells him, “Keep the coins safely hidden at all times. Always carry them with you and never let them out of your sight.”


Ardon talks about what he saw when he cut the strands of the veil in the temple. He says, “The Holy of Holies was empty; the Ark of the Covenant was missing.” He tells about hearing the voice of God beckoning him to come through the torn veil. When he finishes speaking, tears are streaming down his face.


After picking up four silver coins, Irad asks his brother for some strands from the veil. He says, “String these threads that Ardon gave me through the coin so we will have proof that what we told you is the truth.”

They reach for the silver coin and put the pieces of veil through it, then tie it under their clothes.


Nicodemus turns to speak with Jorim. He says, “Irad and Ardon are going to tell the truth about the torn veil. Will you help them stop the lies told by Caiaphas and Annas? The truth about the biggest cover-up of the torn veil must be told as soon as possible.”

“I will. We have to stop the High Priests from spreading lies by disclosing the truth.”


“The three of you have had a remarkable experience. God has a plan for your lives and will use you to witness for Him. Let me pray for you before I leave.”


He prays, “Father God, these three young men will be in danger when they reveal the lies the leaders in the temple are spreading. They know the truth about You tearing the veil. Protect them and give them the courage, to tell the truth.”

Nicodemus finishes praying and says, “The sun is rising and I must go. I stayed the night with Simon the Leper, who has a large house. He offered to give you a room to use.

“Be careful to whom you tell your stories. Be careful who you trust. There are people everywhere who will sell you for a few pieces of silver. Go to my friend Simon and tell him all you have experienced. This is how you get to his house.”


The men watch as Nicodemus draws a map with a stick in the dust on the ground. They memorize it. Nicodemus erases the map with his foot.

“Split up. Ardon and Irad you need to go first; Jorim, wait for an hour before following them. Stay at Simon the Leper’s house. Trust him and do whatever he tells you to do. Your life will depend on it.”


Nicodemus watches them head towards the gate of Bethany. “God these are three brave men. Keep them safe.

Nicodemus shakes his head, “God, how am I going to tell Leah that Jorah is alive, that Jesus raised him from the grave?”

He wipes his brow with a cloth, before picking up his belongings and putting the sack on his shoulder. It is a long walk to Joppa, where he sent his family for protection.


He sees some women running from the direction of where he buried Jesus. He recognizes them. They are Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the wife of his friend Cleopas. He stops them and asks, “What happened?”

Joanna says, “The tomb is empty, Jesus has risen from the dead! We saw Him and He said, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to the meeting place in Galilee; they will see me there.’”



Simon the Leper

The guards stop Ardon and Irad, to examine their identification papers when they reach the north gate. After asking several questions, they send them on their way.

The brothers walk down the road to an alley, at the northwest side of the city. The men enter a small path, then cautiously approach the back door of a big white stucco house. Ardon knocks on the door. A servant asks, “Who are you?” On hearing their names, he bids them enter.

He has them remove their sandals and washes their feet to remove the dust from the road. He motions towards a basin of water and some towels, that are on a stand by the wall. Ardon and Irad wash their face and hands.


Another servant takes them to a large sunny room, where several men sit on the floor around a low circular table, eating their breakfast.

A tall-dignified man gets to his feet. “Welcome, my name is Simon, my friends call me Simon the Leper. Sit down and tell us your names.”

“My name is Ir— he stops himself in time, “Irad and this is my younger brother Ardon.”

“Make yourself at home. Simon beckons to a servant, who comes in and pours them a refreshing cup of cold wine and sets a plate filled with a variety of food in front of them.

It is hard at first for Iram and Ariel to remember all the details of their new identity. Soon they relax and enjoy the company of the other men around the table.

The food is delicious. They can hear the giggles and chatter of women in the next room, while they eat their breakfast.

When the meal is over, Simon the Leper picks up a holy scroll and reads, “From the Psalm of David

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.

I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.



A servant enters with Jorim following him.

“You must be Jorim. I have been expecting you. I am Simon the Leper. I will arrange for a servant to take a tray of food up to your room. Ardon and Irad, this is Jorim. My house is full, so I will have the three of you share a room. Come with me, I pray God’s blessings on you.”

The three young men follow Simon the Leper. They stop when they hear a pounding at the back door. They begin to panic. ‘Have they found us?’

An older man enters. Simon asks him, “What is it Joseph, why all the excitement?”

The man is breathless. A servant brings him a glass of wine and Simon the Leper asks him to sit and rest.

Joseph takes a sip but stays standing. He tells Simon the Leper, “I need to go. Jesus has risen from the dead. Someone rolled away the stone and Jesus' tomb is empty. Jesus has shown himself to several of the women and disciples. Simon, you need to come with me to Lazarus’ house.”

“I will come after I take care of the needs of my guests.” Turning to the three young men he says, “This is Joseph of Arimathea.”

Walking towards the stairs, Simon says. “I will talk with you later.”

He lowers his voice and whispers, “My servant will take you to your room. He will bring you everything that you will need for a long journey. We might have to leave at a moment’s notice.

“Nicodemus said you have an interesting story to tell me. You should rest while I go with Joseph. We will talk when I get back.”

Summoning the servant standing by the door, he tells him, “Take my guests to their room and bring a tray of food for Jorim. They will need everything on this list.”

As the young men climb the stairs, they hear Simon tell the people in the room; “Jesus has risen from the dead! Jesus is alive and the tomb is empty!”

The followers of Jesus start singing, “Hallelujah, Jesus is alive, He has risen from the dead!”

The servant opens a door to a bedroom. It overlooks the courtyard and has outside stairs leading down to the garden below. The room has everything a guest would need. The beds look so inviting.

Another servant arrives and places a platter with fresh fruit, boiled eggs, and flat-breads on the table in front of Jorim.

After the servant leaves, Jorim says, “This is the first breakfast I have had in three years. I am thankful for every morsel of food. I will never take food for granted again.”

It is hard for them not to talk about what is going on, but they heed Nicodemus’s warning and remember that walls have ears. They do not want to say anything that might endanger them. After the servant removes the dishes, the men decide to get some much-needed sleep.

They wake with a start when someone knocks at the door. The servants have brought the supplies that were on the list. The men prepare their bed roles and fill their backpacks. Each man has a new wineskin filled with wine.

A gong clamors, so they head down for the noontime meal.

Simon welcomes them, “I pray you had a good rest. I will take you out for a breath of fresh air after lunch. I need to talk with you.

“Most of my guests, have gone to the Temple with their Wave Sheaf Offerings.

“It says in Leviticus,

‘When you come into the land which I give you and you reap the harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priests: and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath, the priests, shall wave it.”

The men sit and listen, while Simon the Leper reads from the holy scroll.

“From the Psalm’s

Blessed is the man, who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law, he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.



Simon motions for the servants to start serving the food. They bring out platters filled with roast lamb, vegetables, and baskets of unleavened bread.

The men chatter while they eat. Simon tells them what the temple guards have been saying, about the followers of Jesus stealing Jesus body from the tomb.

After they finish eating Simon’s reads from the Psalms.

You have been My God. Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.

They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.

My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.

For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. they pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. they look and stare at Me.

They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.

But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!

Deliver Me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog.

Save Me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen!

You have answered Me.




The Visitors

Simon takes Jorim, Ardon, and Irad aside after lunch to give them some instructions. “From now on you need to carry all your possessions with you. We never know when the soldiers or temple guards might come here. They have arrested several followers of Jesus and taken them to prison.

“Go to the garden with the pond when you are ready. I have invited some friends to hear your story. It will save you from repeating it several times. We do not have a lot of time to talk.”

The three young men go to their room and pack their belongings. When they are finished, they go down the outside stairs to the garden. Simon is sitting beside his friend Joseph of Arimathea with two other men. Jorim’s face turns white when he sees one of them.

Simon introduces his friends. “You met Joseph this morning. This is Peter, a disciple of Jesus, and Ravid, my personal physician. We are all followers of Jesus. It is better to have several witnesses when you are telling the truth. I chose this place because it is far away from the house and no one will hear what we say.

“Nicodemus came last night and vouched for Jorim. He is a friend of his family and Ardon and Irad are his cousins.

“Who wants to tell their story first?”

“I will,” Irad speaks with boldness. “The truth is my birth name is not Irad. My name is Iram.”

Peter jumps up draws his knife, and is ready to pierce Iram’s heart. “You desecrated the Temple. You are nothing but a com—

“Stop!” Ravid and Simon the Leper wrestle the knife out of Peter’s hand and force him to the ground.

Simon says, “Peter, your hot head is going to get you in trouble someday. Cool down and let Iram tell you the truth.”

It is the second time in two days that someone pulled a dagger on him. With a shaky voice, Irad continues, “I am a priest of the division of Abijah. When the priests cast lots for the work at the temple last week, it became my job to burn the incense, then trim the wicks of the golden lampstand and fill them with oil.”

Irad warily looks Peter in the eye to see if he believes him. “I finished my duty at the ninth hour and was going to leave the Holy Room when I heard a noise above me. I know it was the ninth hour because I heard the Shofar blow when the priests sacrificed the lamb. I looked up and saw the heavy material of the veil divide in the middle as God tore it in two.

“After gaining my composure, I went and found Caiaphas the High Priest. I told him that I had something to show him. I took him to see the torn veil. I told him that God tore it.

“He got angry and told me I was lying. He drew his dagger and pointed it at me. He threatened to kill my whole family if I told anyone what I had seen.

“Two temple guards followed me home. I went to the basement and through the secret tunnel that led to the orchard. I hid behind a bush and heard them talking. They said that Caiaphas did not trust me and if I tried to escape that they were to kill everyone in my home. They said the High Priests told them to arrest my family the following morning, after the two priests left for the temple.

“I spent the night arranging for my family to go into hiding. I could not rest until I knew they were safe.

“The next day, my brother and I went to the Temple. I told him to leave the Temple as soon as he could.

“Caiaphas told a lie that he made up, about some followers of Jesus tearing the veil.

“No human hand could reach high enough to cut the veil from top to bottom. It must be over fifty or more feet tall.

“Caiaphas told us that we would have to show the temple guard a thread from the veil that held a silver coin, to enter the holy room from then on. He handed me a bag of silver coins, along with a nail and hammer. He told me to punch a hole in each coin.”

“I can vouch for my brother Iram.” Looking at Peter with some apprehension, Ardon says, “My name is Ariel.”

Both Simon the Leper and Ravid have a firm grip on Peter’s arms so he cannot move.

Ardon removes some of the strands from the torn veil from around his waist. He shows the men the threads and the holy dagger. With the boldness given to him by God, the day before, he tells them, “Caiaphas handed me this holy dagger and sent me over to the veil. He said to cut thirty strands and bring them back to him.

“While I was cutting the veil, I heard a voice. God kept whispering, come through the open veil into My presence. I did not feel worthy enough to stand before God, so I turned my back on the open veil and ran away. I know that the veil has been torn so that you and I can go into the presence of God.”

Peter and the other men begin to weep. Irad says, “I am a witness that God tore the veil at the exact moment Jesus died on the cross. We have nothing preventing us from talking with God. You do not have to depend on the High Priest to intercede or do blood sacrifices for you anymore. Jesus did it all when his innocent blood was shed on the cross for us.”

Simon the Leper interrupts, “We don’t have much time. Jorim can you share your story?”

Looking his doctor in the eye, Jorim says, “My name is not Jorim. It is Jorah! Ravid, you are the doctor who cut my leg off three years ago and I died!”

Ravid takes a closer look at him. “I thought I recognized you. Jorah is the son of Ethan. I signed his death certificate. He is a walking dead man. I am interested in hearing the rest of your story Jorah.”

“All I know is that I saw Jesus three days ago, then I found myself standing on two whole legs beside my open grave. Hundreds of dead men, women, and children were standing with me.

“We started walking into the city of Jerusalem.”

Jorim tells them. “I was relieved when I saw my two cousins on the road in front of me the next day.

“I also went to see my friend Nicodemus and he helped me.”

There is silence after he finishes talking.

Peter apologizes to everyone gathered there. “I believe you. You are right I do have a hot temper. I boldly got up and shook my fist in the face of Jesus once. I was so angry with Him. Jesus told us that some people were going to kill Him.

“At the thought of Jesus dying, I lost it. I told Him off. Jesus turned and said to Me, ‘Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’ I was broken and fell to my knees then wept. Jesus rejecting me was more than I could stand. I loved Him. A few days ago, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, I cut off Caiaphas servant’s right ear. Jesus put it back on, and he was healed. Later that night, I denied Jesus three times.”

Peter weeps. All the frustrations and unleashed pain from his past fall to the ground in his tears. When he gains control, he says, “I believe that you are telling the truth.”

Ariel says, “Forget those names. Those men are dead and will no longer exist. My name is Ardon; this is my brother Irad and our cousin Jorim. If word gets out that we are here, Simon the Leper and his whole family and all his guests will be in danger.”

“Ardon is right,” Peter says. “Jesus said, the same day that I shook my fist in his face that anyone who will follow Him, must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Him. If you try to save your life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for Jesus sake, you will save it.

“These three brave men Ardon, Irad, and Jorim, are willing to lose their life for Jesus. I am proud to call them my friends.” Peter reaches out and grasps their hands. “Will you forgive me?”

There are many tears as reconciliation takes place and hearts begin to mend.

Peter tells everyone. “Some of Jesus disciples are gathering at Lazarus place later this afternoon. I hope to see you there.”

After his visitors leave, Simon the Leper takes the three young men for a walk around his property. He tells them, “See that tall tree over beside the big cliff.

“I found a cave in it when I was a young boy. It has many tunnels and several exits. I have the entrances well hidden. My servants keep it well stocked with provisions. Parts of it are so cool, that we can store our food in it to prevent it from spoiling. The cave has a storeroom full of food and water enough to last for several weeks.”

Simon continues, “The soldiers are rounding up followers of Jesus, and might come looking for me at any time. The temple guards have already arrested some of my friends.

“My trusted servants are standing guard on my roof. They can see for miles in all directions. If you hear one loud blast from a horn, hide in the almond orchard and make haste to that tall tree. My faithful servant will show you how to find the hidden entranceway.”

Pointing to the packs on their back, Simon tells them, “Take all your belongings with you. Go over and sit on that big rock. When you see some of the men leave the house, follow behind them at a distance. We are going to Lazarus’ house to talk with some of Jesus other disciples.”



Lazarus House

Ardon, Irad, and Jorim sit on a rock and wait for some men to come, so they can follow them.

Two men that they recognize from breakfast, walk past them. The three young men get up and stay in the cover of the trees, as they follow them. After a few blocks, they go to the back door of a large white stucco house and knock.

The servant opens the door and tells them, “Come in.” He secures the door with a heavy bar.

They look around the room. Thick dark curtains cover the windows, to keep people from looking in. A man comes over and introduces himself, “Welcome, my name is Lazarus. You must be Simon the Leper’s guest. We have been expecting you. Come in and I will introduce you to my family and friends.”

They go to a crowded back room. Lazarus tells them. “The soldiers entered the city of Bethany a few hours ago and took several people away. They are looking for followers of Jesus. We have a way of escape planned for everyone in the house if needed. Follow me if anything happens.”

“These are my sisters, Mary, Martha and their friend Mary Magdalene. They are about to tell their story. Come and sit with me.”

Mary Magdalene starts. “I went to the tomb early this morning and found that the stone had been rolled away. I ran and found John, and Simon Peter then told them, ‘Someone has taken Jesus body out of the grave. I do not know where they have taken Him.’

“I followed Peter and John back to where the rock had been rolled away I bent over, and peered into the grave, I saw two angels in white robes. They were sitting at both ends of the rock where we had laid Jesus body. The angels asked me, ‘Why are you weeping?’

“I told them, ‘Someone removed Jesus body from the grave. I do not know where they took it.’

“I felt eyes looking at me. I turned around slowly and saw a man standing on the path behind me. He said to me, ‘Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?’

“I thought He was the gardener. I begged Him to tell me where they took Jesus body?

“The man said, ‘Mary it is I!’

“It was Jesus. I ran to him, fell at his feet and called Him, ‘Teacher, Master.’”

“‘Do not cling to Me,’ He said, ‘for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My followers and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’

“Jesus is alive. He has risen from the dead and He spoke these words to me.”

The men and women in the room wipe away their tears. The servants bring in trays of food and skins full of wine.

There is a knock at the door. A messenger tells Lazarus, “We are gathering in Jerusalem at John Mark’s house tonight. Everyone is welcome. You should travel in small groups, so as not to draw attention.”




Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Joanna, one of Jesus’s follower’s, hurries down the street to her aunt’s house. ‘I will be safe here.’

Joanna glances down at her torn dress and puts a calloused hand through her dirty hair. She whispers to herself, “The guards would never let me enter my home in Herod’s Palace, dressed the way I am.”

She knocks at the door and her cousin Edna opens it. Joanna follows her to the back room. She had done this several times in the past. Edna’s servants fill the tub, as Joanna strips her soiled clothes from her aching body and lets them fall to the floor in a heap. She lies back in the warm water, trying to remove the memories of the past few days.

Her cousin returns after taking the pile of ruined clothes to be burnt. “Mother wants me to take you to her as soon as you are ready.” Using a jug, Edna pours warm water over Joanna’s tatted dirty brown hair. “You had us worried this time Joanna. You have been gone for three months.”

After Edna is through washing her cousin’s hair, she wraps Joanna in a big towel and embraces her. When the tears stop flowing, she helps Joanna pick out some clothes to wear.

Joanna dresses in a blue tunic and picks out some new sandals from the shelf. She Joanna looks at some jewelry and decides on a silver broach along with her wedding band.

She gets dressed, then follows her cousin to a large room. Her aunt is sitting beside her mother. Joanna looks around the room at the luxury.

Finely woven carpets cover the floors. A gold menorah sits on the side mantel. An assortment of finger foods and tall goblets of cold wine, sit on the white linen cloth that covers the table.

Her mother and aunt rush over and embrace her. Her mother whispers, “Joanna, Joanna, you are back.”

Joanna starts to weep again. She is safe. ‘If only I could go home and crawl into my bed and sleep, but I cannot. Jesus said that we were to meet him at Galilee. What will my husband Chuza say?’

Chuza and her father enter the room. After the fresh tears stop, her aunt says, “Joanna you must be famished. When was the last time you had any food?”

“I can’t remember. I have not been able to eat after I witnessed what the cruel Roman soldiers did to Jesus.”

Her husband and her family are followers of Jesus. They had given Joanna their blessing in the past and sent money with her to support His ministry.

Joanna says, “I went with Mary Magdalene, Susanna, and several other women to take the burial spices for Jesus body to the sepulcher this morning. Someone had rolled the stone away. With trembling legs, we walked into the tomb. We could not find Jesus’s body.

“Out of nowhere, two men with a bright light surrounding them stood in front of us. We bowed down to worship. They said, ‘Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here. God raised Him from the grave.’”

Making sure she has her family’s attention, Joanna says, “Do you remember what I told you a few months ago, about what Jesus said would happen to Him?

Chuza says, “Yes I do, Jesus told you that He would be handed over to sinners, and then they would kill Him on a cross. He would rise up in three days.”

With tears flowing down her cheeks Joanna tells them, “I come to tell you that Jesus has risen from the dead. I was at His tomb this morning and it is empty. Jesus is alive.”

Her family gathers around her. Chuza asks, “Are you sure Joanna. Some of the guards came and told Herod this morning that Jesus followers stole His body from the tomb.”

Joanna insists, “They are telling lies. I was with several other women when we saw Jesus in person. We were on our way to tell the disciples that Jesus is alive, when suddenly Jesus talked to us. ‘Greetings’ He said.

“We rushed over to Jesus, knelt at His feet and worshiped Him.

“Jesus told us, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My disciples to go to Galilee. They will see Me there.’”

Joanna’s father tells her, “We need to share the good news with our friends who are followers of Jesus.” Her family leaves the room to give Chuza and Joanna some privacy.

Joanna takes a bite of food. When she finishes eating she says, “I am going to meet Simon the Leper at John Mark’s house tonight. I will travel on to Galilee later in the week with Simon and his friends.”

Chuza tells her, “I will go with you to Mark’s place Joanna. I have some valuable information for Simon.

“I will also arrange for you to ride on one of his wagons. Our servants will prepare all the supplies you will need for your trip. I want you to take your cousin Edna with you. I will have some official passes written up. The whole area is in an uproar because of our Savior Jesus’s death.”

“Thank you Chuza! We both know that I would not be sitting beside you today if Jesus had not healed me. It has been hard all these months having to be apart.” Joanna drinks some wine, then slips into a deep sleep.

Chuza leaves the room while his wife rests. He goes out to make plans for her trip to the Sea of Galilee. It has been hard for him. He hopes that this will be her last trip.

He makes the arrangements for his niece Edna to go with his wife. He stops in to talk with some of his friends. They are secret followers of Jesus who work under him at Herod’s Palace. He tells them the good news, that Jesus is alive.

When Chuza returns, he holds his precious wife in his arms. It had been two years since Jesus healed her. Ever since then, she had spent several months each year traveling with Him and his disciples.

He picks up one of her hands and examines the broken fingernails. They are rough and calloused from cooking over an open fire and washing clothes in streams. He brings them to his lips and caresses them with a kiss. He whispers, “Oh how I love you Joanna.”

After Joanna wakes, He runs his fingers over her cheeks and then through her hair. He says, “Your parents named you Joanna, which means, God has been gracious”. He whispers words of endearment.

He stands up and says, “Everything is arranged for your trip. Edna has agreed to travel with you. Come home with me until then. I have missed you.”

“I will.” She feels safe in the loving arms of her husband.

The sun is setting when Joanna and Chuza slip out of her aunt’s house. He covers his head and face, then has his wife do the same. They walk down the road towards where Jesus and his disciples are gathering.

He whispers, “We have to be careful. We do not want anyone in Herod’s palace to find out that I am a secret believer of Jesus, and that my wife is one of His followers.



John Mark’s House

Simon the Leper accompanies Ardon, Irad, and Jorim, as they pass through the city of Jerusalem without incident.

He takes them down several back streets until they reach John Mark’s house. They enter a large crowded upstairs room, where people are sitting on mats. Lazarus invites them to come and sit beside him and his two sisters in a far corner, away from the crowds.

Lazarus whispers in Jorim’s ear, “I heard from Simon the Leper that we have a lot in common. Jesus raised me from the dead as well. I will tell you more about what happened later.”

Chuza taps Simon on the shoulder and they leave the room. They sit in a quiet corner and plan the trip.

Simon says, “Joanna and her cousin Edna can come with me next week when I travel to Tabgha by the Sea of Galilee. I will send a servant with a note and tell you the day we are leaving. He will pick them up here.”

Chuza says, “I will send you the supplies that you will need for your trip. I will get a message to you if I hear anything that will endanger the followers of Jesus. Be safe my friend.” They embrace and walk back to the main room.

There is a loud knock at the door. The room becomes quiet, while the servant opens the eye-hole to see who it is. He removes the heavy bar. Lazarus sits back with a sigh of relief. He recognizes the latecomers, “It is Cleopas and his cousin. They live in a small village north of here.”

Mark offers them some food and a refreshing glass of wine.

After eating, Cleopas gets to his feet. “I went to the tomb and found it empty, so my cousin and I, with much disappointment, packed our bags and headed home to Emmaus.

“We were talking about Jesus when a stranger joined us. We told him about how the Roman Soldiers crucified Jesus of Nazareth on the cross.”

Cleopas takes another sip of wine and catches his breath, “I told him that our leader, Jesus body was missing from the grave and that some women saw two angels there. The angels told them that Jesus was alive.

“The stranger said to us, ‘O fools and slow of heart to believe everything the prophets spoke. Jesus must suffer these things before He could enter into His glory.’ He started with Moses and explained all the scriptures concerning the Messiah to us.

“I asked our walking companion to stop and eat with us. He told me that He was hungry, so we brought out a tray of flat-bread, dates, grapes, and cheese.

“When the stranger broke the unleavened bread in half and handed me a piece, I remembered the last supper. That is when I recognized Him. He opened our eyes and we knew that the stranger was Jesus, our promised Messiah. He sat and talked with us for a while, then He disappeared. Jesus is alive!”

Motioning to his cousin, Cleopas says, “We grabbed our bags and walked the six miles back to Jerusalem. Our hearts burned within us, while Jesus talked with us before He opened our eyes to the truth of who He was. The scriptures He quoted made sense at last.”

Cleopas sits down and rests. Peter sits beside him, and tells him what he saw that morning, “When I entered the open tomb, the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head was not with the sheets, but in a separate place folded up.”

Suddenly there is a commotion in the room, and everyone looks over to where the disturbance is coming from. They see Jesus standing there. They are puzzled and ask each other; “How did Jesus get in? The windows and doors have been secured with heavy bars.”

The room becomes quiet and all eyes are on Jesus. He says, “Peace be to you.”

“We were frightened. Several people whispered. One of them asked, Is Jesus a spirit?”

Jesus talked with a kind questioning voice, “Why are you frightened? Why are your hearts anxious? Look at My hands and My feet. It is your friend Jesus. Touch Me and see for yourself, I am not a spirit. I have flesh and bones.”

He walked around the room and showed us His hands and feet. He smiled, as He spoke our names.

Some of the people were still skeptical. Jesus asked, “Have you any meat?”

One of the women went into the kitchen and returned with a piece of broiled fish. Someone else gave Him a chunk of honeycomb dripping with honey. The people relaxed as Jesus ate.

After Jesus finished eating, He said, “These are the words that I spoke while I was with you. Everything must be fulfilled that was written in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me.”

Jesus opened our minds so that we could understand the truths from His teachings and the scriptures we read. We all looked at each other with astonishment. All the scriptures we had ever studied came alive within us.

Jesus also said, “This is what is written, The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day: You, My followers and disciples should preach repentance and remission of sins in My name, among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are to witness to everything that happened.

“Peace be to you: as my Father has sent Me, even so, I send you.”

Jesus breathed on everyone in the room and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit: If you forgive the sins of anyone, they have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.”

Jesus disappeared from the room.

We all sat quietly. Jesus had just filled us with the Spirit of His Love. We were not able to speak.

After several hours, Peter stood up and talked to everyone. “It is getting late. Break up into small groups and go to the homes where you are staying. Try not to bring any attention on yourself. If you think someone is following you, do not go directly to where you are staying. Continue to walk through the back footpaths until you think it is safe.

“If you cannot make it to where you are staying, go to Galilee. We will all meet you in the secret gathering place soon. Talk to me before you leave, if you do not know where it is.”

Chuza takes Joanna aside and whispers. “It is time to go home my love.”


Simon motions to Jorim, Ardon, and Irad. “Follow me to my house. Do not speak.”

We walk through the south gate of Jerusalem and mingle with other travelers as they walk to Bethany. Simon took us down several dark streets until he reaches the back-garden access to his property. He knocks quietly on the door. The servant recognizes the knock and swiftly opens it. We enter and the servant shuts it and puts a heavy bar across the door.

Simon tells us, “It is late. I will see you in the morning.”

We climb the stairs to the spacious room and remove our bedrolls and heavy backpacks. We put them by the door in case we need to flee in the middle of the night.

Our beds look inviting, so we stretch out and fall into a deep sleep.


Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’s Stories

Jorim, Ardon, and Irad meet at Lazarus place later in the week. He says, “I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you my story. I introduced you to my sisters Mary and Martha yesterday. I will start at the beginning.”

They gather in a circle and get comfortable, then Lazarus starts his story. “We were young children when Jesus and his family came to visit us in Bethany. My father was a friend of Joseph and Mary.

“Their family stayed with us whenever they came to the temple in Jerusalem. Our house was always filled with family and friends visiting from out of town.

“During the week, we played hide-and-seek in the orchard behind our house. If the weather was good, we slept on our roof under the stars. We had a secret hiding place in the caves when we were children.”

The servants bring in a tray of snacks and some wine for Mary and Martha to serve. When they are finished Martha says, “I remember the year Jesus turned twelve? He didn’t play with us anymore. He would go to the Temple early in the morning and not come back until it was dark.

“His parents returned to our place once. They had traveled part of the way home, when they stopped for the night, Jesus was not in the caravan.

“Mary and Joseph sent the rest of their family on to Nazareth and came back to look for Jesus. We all searched, but couldn’t find him anywhere.

“Our mother held Mary in her arms while they wept. Three days had passed and they thought Jesus was dead.”

“I remember when his parents found Jesus. His words puzzled me. He told me, ‘Lazarus, I was at the temple in my Father’s house.’”

“I asked Jesus, ‘How could that be? Your father Joseph’s house is in Nazareth.’”

“He replied, ‘No, you do not understand what I am saying Lazarus. I am talking about my Father in Heaven’s house.”’

Mary tells them, “There was something different about Jesus after that Passover. We still played when He came to visit, but his mind was on other things. He would quote the Torah on several occasions. It all makes sense now, but to a young person it was boring.”

She continues. “Our parents died when they were young. I ran the house, while Mary and Lazarus looked after the family business. Jesus continued to bring his mother Mary and his family to Jerusalem after his father Joseph died.”

Lazarus tells them, “Jesus was so kind. He helped all of us and had so many words of wisdom.


“One year when Jesus was older, He stopped in to visit with a few people. He called them his disciples.

“Jesus took me aside and told me, ‘Lazarus, I am the Son of God, the promised Messiah.’ He went on and told me what Torah scriptures I needed to read, so that they would help me understand.”

Mary says, “Jesus shared interesting stories with us. I loved to sit at his feet and listen. Because I was a woman, I couldn’t go to the synagogue and learn from the Torah. Lazarus would share as much as he could with me after he came home from school, but it was different from being there.

“I know you were upset with me Martha, but I got so interested in listening to Jesus, that I forgot there was work to do in the kitchen.”

Martha puts her hand on Mary’s shoulder and smiles, “I did get angry with you on several occasions Mary. I remember the day I complained about you to Jesus. I said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister Mary has left me to do all the work alone in the kitchen? Ask her to help me.”’

“Jesus shook His head and said, ‘Martha, Dear Martha, you are hustling and bustling around the house far too much. You are getting yourself worked up over nothing. Come and sit for a while. Mary has chosen to sit at my feet and learn the truth about God. No one will ever be able to take the truth away from her.’

“It was difficult to change. Mother had taught us to work hard and I felt responsible to make sure we did everything right. It took a while, but in time I let our servants do most of the work when Jesus visited. I learned so much while I sat at Jesus’ feet with Mary.”

Later in the day Mary motions to her servants and they start to serve the lunch.


Lazarus stands to his feet and reads,

“The Lord’s Passover is on the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight. The Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread is on the fifteenth day of the same month. You must eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day you will hold a holy occasion and must not do any job-related work. You will offer food gifts to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day will be a holy occasion; you must not do any job-related work.”

The people gathered there are still celebrating the seven-days of Unleavened Bread. Everything cooked or baked cannot have leaven in it. The servants place a jug of wine on the table along with a broiled fish, stuffed with various kinds of root vegetables.

They bring out a bowl of fresh hummus made with garbanzo beans, sesame seed paste, olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and a pinch of cumin. They serve it with olives and matzah bread.

For dessert, Martha brings in a sweet yogurt date pudding. She had boiled the pitted dates the day before with fresh squeezed orange juice. When it was cool, she blended in fresh yogurt.

They sit and relax while they eat.


After the servants’ finish clearing the table, Mary says, “I remember the day that Lazarus our brother became sick. We tried to nurse him. After the doctors examined him they said no one could help Lazarus, and that he might die.

“I heard the disciples talk on several occasions of how Jesus healed the blind. Ten men with leprosy came to Him. He healed them also.

“Some visitors told us the day before, that Jesus was only about twenty miles away, on the other side of the Jordan River, near where John the Baptist baptized him. I sent our trusted servant with a message for Jesus. It said come at once, Lazarus the one you love is sick.”


Tears start to run down Martha’s face as she remembers the pain. She says, “We waited and waited. Lazarus our brother died and we buried him in the family tomb. Many of our friends helped comfort us when they heard of our brother’s death, but Jesus never came. Mary and I expected Jesus to be at his funeral.

“As was the custom of the Israelites, we filled the tear bottle with our tears and put it on the ledge outside Lazarus tomb.”

“Four days after we buried Lazarus, a servant came running and told us, ‘Jesus is coming.’ I went and met Jesus, but Mary stayed home because she was upset.

“Jesus finally arrived. It was too late. Lazarus was dead. I was upset. Why come now I thought, it was a bit late to heal Lazarus. Jesus, you let down the one who loves you.

“I told Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother Lazarus would not have died. I know whatever you ask God, He will give it to you.’”

“Jesus told me, ‘Your brother will rise again.’”

“I said, ‘I know that Lazarus will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’”

“Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life, if you believe in me even though you were dead, you will live. If you live and believe in Me, you will never die. Do you believe this Martha?’”

“I told Jesus, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.’


“When Jesus and I finished talking, I went and found my sister Mary and told her, ‘Jesus wants to talk with you.’ Mary arose and ran to where Jesus was.

“Jesus waited outside the town of Bethany where I had talked with Him. I heard the Jews that were with Mary in the house speaking as they followed her saying, she goes to the grave to weep there.

“When Mary saw Jesus, she fell down at His feet. She told Him with tears flowing down her face; ‘Jesus, if you had been here, my brother Lazarus would not have died.’”

“Jesus groaned and was troubled. He asked the men, ‘Where have you laid Lazarus?’

“They told Jesus, ‘Follow us and we will show you.’

“As Jesus followed the men, He burst into tears and wept.

“All our friends said to me, ‘Martha, see how Jesus loved Lazarus!’ Some of them started to criticize Jesus and asked me, ‘Why didn’t Jesus who healed the sick and opened the eyes of the blind, stop Lazarus from dying?’

“I had no answers for them. I saw that Jesus was filled with grief. He continued to weep as He walked. The grave was in a cave with a stone in front of it. Jesus told the men, ‘Roll the stone away.’

“I tried to stop him. I said, ‘Lazarus has been dead four days. The smell will be terrible.’”

“Jesus told me, ‘Martha, remember I said if you would believe, you would see the glory of God.’

“The men, with much hesitation obeyed Jesus and removed the stone from the cave.

“I watched and listened as Jesus lifted His eyes up to heaven and spoke, ‘Father, I Thank You that You have heard Me. I know that You hear Me always. I pray aloud to You now, because I want the people who stand in front of my friend’s grave to hear Me. I pray to You so that they might believe that You have sent Me.’”


“When Jesus had finished speaking to God, He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ We all started to tremble with fear, as we saw Lazarus who was dead walking towards us. A white napkin covered his face. The grave clothes Mary and I had wrapped around Lazarus body, four days before, confined him like a cocoon. We could smell the sweet spices that we used for his burial, as he got closer.

“Jesus said to the men, ‘Take those clothes off him so he might be set free and go home.’”

Mary wept as she continued her story. “I sent the servants’ home to prepare a bath and some fresh clothes for Lazarus. Jesus came back to the house with us and we all ate supper together. Lazarus was dead and now he lived.”


Lazarus tells them, “It was hard at first. People called me the walking dead man. Some of my friends were superstitious. They crossed to the other side of the road so that they could stay away from me. “According to the laws of Moses, I had to go to the priests so that they could purify me. I had a tough time trying to convince the priests that I did not touch a dead man. I told them that I was the dead man and Jesus had raised me from the dead.

“This had not happened before, and the priest did not know what to do with me. I know a few of the priests were angry with me, for telling the truth of what Jesus did.

“Caiaphas and Annas plotted to have me killed. I know God has been protecting me from them.”

When Lazarus is through talking to his guests, Jorim, Ardon, and Irad excuse themselves and walk back to Simon the Leper’s house. It has been a long day.


One Loud Blast

On the night before the feast of unleavened bread is over, a loud blast from a horn wakes Irad, Ardon, and Jorim. They grab their belongings, rush out the door and run down the stairs to a hidden room in the basement. They join other people and walk through a long tunnel. It opens in the center of an orchard. They move quietly, to the tall tree by the hill.

One of the servant’s signals for them to follow him. He takes them to a bush growing out of the side of the hill. They go behind it and find themselves standing in a big underground cave. They recognize several other people.

More families join them and soon the room in the cave is full of men, women, and children. The servants bring a tray with food and everyone has something to eat. Simon the Leper and Lazarus arrive.


Simon tells them, “The soldiers entered the city, went to several homes and broke down the doors. My trusted servants will bring me a report when they find out what happened. We should stay here in the safety of the cave. We need to pray for the protection of the followers of Jesus in Bethany.”

They sit and pray for their friends who had not made it to the safety of the cave.

They become restless and start to whisper. Simon the Leper stands up and gives them words of wisdom. He asks them to listen as he reads from a holy scroll.

“A Psalm of David

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies, and foes, they stumbled and fell.

Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;

Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart;

Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Simon says, “We need to spend some time in prayer. Our most Holy Father we pray for protection on those who are gathered here and the other followers of Christ in Bethany. Keep them safe…”

When he is finished praying, several other people pray, then they sing some songs from the Psalms. They put their trust in the LORD their God and know that He is with them.


Simon the Leper tells them, “Some families are leaving for Galilee after the Feast of Unleavened Bread is over. If you want to go with them, let me know. If you need any supplies, tell my servants and they will get you everything you need.

“Spread out your bedrolls and try and get some sleep.”

In the morning, they eat a breakfast of bread, dates, and cheese. They sit around in small groups whispering about what they will do. Several families hold hands and pray for God to give them wisdom.




Later in the day, a servant comes in and talks with Simon.

Simon tells everyone, “Most of the soldiers have gone. Lazarus, Jorim, and Ardon will go with me. We need to find out what has happened and if it is safe to go home. Irad, I want you to stay here until we return.”

The three men pack up their belongings, then follow Simon out of the cave into the bright sunlight. Their hearts become heavy when they hear the wailing within the city. ‘Who did the soldiers kill?’


They see Ravid the doctor walking along the road towards them, with tears running down his cheeks. He is not watching where he is going and stumbles over a branch.

Simon motions for the men to stay behind some trees and steps out from the cover of the almond grove. He stops his friend and asks him to follow him. When they reach the cover of the trees where the men are hiding, Simon asks, “What is going on Ravid?”

He says, “The doors of some homes have been forced open. There are no soldiers at your place Simon.

“The temple guards said that they are looking for the priests Iram and Ariel. They have killed several people and taken other, so-called followers of Jesus to prison. I have been helping the injured and the families who have lost their loved ones.”

“Is everyone at your house safe Ravid?”

“Yes, I sent them with my wife Dinah to our secret hiding place and they are waiting for me there. The gates to the city are heavily guarded. No one can leave the city without showing their papers to the soldiers. We have planned on joining the followers of Jesus and traveling north to Galilee when it is safe.”

Simon the Leper tells him, “Take everyone to the almond orchard behind my house after dark and have them hide by the tall tree beside the hill. I will send a servant to show you how to find the hidden entranceway to a cave. Do you have enough supplies?”

“Yes, we do. After Dinah and I became followers of Jesus. We took your advice and kept emergency provisions hidden in our hiding place. We have everything we will need for a long journey.”

“That is good, I will talk with you tonight.”


Simon looks around. “I think we should split up. Lazarus, you take Jorim and check out the north part of the city. I will take Ardon and see what is happening in the south. Meet back at my house when you are finished.”

He motions for Ardon and his trusted servant to follow him. They slip away into the shadows.

The wailing gets louder as they enter the center of the city. Simon recognizes several bodies lying on the ground. His heart is heavy. He wants to go and grieve with the mourners, but cannot stop. No one must know where he is.

They cover part of their face with their head covering and continue to stay in the shadows. The two men keep their distance as they pass Lazarus’s house.

Simon the Leper goes to his house and nothing has been disturbed. There are no soldiers in sight. He talks to his servant who is hiding behind a tree before he takes Ardon through the back door.

“We will be safe here. I sent my servant to the roof and he will sound the alarm if he sees any soldiers coming. The other servants will bring us something to eat and drink. We need to rest while we are waiting because it has been a stressful day.”

They sit back on a cushion after they eat. Ardon’s eyes are heavy and he sleeps.

It is dark when Ardon awakes.


Simon enters. “It has been several hours since we left Lazarus and Jorim. My servants looked everywhere and there is no sign of them in Bethany. I checked and they have not gone back to the cave. No one saw them leave the city.

“They must be hiding somewhere, or the soldiers might have taken them captive. There is nothing more that we can do tonight. We need to go back to the cave.”

The two men reluctantly leave the house. When they arrive at the hiding place Ardon tells Irad, “Lazarus and our cousin Jorim are missing. We need to pray for their protection.”



The Trip

Simon greets Ravid and his wife Dinah, and her sister Ruth when they enter the cave later that night. He summons his servants to bring food and wine.

When they are settled, he goes over to where Irad and Ardon are resting and whispers, “You need to come with me.”


They follow him and the other men, as they go deeper into the cave. Simon puts his bright torch in a holder on the wall.

“We will need to split up into family groups. Irad and Ardon, you will join Ravid and his family, then head north to a valley near the Sea of Galilee. I will draw a map on the ground, so you will know the way to our meeting place at Tabgha. Memorize it. We call it the Seven Springs.

“Some men will stop and ask for the password when you arrive. It is, ‘The Dove is alive.’”

The men get up and examine the map.

“I will let you know when it is time for your group to go. The plan is for you to hide in different orchards outside Bethany and blend in with other travelers heading north. My servants will take you to a safe place in a grove of trees where you can wait.”

It is the middle of the night when Simon tells the first families to follow his servant.

Twenty minutes later another group exits the cave.

Simon takes one last look around. He goes over to where Irad and Ardon are resting with Ravid’s group.


“Everyone has gone. Bring what you have with you, and try not to talk; even a whisper might be heard by the soldiers and give us away. Ravid, I will put you in charge. Irad and Ardon can help with the younger children. Try and keep them quiet.”

He leads the small group of people through a narrow tunnel, that opens behind a bush on the outskirts of Bethany. They walk in the dark on a path to a grove of pomegranate trees, near the road. Simon whispers, “You might as well spread out your bedrolls and rest, while my servants keep guard. It will be a short night.”


Early the next morning, Simon asks them to get up and eat. When they are through, they follow him to where his servant is waiting with a wagon. The servant tells Simon, “I had no problem leaving the city. The guards are not interested in servants.”

“That is good because you will need the extra supplies that are in the wagon when you get to Galilee. I have some business to attend to before I leave. See you in a few days.”

Ravid gathers the group of travelers around him. He tells them, “Put your bedrolls and some of your heavy packs into the wagon. Irad and Ardon try and keep the children together and if we get stopped, let me do the talking.”

They join several other families that have left Jerusalem. It is early in the morning and there is a chill in the air.

A few hours later, some Roman soldiers stop them. “We need to see your identification papers.” Irad and Ardon open their sack and pull out the pouch with their documents and give them to the soldier in charge.

He examines the parchments before handing them back. He says, “Everything is in order.” The brothers are relieved and thank God for keeping them safe.

It has been a long day. The little children are afraid and whimper. Irad and Ardon put the youngest children on their shoulders to help them keep up. The caravan stops several times to let the families rest. At sunset, they find a stream. Ravid, who is a doctor, gives ointment to two women who have blisters. His wife Dinah and her sister Ruth help them wrap their feet with clean cloths.

Ravid sends the children to find firewood. Simon the Leper’s servant removes a fire pot from the wagon and starts a fire using the hot coals.


Some of the more adventuresome boys go to the stream with Irad and Ardon to catch some fish.

Irad cuts the fishing poles and ties a string and hook on them, while Ardon helps some boys turn over an old log to find worms.

The fishing is good and the excited boys bring a basket of fish back to the camp.

The women prepare a simple supper of fresh fish, cheese, flat-bread and dried fruit. When they finish eating, they spread their bedrolls on the ground and have all the children lay down. The children are soon asleep. The adults sit around the fire and talk about their plans for the next day.




A man runs into their camp and says, “I need help, my wife is having a baby. This is our first child.”

Ravid says, “I am a doctor and my wife Dinah is a midwife. Bring your wife here and we will look after her.” He sends Irad and Ardon to help the young man carry his wife.

While they are gone, Dinah asks some men to put pots of water on the fire to boil.

Ruth lights several bulrush torches and puts them near where they will be needed.

Her husband Ravid gets the medical supplies that she will need, from the back of the wagon and gives them to her. He will stay in the background and allow the women to take care of the birthing.

The men help the husband carry his wife on a makeshift stretcher back to camp and place her on the blankets near the fire.

Ravid takes Irad and Ardon aside and says, “I need you to take everyone who is not needed here and move them up the road. I will see you in the morning.”


The nervous husband starts mumbling to himself as he paces back and forth, ‘I told Orpah that we shouldn’t come. She insisted. O God please help her.’

Ravid takes him by the arm, and says, “We should go for a walk, my wife Dinah will call me if she needs my help.”

Ruth looks around and sees that everything is ready for the birth. She rings out a wet cloth and wipes the brow of her restless patient. With a soothing voice, she says, “My name is Ruth and this is my sister Dinah. She is a midwife and has helped birth so many children, that she does not have enough toes or fingers to count them on. What is your name?”

“My name is O r p,” she has a heavy contraction and is not able to finish.

Dinah motions for Ruth to help her and has an older woman wipe the girl’s brow. She finishes her examination, then sends Ruth to get Ravid.


When Ravid arrives he says, “The woman’s name is Orpah. Her husband said that Jesus healed her after she had hemorrhaged for years.”

Dinah tells them, “It is going to be a difficult birth, and it will take a miracle to save both the baby and the mother. The baby is not coming head first. Will you help me try and turn it, Ravid? We have only changed the direction of a breach baby a few times before.”


“I will help you. We need to pray and ask God to help us. Jesus did give us the gift of The Holy Spirit while we were in the upper room earlier in the week. I have never prayed like this before.”

He kneels beside his wife and Ruth. They hold hands while Ravid prays, “God, Jesus told us that we could ask you to send Your Holy Spirit in His name, to guide and direct our hands. It is going to take a miracle to save the life of the mother and baby. Please help us.



Ruth picks up a wet cloth and takes over wiping the mother’s brow. She whispers, “It is important that you do not push Orpah. Bite down on this piece of leather, while I hold your hands.”

Ravid helps Dinah manipulate the body of the baby in the mother’s womb. After ten frustrating minutes, Dinah is ready to give up. She prays, “God, please help us in Jesus name.”

She feels some warm hands on the top of hers. She thinks it is her husband’s hands at first: but no, his hands are on the other side of Orpah’s body.

Dinah tries once more and feels the hands guide her. The baby flips and is in the right position for a safe birth. She smiles and says, “Thank You God, we did it. Now we can deliver a baby!”

Ravid gets up and wipes the sweat from his brow. He brings Ruth and his wife a cold drink and a wet cloth. “I will stay nearby in case there are any more complications.”

“Thank you dear.” Twenty minutes later Dinah says, “It is a boy.” Ruth takes him over by the fire to bathe him.


Dinah stays beside Oprah until her bleeding has stopped. When she is satisfied that Oprah is all right, she has one of the women take over and goes to the basin to wash.

She examines the baby and counts his fingers and toes, “He is a healthy boy. Thank you for your help God. I could never have done it without You.”

Dinah chokes back a few tears, as she wraps the baby in swaddling clothes. Her son would have been three if he had lived. Dinah’s mother who was her midwife and her husband Ravid tried to turn the baby in her womb. It did not work and her child died. She ended up barren.

Ruth taps Dinah on her shoulder. She says, “Oprah is awake.”

Dinah’s heart is heavy as she places the newborn in Oprah’s arms. Orpah’s husband follows Ravid back to the camp. Dinah tells him, “You have a son.”


It is still dark when Ravid picks up a torch and walks back to their camp with Dinah. The sun will rise soon and light up the sky.

Ravid wraps a heavy wool blanket around her shoulders and pulls her close. They sit on a fallen log and listen to the songbirds and the croaking of a bullfrog.

No words need to be said between them. They have just seen the miraculous birth of a baby.

He understands how hard it was for Dinah to hold another woman’s baby in her arms. It was difficult for him to tell his wife, that she would never be able to have a baby of her own.


The next day they make a comfortable place on the wagon for Orpah and her son. She will need to rest. They follow the group ahead and veer off the well-worn road and take a crooked path into the bush. Simon’s servant erases the wheel tracks from the path, with a branch so that the soldiers will not discover where they are.

The path becomes too rough for the wagon, so they hide it in a grove of trees.


The women get a snack ready, while the men help pack for the walk to camp. They load two mules with some of the supplies. The men will carry what they can and return for the rest.

Some of the women volunteer to help Orpah up the hill. They must go slow and Orpah will need to stop and rest often. Dinah carries the baby in a sling and stays with them.


Ravid squeezes Dinah’s hand, then goes on ahead with the group to set up camp. They walk along a rugged path then pass through a natural rock formation. Several well-armed lookouts come out of the rocky outcrop and stop the weary travelers.

Ravid approaches the men and says, “The Dove is alive.” He talks with them and finds out what has been happening. They tell him that several small groups had arrived and set up camp. He returns and tells Irad and Ardon, that Lazarus and Jorim had not come.



The Sea of Galilee

The sun is high in the sky when they reach the top of the cliff. They call the place Tabgha because of the seven springs, that bubble out of the ground on a hillside, before flowing into a small pool, beside The Sea of Galilee.

There is a crooked path leading down the side of the hill. It does not take them long to reach the camp.

Simon the Leper’s servant, who has been there before, draws a map in the sand and says, “The women who are alone usually set up camp by the waterfall with the family groups. Irad and Ardon, you can join the single men at the camp beside the warm spring pool near the large cedar tree.

“After you set up your campsite, take a group of young men back to help empty the wagons.” Pointing to a cave in the hillside he says, “Any food that might spoil can be put in the back of the cave to keep cool.”

Ruth has the men and women help her set up a camping spot for Orpah and her husband. They cut off some cedar branches to make her a soft bed. One of the men lines a wooden crate with some fir and a warm blanket for the baby.


Dinah arrives with Orpah and the baby. She is tired after the long night and the two days walk from Bethany. She hands the baby to her sister. “Will you look after him for me Ruth?”

Ruth takes the baby and Dinah sits down on a rock to rest. After having a sip of fresh spring water, she looks around. A cool breeze blows in from the sea of Galilee. She says, “What a beautiful place. It is so refreshing after walking for two days over the dry dusty roads.”

Ruth changes the baby and helps Orpah get comfortable. Dinah checks to see if the baby is nursing. When the baby is sleeping, she puts him in a small bed, and says, “Ruth will stay with you for a few days Orpah.”


Ravid takes Dinah’s hand and walks with her to a secluded wooded area by one of the warm springs. His friends had helped him set up camp away from the crowds. The songbirds are singing and if you listen closely, you can hear the buzzing of the honeybees.

Ravid slices some cheese, breaks off a piece of flat-bread, then pours two tumblers of wine. They sit eating their snack. A lot has happened since they left Bethany, a few days before. They talk about their future. Will they ever see their home again?

Ravid says, “It has been a long night Dinah.”

“Yes, it has been, Ravid. We both witnessed a miracle. If Orpah’s baby had not turned, they both might have died.”

“I know Ravid, God is good. We prayed in Jesus name, asking Him to send us His Holy Spirit to help us turn the baby. We know that it was the hand of God that guided and directed my hands. Thank You, God!”

They go off to the privacy of their shelter and rest. A doctor and midwife must always be ready for an emergency.


Later in the day, Dinah holds Orpha’s baby close to her heart. She speaks to the women sitting around her, as she rocks him in her arms. “I lost my first baby in childbirth several years ago. I made a vow that I would learn all I could, so that no other baby had to die and leave the heart of a mother and father broken.

“I traveled to foreign countries to study everything I could about birthing babies. I did not get much rest because my services were always in high demand.

“I remember when my mother wrote and told me that my younger sister Ruth, wanted to become a midwife. She has spent several years training with me. I am thankful for her help and companionship.”

Dinah takes Orpah’s newborn baby over to her so that she can nurse him. After the baby is fed, Ruth picks him up. The women gather around to admire him.


Orpah tells them, “Jesus healed me a few years ago. I had given up all hope and was lying in my bed waiting to die.

“There was a knock at the door and someone called out, ‘Hurry Orpah, Jesus is two blocks away and will be walking by your house soon.’

“I sat up. With trembling fingers, I tried to put a comb through my hair. It was no use. I reached for my crutches and started to walk towards the door. My legs would not hold me and I dropped to the floor. I was too weak. If only mother was home, but no, she had gone to work to earn money to pay my doctors’ bills.

“I started to crawl. With much effort, I reached the gate in the fence surrounding my parents’ modest home. A large group of people were a block away and walking towards me.

“My family had spent all their money on physicians. Some of the doctors were cruel in the way that they treated me. I told my parents, ‘No more. I have had enough.’

“My mother was a secret follower of Jesus. She told me about several of the miracles she had seen Him do.

“The crowds were only a few houses away. I crawled out into the middle of the street so that they would have to walk by me. I saw Jesus coming closer. I reached out my hand and touched the fringe of His cloak.

“Immediately a surge of power went through my body.

“Jesus stopped: His eyes looked directly at me. I had sinned! The Law of Moses said that if anyone touched a woman with an issue of blood, they would become unclean. I knew this, because, my father could not hug me. He never came into my room. He told me, if he touched me, he would not be able to go to the Temple.

“Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’

“The people in the crowd said, ‘Not me.’

“Peter asked him, ‘Master, what kind of question is that? Look at this huge crowd all around You. Several people touched You.’

“Jesus shook his head and said, ‘No Peter, I felt power going out from Me. I know that somebody touched Me.’

“With trembling lips, I said, ‘I touched Your hem Jesus and I was immediately restored to health. I had been suffering from a constant hemorrhage for twelve years. I knew if I could just touch your clothes, that I would be healed.’

“Jesus took me by the hand. He looked me in the eye, and with a big smile, He said, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you whole. May God give you peace! You are healed and you will no longer be in pain.’”

“Jesus healed me. I stood to my feet. My legs were not wobbly anymore and I could walk. My bleeding stopped and my strength returned.”

The baby starts to fuss, so Ruth takes him back to his mother. Orpah wipes a few tears from her eyes. She hugs the baby and says, “Thank you for being there for us last night.

“If Jesus had not healed me of the hemorrhage, I would have died. I heard that He was coming to Galilee after his resurrection. I wanted to be here to thank Him for my husband and now my son Shem.


Dinah says, “Orpah, the baby you are holding in your arms is a miracle. I had to ask my husband Ravid to help me turn the baby because it was coming feet first. If your baby had not turned, both of you might have died.

“We prayed asking God’s Holy Spirit to guide and direct our hands in Jesus name. Jesus taught us to pray this way in the upper room.

“I was about to give up when I felt someone’s hands on mine. I looked down, but Raved was not touching me. I said another prayer and tried once more. Slowly the baby started to roll and he turned a summersault. He ended up with his head where it needed to be.”

Dinah removes her tear bottle from her pocket and caresses it. The glass bottle is filled with tears of joy and sadness. Today it would be used to collect both. She gets up and wanders back to her camp by the Waterfall.



Personal Stories

The groups that gathered at Tabgha, by The Sea of Galilee, listen to some of Jesus followers as they share their personal stories.

A young man gets to his feet and says, “I was born blind and Jesus healed me.

“It had been a long hot day, and there were only a few coins in my tin cup. I had sat in the same place along the same wall since I was a young boy. I lived with my parents who were poor. I did not like to beg, but wanted to help my parents by giving them the coins I received each day.


“I heard footsteps coming down the road. When they got closer, I said, ‘Alms for the poor…Alms for the poor.’

“The people stopped. I heard a voice say, ‘Jesus, why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?’”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” the man they called Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

“After he finished talking, I heard someone spit on the ground. He smeared something wet on my eyes.

“The teacher said, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.’

“I sat there puzzled. ‘I had heard of this pool. Several people had told me about it. King Hezekiah built it to supply water to Jerusalem if they were under siege. Hezekiah even had men dig a tunnel through the rocks, to bring the water to fill the pool. I had never seen it. How was I going to walk to it?’


“When my father came to take me home for the Sabbath lunch, he asked, ‘Son why do you have mud on your face?’

“I told him, ‘A man spit on the ground and put this wet paste on my eyes. He said I was to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. Can you take me there?”

“My father said, ‘Hold my hand and I will help you. It will be a dangerous walk.’

“I put the can with the coins into my pouch, then picked up my crooked cane and stood to my feet. My father took my arm and we walked through the streets of Jerusalem. He took me down paths that I had never been on before.

“My Father stopped walking and said, ‘Be careful, there are several steep uneven steps in front of you. Go slow and take one-step at a time. I will prevent you from falling.’

“I trusted my father because he had always been there to help me. He held my arm firmly. It was hard going and lost my footing several times.

When we reached the bottom of the long stairway, he told me ‘Sit down on this rock by the pool.’

“I reached out and put my hand in the cool water. I emptied the coins into the pocket of my robe and dipped the tin cup into the pool. I kept pouring the water over my face until the wet mud was all gone from my eyes.

“I was scared, but, I opened my eyes. A man was sitting in front of me, so I reached out and touched his beard and face. My fingers recognized my father. We embraced. We sat for a long time while my eyes grew accustomed to seeing light. Everything was more beautiful than I had ever imagined.

“It was well past lunch when my father took my hand and led me through the streets towards our home. It took a long time because I kept pointing at everything and asking him what it was. Sometimes I stopped and felt it.


“My neighbors and those who had previously seen me begging, stopped and asked, ‘Are you the same man who used to sit and beg?’

“I told them, ‘I am the blind beggar, and I was healed by Jesus.’

“The townspeople asked me, ‘Where is this man Jesus?’

“I told them, I don’t know what he looks like, but I will never forget his voice.’

“Some men grabbed me by the arm and said, ‘We need to take you to see the Pharisees.’

“They roughly pushed and shoved me as I climbed some steep stairs. It was all new to me. I was used to walking in the dark.

“I stood before a group of men.

“The Pharisees kept asking me questions. They refused to believe that Jesus miraculously healed me. My story about Jesus healing me upset them. They asked me, ‘What do you say about this man opening your eyes so you could see?’

“I said, ‘I have no doubt that this man is a prophet.’

“Some of the Jews claimed that the whole situation was a charade and that I had never been blind. They said, ‘Go and get his parents to testify about his condition.’

“I had to shut my eyes. It was so overwhelming. All the shapes and things around me were unfamiliar. I felt safer with my eyes closed.”

“Later on, I heard them ask someone, ‘Is this man your son? Do you testify that he was born blind? How can he see?’

“I opened my eyes and saw my father, but had never seen the woman standing beside him. She must be my mother.

“I recognized her voice. I heard the fear when she said, ‘This is our son and he was born blind. How he can see is a complete mystery to us! We do not know the man who opened his eyes. Why not ask our son, he is old enough to speak for himself?’

“I saw the tears in my mother’s eyes, as the guards roughly removed my parents from the room.

“The men kept repeating the same questions over and over. I remember saying, ‘I was blind, but now I can see.’

“The questioning went on and on. I had to shut my eyes again. I was getting dizzy and felt like I was going to faint.

“I told them ‘You are not listening.’ They kept insulting me.

“They said, ‘The man you speak of is a mystery. We do not know where he comes from.’

“The more I spoke in Jesus defense, the angrier they got.

“They said, ‘How dare you take that tone of voice with us? You are nothing but dirt!’

“The men took me and threw me out into the street.

“My parents were waiting for me. My tears mingled with my mother’s tears as she embraced me. She was beautiful. They took me home and I saw my family for the first time.

“My mother had me sit in the shade of a canopy to rest. Some of the Pharisees and townspeople followed the men down the street towards my home.

“A stranger came up and spoke to me. I recognized the man’s voice. He was the one who put the mud on my eyes and healed me.

“He asked, ‘Do you believe in Jesus the Son of God?’

“I told him, ‘I want to believe. Who is He?’

“He told me, ‘You are talking to Him now. Don’t you recognize My voice?’

“I said, ‘I recognize your voice, Jesus, I do believe in you. You are the man who healed me.’ I bowed down and worshiped Him.

“The Pharisees came over to talk to Jesus. He gave me a hug and left with them.

“It started to rain. My mother brought some refreshments and placed them on the table under the shelter. My brothers and sisters were so excited that I could see. They came over one at a time so I could feel their face, then spoke, so I would know who they were.

“When we finished talking, the sun came out and I saw my first rainbow up in the sky. God is good.”


A man stands up and puts his hand lovingly on a boy’s shoulder and smiles. He wipes his tears away.”

“I brought my only son to Jesus and told Him, ‘A demon keeps him from speaking. Whenever the evil spirit seizes my son, it throws him to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth. He gnashes his teeth in pain and then he becomes stiff. I asked your disciples to force out the demon, but they couldn’t do it.’

“Jesus turned to his disciples and shook his head, ‘You are an unbelieving generation! How much longer must I stay with you? Why do I put up with you?’ He told them, ‘Bring the boy to me.’

“They brought my son to Him. As soon as the demon saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. My son fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

“Jesus asked me, ‘How long has your son been like this?’

“I answered, ‘Ever since he was a little boy. The evil spirit has often thrown him into a fire or water to try to kill him. Please have pity and help us if you can!’

“Jesus asked me with a puzzled look on his face, ‘Why do you say if I can? Anything is possible for someone who believes!’

“I shouted, ‘Jesus, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’

“When Jesus saw that a crowd was coming to see what was going on, He spoke sternly to the evil spirit that had kept my son from speaking or hearing. He said, ‘I order you to come out of the boy! Never bother him again.’

“The evil spirit screamed and made my son shake all over and then it left him. He looked like a corpse and I thought he was dead. Jesus took my son’s hand and helped him stand up.

“My son has not been sick since the day that Jesus healed Him. We have had the stigma removed from our family. The people in our synagogue welcomed us back and my son is going to school.

“He was able to come with me to celebrate the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits, for his first-time last week. We rejoiced when we heard that Jesus is alive and rose from the grave. We have come here to Thank Jesus.”


James says. “I remember the day that your son was healed. The next day, I went home with Jesus and the other disciples. He took us to a room where we could be alone. One of the disciples asked him, ‘Why couldn’t we force out that demon?’

“Jesus answered, ‘This kind of demon can come out only by prayer.’ He sat patiently teaching us about prayer. It took a while but with prayer and faith we were able to cast out demons in Jesus name.”

John says, “The next day we left and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where we were because we had a lot to learn.

“Jesus said to us, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill Him and after three days He will rise.’

James says, “We did not understand what Jesus meant. We were afraid to ask Him about it.

“It all makes sense now. Judas was going to deliver Jesus into the hands of Caiaphas and Annas, the High Priests and the other rulers of the Temple. Jesus would die on the cross. After three days, Jesus would be raised from the grave.”



New Arrivals

Late in the afternoon, there are two blasts from a horn. Everyone looks up to the path and see some people walking down the trail leading to the camp. A group of newcomers had arrived.

Ardon and Irad start up the hill to help them. They ask each other, “Could it be Lazarus and their cousin Jorim?” They are too far away to see their faces.

When they get closer to the weary travelers, they recognized Jorim’s yellow and black cloak. Simon and Lazarus are with him.

Ardon and Irad continue to run up the steep hill. The men drop their heavy packs and embrace.

Ardon says with tears running down his cheeks, “I am glad to see you? We thought the Roman soldiers captured you.”

They pick up the packs and continue down the hill to the camp. When they arrive, they gather in a circle to introduce the newcomers.

Jorim says, “This is Joanna and her cousin.”


After lunch Lazarus, Simon, and Jorim walk with Irad and Ardon over to where they will be camping. They sit on several large branches under the shade of an old sycamore tree.

Irad puts a wineskin in front of them and asks, “What happened to the two of you in Bethany?”

Lazarus tells him, “I saw the soldiers leave our area, so I felt safe to go home and check everything over. It was a trap. I was in the house getting some important papers to take with me, when my servant rushed in. He said, ‘Some temple guards are on the pathway leading to your house.’

“We ran and hid in my secret hiding place. The guards looked through my house then set up camp near our emergency exit in the orchard. It was our only way of escape, except through the house!

“On the third day, the guards left.”

Jorim says, “The situation was scary, but we knew that God was with us. We were not able to light our torch or speak. The room was full of food and wineskins of water, so we knew we could stay there for a long time.

“The guards were so near, that we could hear every word that they said. They bragged about how many followers of Jesus they had captured and what they did to them. I do not want to think about it. How can people be so evil?


“On the third day, we woke to silence. Lazarus servant opened the door to the exit in the orchard.

“When Simon arrived, he told us, “Irad and Ardon went with a group to Galilee and that His friend Chuza was sending some more supplies to them.”

“Simon had us follow him to his cave. Simon had me dress in his servant’s clothes and take a loaded wagon to Jerusalem. I picked up two passengers. I had no problems at the gates because of the papers Chuza sent with me.”

Jorim takes a drink from a tall goblet then continues with his story. “After leaving Jerusalem, I pulled the wagon off the road into a grove of trees. Lazarus and Simon, along with several other followers of Jesus, were waiting for me.”

Lazarus says, “That is when I recognized Joanna. She is the wife of my friend Chuza and a follower of Jesus.”

The men sit around eating, and telling each other what had been happening since they last saw each other.

Jorim says, “I was able to talk with some of the people left in Jerusalem. The temple guards and Roman soldiers are searching everywhere for the two priests that defiled the Holy Place.”

Jorim gives his cousins a leather pouch. “I saw your friend Rufus near the Temple after I entered Jerusalem. He gave me this to give you.


“It has been a long day. I think I will go and rest.” Jorim, Lazarus, and Simon the Leper take a dip in the warm pool, set apart for men behind a grove of trees. When they finish, they wash their dirty clothes and hang them to dry. They spread out their bedrolls and lay in the shade of the sycamore tree.


Meanwhile, Ardon and Irad walk over to a grove of trees and sit in the shade. Ardon opens the pouch and pulls out some pieces of parchment. He says, “This must be for you Irad, it has an “I” on it. Ardon picks up the one with the “A” and reads.


My Dear son,

We are at your uncle’s farm; you know the place. You used to come here and ride their silly donkey. It always bucked you off, until the day you outsmarted it. I am not sure what you did to her, but that poor donkey was never the same.

Ardon stops reading and remembers when he was a little boy. He rubs his arm. ‘That is my father’s Aunt Phoebe who lives on a farm near Joppa. I spent the whole summer trying to ride that old stubborn donkey. My arm still hurts from the time she kicked me. He smiles as he remembers how he outsmarted the donkey. He picks up the paper and continues reading.

Your father returned to his family’s farm. His uncle died last year and they never had any children, so he inherited the farm. It is a good arrangement; we run the farm and take care of Phoebe, so that she can live in her house.

The soldiers came to our town looking for followers of Jesus. We are praying for Gods protection, for you and your brother. We are far enough from the town, so it will be safe for you to visit us. I hope to see you again.

Love Mother.


Irad picks up the one with the “I” and reads.

Son, you are brave. As I told you the last time we saw each other, I am proud to call you my son. I do not know where you are. I sit at the town gate and listen to the men talk about the news of the two followers of Jesus. You know the rest of the story.

It is good to be living on a farm again. Rufus sold our house and business to a friend for me. Our family has enough money for our future.

Your cousin’s, Jorah’s parents live on the next farm. You know where we are. Our place is isolated, so you will be able to come and visit us. God be with you.

Love Father




The next day Simon says, “A lookout came and told me that several families just arrived. They might need help. If you young men are not doing anything, you might want to go and carry some of their belongings to the camp for them.”

“We will be glad to help.” Jorim points at Ardon and Irad and says. “Race you to the top.”

They jump to their feet and start running. Ardon is in the lead as they reach the top of the steep hill.

Jorim says, “Not fair, I have not done much running for a few years. It was kind of hard to run with all that dirt on top of me, and remember, the doctor did cut off my leg.”

They chuckle as they continue down the crooked path.

They arrive while the newcomers are eating their breakfast.

Someone calls out, “Jorim, it is good to see you again.” Nicodemus gives him a hug. He turns to Ardon and Irad and says, “Come, I want you to meet my family.”


Jorim reaches into his pocket and feels the smoothness of the dove. ‘Will Leah be there? Will she recognize me?’ His heart is heavy when he hears the laughter of Leah.

He sees her sitting near the fire with her back to him. When he gets closer, he notices a baby on her lap. ‘She is more beautiful than I remember. Is she married?’ A tear runs down his cheek and he steps into the shade, so she cannot see him.

Nicodemus says, “Ardon, Irad and Jorim, I would like to introduce you to my family. This is my wife Sarah and our daughters, Eveta, Tabitha, and Leah and our first grandson, Gideon.

Jorim takes a good look at Leah and studies her face, ‘Good, she does not recognize me.’

The three men excuse them selves after the introduction and go over to prepare the supplies. When they finish, they start up the hill with a heavy backpack followed by three stubborn mules.


After reaching the camp and unloading the mules, Jorim excuses himself and wanders over to one of the caves. He needs to think everything over.

He has so many emotions to deal with. ‘God, what is your purpose in bringing me back to life? It was so wonderful in heaven. Everyone loved each other. There was no pain or sorrow. All I ever wanted from when I first met Leah, was to become her husband. Now she is married and has a baby.’


Jorim cannot rest because of all the thoughts going through his mind. The sun is high in the sky when he goes back to the camp. Lazarus meets him on the path.

“I saw you go off alone Jorim. I noticed that your face was white. Did you see a ghost?”

“No, it is worse than that. I saw Leah, the girl I was going to marry before I died. I fell off the ladder on the day of my wedding and never recovered.”

Lazarus says, “I have met Nicodemus daughter Leah. She is a kind person.”

They hear the call for supper. Jorim does not want to go, but Lazarus insists. “The women have spent the morning cooking a feast for all of us, so we can celebrate their safe arrival.”

His two cousins are sitting beside Leah and her two sisters. Gideon is sitting on Irad’s knee and he is bouncing him up and down. Irad smiles when he sees Jorim. “Come and join us, there is lots of food.”

Jorim sits beside him and talks with Leah’s mother Sarah. She says, “You look familiar Jorim. I think I have met you before.”

Leah sees him and her face turns pale and she starts to faint. He reaches over and steadies her. Her sister gives her a cup of water and she takes a sip.

Leah starts to say something, but her sister Tabitha interrupts. “I think my son Gideon has had enough excitement for one day.” She reaches over and picks him up. “It is time for your nap.” She hands him to a man standing beside her and they walk away towards the sleeping area.

Leah looks at the newcomer. ‘He looks like Jorah, but that cannot be, he died three years ago.’

Jorim takes the dove out of his pocket and gives it to Leah. “Leah, I think we need to talk with your father.”

Leah recognizes Jorah’s voice.


Nicodemus comes over. “You are right Jorim, we have a lot to talk about. Come with us Leah.”

Nicodemus stops and talks with Lazarus then picks up a small skin of wine. He wipes the sweat from his brow. He knows that the words spoken in the next few hours will change his daughter’s life forever. ‘How do you tell your daughter that the man who died the week after they were to wed, is alive?’

The four of them walk up to the cave where it will be private. Jorim’s life is at stake, and one never knows whose ears are listening.

Someone had moved several logs into the cave, so they were able to sit facing each other.

Jorim starts. “Leah, I am Jorah. I had your father make me a new identity. When Jesus died on the cross, God opened the graves and several people rose from the dead. I am one of them. My amputated leg was restored and even the scar I had on my right hand is gone.”

Nicodemus pours Leah a glass of wine. “You need to sip this slowly Leah. Jorim is telling you the truth. I cannot give you any more information for now because it could jeopardize some other people.”

Leah starts to weep. They are not the same kind of tears that she wept all those years ago. They are different.

Nicodemus says. “I will leave the two of you alone. Lazarus knows what is going on. I will sit with him outside the cave so you can talk. If you need us we will come.”

Jorim says, “Thank you, Nicodemus. Will you pray for us before you go? I am not sure what to do.”

Nicodemus prays, “God our father, you brought Jorah back to life for a reason. God, we need you to take charge of the situation. Help us to make right choices and go forward, trusting You for wisdom and guidance in all we say and do.

“In Jesus name, we pray.



Nicodemus sits and chats with Lazarus.

This is not an everyday situation. A man who was dead for three years sits in front of the woman he loves. Their wedding never took place because of a freak accident.

Instead of a wedding celebration, they serve the wine and food at his funeral.


In the privacy of the cave, Jorah takes Leah’s hand.

He tells her, “I changed my name to Jorim, and it will be dangerous for you to call me Jorah.

“Everything is strange and different for me. It is as if the world went on for three years without me. You lived, laughed and played. Your sister and her husband have a son.

“Leah, I love you. To me, it seems like it was yesterday when I spoke to you last. I have never stopped loving you. Do you still love me?”

“Yes, I do Jorim.”

“Will you marry me?”


“We need to talk to your father and Lazarus.”

Jorim takes Leah’s hand and they go and talk to Lazarus and Nicodemus.

“Good they say. I see that you have work things out. We will talk later.”


They return to the camp together.

When she gets back, Leah picks up her blanket and goes for a walk. She ends up at the pool near the women’s area. She removes her soiled clothes and wraps in a covering before taking a dip in the warm spring.

She finishes washing her soiled garments, then she dresses in clean clothes. She lies on a blanket and looks up through the branches of the trees at the blue sky.

It had been an exciting day. Jorah, the man who she was going to marry had died three years before. Now, Jorah, the same man who had died and been raised from the dead is planning their wedding day.

She is so excited, but cannot share the truth that Jorim is Jorah with anyone.

Lazarus had explained to them how hard it was to fit into the Jewish society after Jesus raised him from the dead. He always had to have his servants watch his back. The Pharisees were always plotting to have him accidentally killed.

“God, what is it You want me to do? Why did Jorah have to die? Why did You raise him from the dead? I have so many questions for You.”

It had been a long day and Leah is tired and falls to sleep.



The Fishermen

Later in the day, the lookouts come to report that they saw two boats on the Sea of Galilee heading towards the shelter of the bay.

Simon the Leper gathers everyone around him. He tells them. “The women and children need to go and hide behind the outcrop of rocks, while the men prepare for battle.”


A commotion wakes Leah. She goes and finds Jorim. He says, “Some boats are moving into the bay. Leah, you need to go and hide behind some rocks with the woman and children.” She takes Jorah---Jorim’s hand then walks up the hill and hides beside her family. It is going to be hard to think of my love as Jorim. He shyly squeezes her hand, before he joins the men.


The boats get closer and Simon the Leper recognizes his friends, Peter, Andrew, Thomas, Philip, and Nathaniel. He tells the men to put away their weapons before he rushes out into the water and helps pull the heavily laden boats to shore.

Peter tells them, “We spent the night fishing with our family. God filled the nets to overflowing. Our mother and her friends baked us baskets of fresh bread. They have sent wineskins full of wine along with some fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The young men at the camp rush over to help them unload the boats. They put anything that is perishable in the cool cave on the hillside, so it will not spoil. The women clean the fresh fish and hang them over branches. The warm breeze and hot sun will dry them in a few days.


Peter takes Simon the Leper and some of the other men aside. “We will keep one boat here so that we can fish. Jesus has picked a good place for us to gather. Nathaniel will take the other boat back to Bethsaida.”

Andrew tells them, “The news of what happened in Jerusalem has spread to Bethsaida. Several soldiers have been looking for followers of Jesus. It is best to stay off the main roads for a while.”

Peter says, “After Jesus’ resurrection, we traveled to my home in Bethsaida beside the Sea of Galilee.”

He takes a sip of wine then continues with his story, “The next evening at sunset, I told my friends that I was going fishing. They joined me and we fished the whole night.

“In the morning, James told me that the fishing was no good. We decided to row to shore and get some sleep. He said that we could try again the next day.


“When we arrived near the beach, we saw a man on shore standing beside a fire.

“He asked us, ‘Have you caught any fish?’

“Nathanael told him, ‘We did not have any luck.’

“The man told us, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will catch some fish.’

Peter shook his head and whispered, “What does he know about fishing? I have fished these waters since I was big enough to toss a net. This was the first night that I never caught a fish.”

“He grumbled, but finally gave in and followed the stranger’s instructions. The fish filled the net so full, that we were not able to pull it out of the water.”

John says, “I recognized the man on shore and told my friends, ‘It is Jesus.’

“As soon as Peter heard these words, he put on his outer garments and dove into the sea and swam to shore.

“The rest of us brought the boat into shallow water. When we arrived on shore, we saw a charcoal fire with fish on the grill. Jesus had bread for us also. We dragged our net full of fish up onto the beach.”

John continues, “I heard Jesus tell Peter, ‘Bring Me some of the fish you just caught.’

“Peter returned to the boat and helped us put the fish into several baskets. We counted one hundred and fifty-three large fish, and the net had held, without tearing.

“Peter told us that Jesus wanted us to bring some fish and have breakfast with Him.

“After Jesus finished cooking the extra fish, He took the bread and gave some of it to each of us. He did the same with the fish.

“We did not say a word while we ate. We thought about all that had happened in our life since we met Jesus.”

Peter pauses to wipe his brow. “This was the third time that some of us had seen Jesus since His death and resurrection.

“When we finished eating the fish and bread, Jesus took me aside and asked, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than the others do?’

“I looked around me. Why was Jesus asking me this? I replied, “Yes Lord. You know that I love You.”

“Jesus told me, ‘Take care of My lambs.’

“Jesus asked me a second time. ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’”

“I said. yes, Lord. You must surely know that I love You.

“Jesus told me ‘Shepherd My sheep.’

“For the third time, Jesus asked me, ‘Simon son of Jonah, do you love Me?’”

“Peter says, “I was hurt because Jesus asked me the same question again.

“I told Jesus, ‘Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.”

“Jesus said again, ‘Feed My sheep, Peter.’

‘“Verily, verily, I say unto you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall dress you, and carry you where you would not.’ And when he had spoken this, he said unto him, ‘Follow Me!’”


When they are through talking, Nathanael gets up and walks to the beach. The friends hug and say goodbye. Nathanael says, “We have to go. Our family will continue to take care of your wife and children until you come home Peter. Your daughter Kallai is the apple of her Grandfather Jonah’s eye. She is a real sweetheart.”

He climbs into the empty boat with one of the disciples. The people on shore watch until the boat disappears behind a giant rock formation.

Peter turns to Andrew, “It has been over three years since we gave up fishing, left our family and followed Jesus. I miss my wife and children the most. Kallai is three now. It has been hard not being able to watch my children grow up.”

Andrew says, “It has been a long three years Peter, but I would be willing to do it all over again if Jesus asked me to.”


Several families gather around the campfire. Ardon, Jorim, and Irad sit with them and listen to the disciples talk about the experiences they had, while they spent time with Jesus.


A young man gets to his feet and says, “My name is Andrew and this is my brother Simon. We were born in Bethsaida, a town north of here by the Sea of Galilee. Our father Jonah is a fisherman. It is Jesus, who gave my brother Simon his new name, Peter. It means ‘rock’ in Greek.

“I met John the Baptist about four years ago, while I was on a trip to Bethany. I sent word home that I would not be coming back for a while and became a follower of John.

“He baptized me after I asked God to forgive me of my sins.

“John the Baptist was different from anyone else I had ever met. He had long dark unruly hair and a beard that he never cut or trimmed. He dressed in animal skins and a robe made of camel’s hair.

“The first thing he did when we set up camp was to put out locust traps. It took a lot of locusts to make a meal. We put them on sticks and roasted them in the fire. We would dry the locust that we did not eat, for later. John always carried pots of wild honey with him and was willing to share it with us.

“John the Baptist taught the people to turn away from their sins and be baptized, so that they would be clean for when their promised Messiah came. I found out later that the Messiah he was talking about, was his cousin Jesus.

“He had many followers. One afternoon I was helping people go out into the water while John baptized them. This man entered the River Jordan and walked over to John. John knew who He was, and called him, Jesus.

“Jesus said, ‘John, baptize me.’

“John told him, ‘I am not worthy to baptize You Jesus. You are our LORD, You have no sin.’

“However, Jesus insisted, He said, ‘It would fulfill all righteousness.’

“John baptized Jesus. When Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God came down like a dove, and rested on His’ shoulders. A voice came from heaven and said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’

“At that very moment, I knew that Jesus was the Son of God, our promised Messiah.”


Peter interrupts his brother. “I remember the day that Andrew came home. We could not get him to stop talking. He told us about John the Baptist, but was more excited about meeting Jesus. He kept saying, Come and see for yourself.

“I decided to go with Andrew and check out this Jesus. I knew who He was without any doubt after I looked in His eyes. He truly was the Son of God.

“He asked me to sit with Him. I was so in awe that I said, ‘Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinner.’ I did not feel worthy to be in his presence.

“I wanted to become one of his disciples. Jesus told me, ‘Go home and when the time is right, I will come and get you.’”


Andrew continues, “Two months later, Peter and I attended a wedding in Cana. Jesus was there with Mary his mother. I overheard Mary say, with concern in her voice, ‘Jesus, they don’t have any wine left. Can you help me?’

“He replied. ‘Why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.’

“Jesus got up and followed Mary. He put his arm around her shoulder and whispered a few words in her ear.

“His mother pointed at the servants and said to them, ‘Do whatever my son tells you.’

“Jesus told them, ‘Fill six, twenty-gallon jars with water and pour some of it into a jug. Take it to the master of the banquet.’

“The servant returned and poured some water into the goblet of the master of the banquet. He tasted it and was impressed with the wine.

“He took the bridegroom to the side and said, ‘Most people bring out the best wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you have saved the choice wine until now.”

Peter tells them, “I talked to the servant later and he told me, ‘I filled the six jars with water from the well and poured some of it into a serving jug. It was a miracle, it turned into wine.’”

Andrew puts more wood on the fire and sits down.


The children ask, “Peter tell us more stories.”

A little girl about the age of Peter’s daughter Kallai, comes over to listen to the men talk. Several other children join her. Peter wipes a few tears from his eyes. ‘I miss my family. It is hard on them with me being away for so long.’

Peter asks the boys and girls, “What would you say if I told you that I caught a fish with a coin in its mouth?”

One of the older boys says, “That would be impossible.”

Peter tells him, “Nothing is impossible for Jesus. When we were in the town of Capernaum, some tax collectors approached me and asked me to pay the Temple taxes.

“I didn’t have any money, so I told Jesus about it.

“Jesus told me to go fishing and the first fish that I caught, would have enough money in its mouth to pay the taxes.

“I sort of chuckled to myself. I used to make my livelihood fishing. I must have caught thousands of fish every year, but I never ever found any money in the mouth of a fish.

“I went out in the boat with my brother Andrew and our friends. I told them what Jesus had said to me and they laughed.

“We spent several hours fishing. I opened the mouth of the first fish that I removed from the net, and it had a four-drachma coin in its mouth. I took it to the tax collectors and it was enough to pay our taxes.

“The fun part of it is, that all my friends continued to open the mouth of the fish they caught. They never found any more money.”

Andrew picks up a wine-skin and hands it to Peter. He teasingly says. “The story is true. I was there and saw it happen. It has been a long day so we should go and rest.”



The people have spent several days at Tabgha, waiting for Jesus to arrive. They talked about the experiences they had with Him before He died.

John says, “I remember when Jesus took Peter, James and I up on the mountain.

“Jesus climbed the hill a little further and began to pray. We tried to stay awake, but our eyes grew heavy and we all fell asleep.”

Peter says, “We were woken by a noise. Jesus’s body was changing before our eyes, beginning with His face. It seemed to glow. The glow spread and even His clothing took on a blinding radiance. We saw Jesus in all His glory.

“Suddenly two men were talking with Jesus. He did not tell us who they were, but we knew they were Moses and Elijah.

“We overheard the conversation that took place between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. We did not understand it then, but they were talking about his exodus, the one Jesus was about to complete in Jerusalem.”

John says, “A cloud came and shrouded us. We were afraid. A voice came from out of the cloud saying, ‘This is My Beloved Son, listen to what He says!’ At once we looked around. The voice was silent. The cloud disappeared and Moses and Elijah were gone. We saw Jesus standing on the hill.”

Peter takes a sip of wine and continues, “As the disciples and I were coming down the mountain, Jesus told us, ‘Do not say a word about what you have seen.’ We kept silent and told no one what we saw. This is the first time I have told anyone about what we witnessed that day, while on the mountain with Jesus.”


The disciples are sitting around sharing their stories when Jesus appears. Everyone who has been waiting for Jesus to join them at the Sea of Galilee start to sing, “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Jesus our Saviour is not dead. He overcame the grave. He is alive!

Jesus has saved us from our sin. Because of this, we will not feel hopeless or despair. Salvation! Salvation belongs to our God and to His Only Son Jesus!”


The disciples wait for the singing to stop, then have the crowds find a place to sit in family groups, so that everyone can hear what Jesus says.

Jesus stands by the Sea of Galilee and looks up into the individual faces of the people. Just a few weeks before, some of them had shouted ‘Crucify Jesus; release Barabbas.’

The Sunday before they did that, they laid palm branches and their coats on the ground while He rode on a borrowed donkey into Jerusalem.

They shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus bows his head and prays, “God take the veil from their eyes so that they might hear and see the truth.”

Jesus raises his hands and the people see the bright red imprints from the nail holes in his hands. The crowd becomes silent.

He says, “Fear not. I have been to My Father’s throne, and He has sent Me back to instruct you.

“Some of you are still uncertain if I am the Son of God. See my feet; examine my side and hands. I died on the cross and spent three nights in the grave. I was resurrected on the third day. All power has been given to Me, in heaven and on earth.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.

“The prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on Me, nevertheless, the world must learn that I love the Father; and I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me.”

Jesus lifted His eyes to heaven and prayed: “Father, God, glorify my people. You have given me authority over all flesh, that I should give eternal life to as many people as You have given Me. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Me Your Son, whom You have sent.

“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

After Jesus finished praying, several individuals in the crowd get to their feet and try to talk with Him all at once.

The disciples have several years of experience. Peter asks them, “Sit around in family groups and Jesus will come to talk with you.”

Jesus spends the rest of the afternoon visiting. He heals their sick and asks them to repent of their sins. When they repent, Jesus forgives them. Several people want to be baptized.

Some of the seventy helpers that Jesus had appointed earlier, along with several disciples are there to help.

There is enough food to feed the crowd of travelers.

They had brought provisions so that they could spend a few days. They sat down in family groups and shared their food.

When evening arrived, Jesus asked his disciples to follow him. He took them up into the hills away from the crowd, so they could talk.

The next day some of the people who Jesus healed want to thank Him.

The disciples have everyone sit on the hill facing The Sea of Galilee. They sing songs and pray.


Andrew one of Jesus Apostles stood by a young boy. He said, “Jesus, this is my friend Doran from Bethsaida. He came all this way to thank You.”

Doran says, “Jesus my father died two years ago, so I live with my mother at my grandparents’ house in Bethsaida. My uncle brought me to Tabgha, by boat to see You. I splashed and played in the waterfall with the children when I first arrived.

“After You started talking Jesus, I sat beside my uncle. I wanted to hear every word that you spoke. It was a long day and I had a tough time keeping my eyes open.

“The sun was low in the sky when I awoke. I was hungry, so I opened my basket and picked up a small loaf of bread and some fish to share with my uncle.

“One of your friends saw the bread and stopped to talk with me. He told me that his name was Andrew and asked me my name.

“I told him that I was Doran. He asked me if I had any more food left in my basket.

“I opened the lid of my basket and showed him my lunch. He took me by the hand to see You.

“When we got closer I heard one of the men say, ‘Jesus, we better send the people home before they faint from hunger.”

“You asked them, ‘Why don’t you feed them?’

“A man said. ‘We have been here all day and do not have much food. Let us be realistic Jesus. There is no way to get food out here in this desert area. Even if we could, we do not have enough money to pay for it.’

“When they finish reasoning with Jesus, Andrew said, ‘Jesus, Doran has five small loaves of bread and two small fish.’”

You motioned for me to join Him.

“You said, ‘Thank You Andrew, for bringing the little boy to me.’”

“A disciple sitting by Jesus laughed and said, ‘Five bread and two small fish, will not be enough to feed this multitude.”

“I agreed with him. My uncle and I had started out with ten small loaves of bread and four fish that morning. We had eaten two fish and five small loaves; half of our lunch already.

“Jesus, You asked me to sit down and You wrapped Your arms around me. Your love warmed me all over. You whispered, ‘Doran, all the people are hungry. Would you like to share your bread and fish with them, so that they can eat?’

“I said ‘yes’, and gave my small lunch basket to You. You smiled at me then got to Your feet and told the men, ‘Organize the people into groups of fifty and have them sit on the grass. They sat in family groups on the hillside. The men did as Jesus asked them to do.

“You took the two fish and five loaves and thanked God for them. You asked God to multiply the food to feed the hungry people. You broke the fish and loaves apart and gave them to Your disciples to pass around.

“I cannot explain what happened that day, I only know that a miracle occurred and five thousand men, plus women and children all had enough to eat from my small lunch.

“After everyone had finished eating what they wanted, You sent Your disciples out to gather up the leftovers. They each returned with a basket full of fish and bread.

“The crowds were amazed at this miracle.

“You told us, ‘I am the Bread of Life. Anyone who comes to Me will never go hungry, and anyone who believes in Me will never be thirsty.’

“You gave me one of the twelve baskets full of bread and fish so that I could take it home to my mother.

“Andrew told me, ‘Doran, you will remember this day forever. Always share what you have with others and Jesus will bless you. He thanked me and took me back to my uncle.

“You should have seen the look on my mother’s face when I handed her the basket filled with fish and bread, but that is another story.”

“Thank You Jesus, for sharing the miracle of the fish and loaves with me. My mother is a widow. She always found it hard to feed our family. Since I took the basket of fish home that day, my family has always had enough food, with extra to share with several widows who live in Bethsaida.”


Peter takes another man up to Jesus. Tears are flowing down his cheeks.

He says, “Jesus, I was the man with leprosy that came on my knees to You and begged saying, ‘If You are willing; You can make me clean.’ I heard one of Your disciples’ whisper, ‘Jesus, do not touch the leper. You will become unclean.’

“You ignored him. With compassion, you reached out both of your hands and touched me. You said, ‘I am willing, be clean!’

“Immediately the leprosy left me and I was cured. I looked at my hands and they were whole. I counted my fingers and instead of two, they were all there. The toes on my feet had grown back. I put my hands up to my face and I had a nose.

“I had not felt a human touch in five years. I was all alone in the world. Everyone would cover their mouth and walk on the other side of the road when they saw me.

“I had to keep my lower face covered and say unclean, unclean, when anyone came near me. I never could go home to my wife and children, after the priests said I had leprosy. My heart was broken.

“Jesus. You looked me in the eye and I felt Your love. You touched me. You healed me. I know You told me not to tell anyone about what had happened, but I was so overwhelmed that I could barely refrain from telling everyone I met, of how You cured me.

“If the temple priests declared me clean, I could go home and hold my children and wife in my arms once more.

“Even though You healed me of leprosy, I was not legally clean until declared so by the priests. They alone could readmit me to the congregation. The local priests looked me over and found me cured. I was purified by the burnt offering of two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. I shaved with a razor and had a bath.

“After seven days, I was again inspected. The priests said I was cured. I went with the priest and offered the gift for my cleansing. Because I was poor, I offered one lamb and two doves with flour and oil, that a friend gave me.

“I no longer have to live outside the city with the lepers. I do not have to say unclean to everyone who gets too close to me. I can hug my wife and children and support my family. Thank You Jesus, for giving my family back to me.

“Today I give You this sheaf of wheat, from my first harvest. I am able to work my farm once more.”

Jesus breaks off a head of wheat and rubs it between the palms of his hand. He chews on several of the kernels’ then passes the rest to his disciples.

He tells them, “I am the bread of life! Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry. Trusts in Me and you will never be thirsty.

“Everyone My Father gives to Me will come to Me. Whoever comes to Me I will not turn away.

“I have returned from heaven to do the will of God who sent Me. I pray that I should not lose any of you that God has given to Me. This is the will of My Father: that all who sees His Son and trust in Me should have eternal life and that I should raise them up on the Last Day.”


Another man comes to see Jesus. He has a songbird in a cage and sets it at Jesus’ feet. He says, “Jesus, I was deaf and could barely speak. My friends brought me to see You.

“You took me aside and touched my ears with Your fingers. You spit on your fingers and touched my tongue. You looked up to heaven and said, ‘God let this man speak.’

“I will praise Your name forever Jesus, for it is good. I can hear and speak. Thank You, Jesus.”

He opens the cage and sets the sparrow free. The bird flies over and lands on Jesus scarred hand. It sings a beautiful song.

Jesus holds the little brown bird up to show everyone. He says, “Not even one sparrow will fall to the ground without your Father up in heaven noticing.

“It is the same with you. Your God knows all your needs and will meet them.”

Jesus spends time talking about what He had taught them in the months before his death, and resurrection. He heals more people.

One family brought their demon-possessed friend and Jesus healed him. Others brought a crippled man, a deaf girl, and a blind child. Jesus and the Disciples touched them all and they were healed.

They sat under the teaching of Jesus for several days.

Several people ask the disciples to baptize them. There is much rejoicing as they gather at the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The disciples walk out into the water with the new believers and baptized them.

Jesus tells them. “Today you repented of your sins and my disciples baptized you with water, but soon you will be baptized with My Holy Spirit.”


The next day at sundown, Jesus gathered his close inner circle around him. He says, “Remember when you sat on this very hill and I taught you,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

I have more to share with you. Go to the upper room in Jerusalem and wait for me there.” Jesus walks towards the Sea of Galilee and disappears from their view.


Peter talks to the leaders after Jesus leaves and tells them, “Some of us will prepare to leave in the morning.”

The families return to their campsite. They recite from the Psalms and sing praises to God and Jesus.

Ardon, Irad, and Jorim talk with the disciples. The young men had asked God to forgive them of their sins. They followed Peter, into the water and he baptized them earlier in the day. It is all new to them. They have a lifetime of questions.

This is the second time that they had seen Jesus. They asked the disciples what they should do.

Peter placed his hands on them and prayed. He tells them, “You need to pray and fast. Ask God to guide and direct you. Pray for wisdom.”

The three men go off alone to talk with God.


The morning is busy as some families pack up their belongings, and get ready to go to their homes all over Israel. Several people had rowed their boats across the Sea of Galilee from the different fishing villages. A few families came from as far away as Beersheba and Gaulanitis, to see the resurrected Jesus.

Simon the Leper cautions the travelers, “Stay off the main roads. Use different back trails if possible.

“Have someone talk to your neighbours and see if it is safe to return to your home. If you need assistance, go to the upper room in Jerusalem. One of the disciples will be there to help.”


Peter and several of the disciples arrange to go with Mary and Martha to Jerusalem. Joanna, Dinah, Ruth, and Ravid along with Orpah and her family will travel with them.

Peter tells Andrew, “Join me in the upper room in Jerusalem later in the week.”

It is early in the day when the travelers start on their journey. An hour later, the group disappears over the crest of the hill.




After most of the people have left, Nicodemus goes over to Jorim and Leah and says, “We need to talk.” He takes them up to the cave where it is private.

He asks, “Leah do you still love Jorim and want to become his wife?”

She gazes into Jorim’s eyes and with a trembling voice says, “Yes.”

“Jorim, do you still love Leah and want to become her Husband?”

He gently picks up her hand and with tears in his eyes he says, “Yes.”


Nicodemus says, “Leah, I have talked it over with your mother, Lazarus, and Simon. We all think it is best for you and Jorim to marry before you leave here. You have been betrothed for more than the required period.

“I will send for my friend, a priest from Bethsaida who is a follower of Jesus. He will perform the wedding ceremony. This way you will be able to keep your cover, and the local Synagogue and priests will not have to get involved.

“Jorim, we do not want anyone to know you are Jorah. Leah, never call Jorim, Jorah, even in the privacy of your home. Remember walls have ears and your life will depend on it.”

Jorim says, “I want Irad to be my groomsmen and Ardon can stand with him.”

Leah says, “My sisters can be my bridesmaids.”

Nicodemus says, “It will not be a fancy wedding like we planned three years ago Jorim. You are welcome to come and work for me. You and Leah can live in one of the houses on my property in Joppa after you are married. It is only a few miles from where your parents live. My family has several farms and a successful shipping company.

“Leah your Mother and sisters are waiting for you at the warm pool by the waterfall. They have a surprise for you. The wedding will take place soon, and if I know your mother she has a lot of work to do before then.”


Tears of joy are flowing down Leah’s cheeks as she runs down the path to the waterfall.

Her mother embraces her daughter and wipes her tears away. She says, “Your father told me about this before we left our home. Your sisters and I packed your wedding dress and our family Chuppah for you to stand under. My mother told me when I married your father, that this wedding canopy was woven by one of her ancestors. It has been in my family for years.”

Her mother opens a trunk and removes a wedding dress.

Leah pulls the delicate material over her head. It is beautiful. She tries not to cry, but it is no use. Her mother gently helps her remove the dress and puts it back in the lined wooden trunk. She holds her daughter in her arms until there are no more tears.


Leah puts the stopper back on her tear bottle and holds it up to the light. ‘It will be full soon.’

Following the Jewish custom, when Leah became a young woman, her mother gave her a tear bottle. Her mother told her that she was to gather her life tears in it. She told her to carry the bottle near her heart. ‘Whenever you weep, you are to put the small tear bottle up to the side of your nose and catch your tears.’

She remembered the stories her mother and the older women shared as they worked together. They talked about the Jewish customs handed down from generation to generation. She learned the story from the sacred Torah, where it said that God would keep track of all your sorrows and that He would gather all your tears and put them into His bottle. God would record their every tear in His book.

Jorah, the man she was going to marry, fell on the day of their wedding. He died a week later. She held the bottle and collected all her tears. Not too many young women her age had a tear bottle that were ready to overflow.


Nicodemus walks down to the boat and finds Andrew and says, “The wedding is on. I will need everything on this list as soon as possible.”

Andrew takes the piece of parchment and says, “I will be back soon, Come Doran. We have a long night ahead of us.” Nicodemus pushes the boat out into the water. Andrew lets Doran help row the boat back to Bethsaida.

Simon the Leper tells Nicodemus and Lazarus. “The lookouts said that they found some lambs caught in a thicket. I will send Ardon and Irad to get them so that they can prepare them for the wedding feast.”

Nicodemus tells them, “My wife has set aside some supplies for you Jorim. Andrew will be back soon, with everything on my list.

“Jorim, we will help you prepare the cave for your wedding chamber.” He puts his arm around his future son-in-law and says, “We will do the climbing for you. We do not want you to fall and end up dead like the last time. Leah does not want to wait another three years for her wedding.”

Jorim sweeps the cave with a branch from a bush. His friends bring oil lamps and set them on the rock shelves. Lazarus cuts several cedar branches. Jorim unfolds the blankets and lays them on the bed. Simon the Leper and Lazarus set up some poles for the Chuppah.

Andrew returns with two tents and some of the other supplies on the list. He tells Nicodemus, “My mother and her friends are preparing some food for the wedding feast and will send it by boat. I went to the synagogue in Capernaum and gave your letter to Jairus the priest. He said he will come later today. He gave me this letter for you.”


Nicodemus goes off alone to read the letter from his friend Jairus.



I praise God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that you are safe. I thank my God every time I remember you. Thank you for writing me about Jesus and how you believed He is the Son of God.

A lot has happened since I talked to you last. My daughter was sick. I went and knelt before Jesus and told Him, “My daughter is dying. I know if You come and put Your hands on her, she will live.” Jesus got up and came with me.

I was getting impatient; my daughter was dying. and Jesus stopped along the way and healed a sick woman.

I complained to his disciples, but they said it was useless to try and hurry Jesus.

Jesus took his time and stood there talking to the woman that He had just healed.

I saw some of my friends coming towards me and noticed they had been crying. They told me, “Come home. It is too late Jairus, your daughter is dead. You do not need to bother the teacher anymore?”

Jesus walked over to me and said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He only allowed a few of his disciples to go with us.


Finally, I arrived home and Jesus entered my house by the synagogue. The crowd was noisy and people were wailing.

Jesus told the people, “Go away. The girl is not dead, but is asleep.”

The crowd laughed at Jesus. It was hard to convince them to leave. After the people left the house, Jesus went in and took my daughter by the hand. She opened her eyes and got up and said she was hungry.

Jesus told my family, to get her some food to eat and not to tell anyone what happened in the room that day.

When the crowd, who had gathered outside my home, discovered that Jesus had raised my daughter from the dead, they traveled all throughout the town and the neighbouring country telling everybody they saw what had taken place.


I sent my servants to thank Jesus and invite him for supper. I wanted to talk with Him.

They followed Jesus and reported back to me. “We heard two blind men say, “Have mercy upon us Son of David!”

Jesus followed them to their home and asked them, “Do you believe that I can do this?”

The blind men both said, “Yes Lord.”

Jesus reached out his hands and touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith it will be done to you.”

The two blind men opened their eyes and could see.

Later in the day, we watched as He healed a demon-possessed man who could not talk. The demon left him and he could speak.”

My servants told me, “Nothing like this has happened before in Capernaum.”

I will arrive tomorrow, and I feel honoured to perform the wedding ceremony for you.

I am trying to keep a low profile. The temple guards and Roman soldiers’ have been here searching for followers of Jesus. We need to meet in secret.

I will share more when I see you.


Jairus the priest and his wife arrive with their daughter who Jesus raised from the dead. Nicodemus introduces everyone. They all help Jairus and his family set up their camp.

They carry the supplies from the boat to the cave to keep cool.

The men had set up a tent by the warm spring where the wedding will take place. They will use it to prepare the food. Long poles hang in front of it to hold the Chuppah that they will use in the wedding ceremony.

Nicodemus and Lazarus had put up the other tent for Leah and her bridesmaids in front of the waterfall.

They spend a few days getting ready for the wedding. They make several torches using cattails. They soak the top part of the bulrush in warm fat for two hours and then let them hang upside down until they are dry. They plan to use them for the procession, that will wind its way to Leah’s tent near the waterfall.

Ardon and Irad gather wood. They prepare the two lambs and a deer to cook the following day. They will roast slowly over the hot coals. They arrange for two young men to take turns adding more hot coals and to turn the meat when it needs it.

The wine-skins are chilling in the cool spring water in the cave. Everyone is getting ready for the wedding.


A lookout on the hill blows the ram’s horn twice. Someone is coming and they are friends.

They look up and see a group of about twenty people walking down the hill. Ardon, Irad, and Jorim go up to help them. When they get closer the young men start to run. It is their parents. 

“My son, my son; look Ethan, our son Jorah is alive.” Jorah falls into his mother’s arms.

When she can catch her breath she says, “Instead of going to your wedding three years ago, I prepared your body for your funeral. Let me look at you. You have two legs. What happened to the scar on your hand? Jorah, I buried you, and now you are alive.”

She is so overcome with excitement that she faints. Jorim wipes her brow with cold water. When she can sit up, her husband Ethan gives her a sip of wine. They need to help her down the hill.

Ardon and Irad greet their family. Their mother and father have a difficult time recognizing them, with their new clothes and without a beard. Their mother shyly gives her sons, who look like strangers, a hug.

Their father says, “It will be hard to remember your new names. Which one of you is Irad?

Iram smiles and says, “I am Irad and this is my brother Ardon.”

Their younger brother Zan says, “I recognize your voice, but I would never recognize you if I saw you in a crowd. What happened to you? Are you sure you are my brothers?

“Yes, we are,” Irad says. “Only our names and appearance has changed. We will always be your older brothers Zan. It is good that you did not recognize us.”

They walk slowly down the hill together.

Later in the day, when they finish setting up their camping spot, Irad says, “Never call us by our birth names again. Our life is in danger. I am Irad and Ariel is Ardon now. “Maybe we can go home with you and become your long-lost cousins. I miss mother’s cooking.”

Their father says, “That might work Irad. I can always use another overseer on the farm. I am not getting any younger. The two of you could live in the cottage by the bush and join us for the main meal every night.”

“It is tempting Father, but Ardon and I need to go back to Bethany with Simon the Leper and tell the truth about the biggest cover-up of the torn veil. We know it will be dangerous, but the people need to know that Caiaphas and Annas had Jesus, our promised Messiah, put to death on a Roman cross.”

“Irad and I will try and come to visit you after we know what is going on. Simon the Leper has given us a servant to protect us. We will send him with a message to let you know. If the temple guards catch us at your home, our whole family will be put to death.”

Irad says, “Father it is lucky that your name is Levi. Nicodemus did not have to change your name. There must be at least twenty Levi’s in every village. I will always be the son of my father Levi.”

Levi says, “Irad when you came home from your duties at the temple last week, you were as white as a ghost. You said, ‘Hurry father, lock all the doors and close all the blinds. Our family needs to pack our bags and go through the basement and flee the city. You said that everyone, but you and Ariel must be gone by morning, or the temple guards will kill us.’

“What happened to you? Why did you have to go into hiding and change your identity?”

Irad says, “I was doing my priestly duties in the holy room when I heard a loud noise. I looked up. I stood in front of the Holy of Holies mesmerized with fear, as I watched the veil of the Holy of Holies tear from top to bottom. God tore the veil in half!

“I found Caiaphas and told him what I saw. After examining the veil, he came over and looked me in the eye. His hand shook with anger, as he waved the razor-sharp sacrificial dagger inches from my throat.

“He told me, ‘Your family will all be killed like a sacrificial lamb, if you tell anyone that God tore the veil. Bring your brother Ariel to the holy room tomorrow.’

“I rushed home and helped our family escape. My brother and my life were in danger, so we changed our identities and clothing.” He gives his father a hug. “It is too dangerous for you to call us by our birth names anymore. I will always be Iran son of Levi in my heart, but from now on I will have to be called Irad, which means fugitive.”

Ardon says, “I was sent as a witness by Caiaphas to watch Jesus be crucified on the Roman cross. Before He died Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ At that very moment, I knew Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. I fell to my face and wept.

“The ground under me started to tremble. When I looked up, the sky was black. I heard the rams horn blow, announcing the evening sacrifice.


“I went to the temple with Iram the next day. I saw the torn veil. Caiaphas gave me this knife and told me to cut some of the threads from it and bring them to him.

“While I stood in front of the veil, I heard the voice of God beckoning me to come to Him. I did not feel worthy. I cut some strands from the veil and put the knife in my tunic and ran to where Iram told me to meet him. We have been in hiding ever since.”


He gives his father a hug. “I can no longer be called Ariel but will be called Ardon which means roaming. I will always have to roam and will never have a home.

“We were in the upper room with Jesus disciples on the evening of his resurrection. Jesus came into the room through locked doors and talked with us. I saw His feet and His hands with the holes from the nails in them. I saw His side where the Roman soldier pierced it with a spear. Jesus is alive.”



Under the Chuppah

The next day, Jorim’s father Ethan tells him. “You need to gather your groomsmen. You can go for your bride tonight.” They set up the Chuppah in front of the warm springs.

The procession, with Jorim and his groomsmen, will leave for Leah’s place as soon as it is dark. The wine and food are ready. Andrew’s mother and her friends sent several platters of sweets to serve at the wedding.

As is the Jewish custom, Jorim’s father Ethan says, “Jorim everything is prepared for your wedding. It is time to go to the tent of the woman you are betrothed to and bring her to stand under the Chuppah with you.”

Jairus the priest tells them. “The sun has set; it is time to start.” He prays for Jorim. “I pray that God will be with you as you go for Leah. Bring her to your wedding chamber to love and to cherish. My prayer is that all your descendants will follow in God’s ways and may the world be blessed by them.”


Jairus lights the first torch and hands it to Jorim. His father Ethan and the groomsmen stand in front of him. He touches their torch with his, and they burst into flame.

The procession wanders on the paths of the seven springs. The other wedding guests get up from their campfires and light their torches from the one Jorim holds. They join in the festivities. The light from their torches fills the night sky as the procession snakes its way along the crooked path.

As Jorim leads the procession, he thinks about how he missed his own wedding three years before, because he died. He wipes a few tears away with his free hand. ‘Thank You God, for giving me a second chance at life. I dedicate my life to You. Help me be a kind, gentle, loving husband to Leah, my beloved.’


Leah’s bridesmaids, along with her mother had pampered her for several days. They oiled her body with sweet perfume. It is soft and glistens as the sun shines through the opening in the tent. Her manicured hands reach down and feel the material of her wedding dress; the one her mother had made for her.

Her mother brushes Leah’s hair. Light brown ringlets bounce from off her shoulders. “I love you, my dear daughter.” She wipes a tear from Leah’s cheek as she holds her in a warm embrace.

Her sisters fidget with their bridesmaids’ dresses, while they wait for Jorim to arrive.

Her mother returns from peeking through the doorway. She gently takes Leah’s hand. “It is time Jorim will be here in a few minutes. I can see the lights from the torches on the hill below us.”


Her father asks permission to enter the tent. He smiles when he sees his radiant daughter. She is caressing the olive wood dove that Jorim gave her on the day of their engagement.

“Father, I never thought this day would come. I turned inward when Jorim died. I became angry with God. I know I could have married again when the men came to ask you for my hand, but I always told you no.”

Nicodemus says, “The last few years have been hard on you Leah. You and Jorim were best friends since you were little children. I felt your pain, but all I could do was pray and hope that someday you would be happy again. God answered my prayers.” He embraces her and says, “I hear your bridegroom coming.”

Her mother tenderly covers Leah’s radiant face with a veil. “He is here,” she whispers. “I will always love you Leah.”

Her Father reassures Leah. “Jorim will be a wonderful husband. He has always been an honourable man.”


There is a knock on the tent post. Her father asks, “Who is there? Why have you come this late at night?”

“It is Jorim, son of Ethan. I have come with my groomsmen to bring Leah to our wedding ceremony.”

Nicodemus says, “Leah and her bridesmaids are ready.”

The groomsmen take the arms of the bridesmaids and lead the procession. Nicodemus takes Leah’s arm and walks with her beside Jorim.

The bright torches cut through the darkness, as they head down the winding path.

Jorim goes ahead and stands in front of Jairus, under the Chuppah, the sacred wedding canopy. Tears come to his eyes as he remembers how Jesus had raised him from the dead. Today he would marry his beloved friend Leah.


Jairus starts the wedding ceremony. “Who has prepared this woman to become the wife of Jorim?”

“I, Leah’s father Nicodemus, have and give Leah to Jorim to become his wife.”

Nicodemus takes his daughter Leah by the arm and proudly walks beside her as they go slowly towards Jorim’s side, under the Chuppah. He lifts Leah’s veil revealing his radiantly beautiful daughter, “Jorim, will you accept Leah to be your wife?”

Jorim beholds the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. It takes him a second to catch his breath. His emotions are going wild. “Yes, I will take Leah to be my wife.” He takes Leah’s warm hand in his.

Nicodemus stands beside his wife. He removes something out of his pocket and hands it to her. His large hand encircles hers as she holds the three doves. She smiles at her husband and the meaning of the doves warms their heart.


Jairus says, “God has brought you here today, Jorim and Leah, to join you as husband and wife. Do you Jorim take Leah to love, respect, cherish and protect?”

“Yes, I will love, respect, cherish and protect Leah all the days of my life. I will lay down my own life for Leah if necessary. I pledge this before God and these witnesses.”

“Do you Leah, take Jorim, to love, respect and cherish?”

“Yes, I will love, respect and cherish Jorim all the days of my life. I pledge this before God and these witnesses.”

“Irad, do you have the rings?”

“I do,” Irad hands Jairus the wedding rings.

“Jorim, you may speak your vows.”

Jorim gazes into the beautiful eyes of his beloved; he places the gold band on her finger and recites the marriage vow. “Be sanctified to me Leah, with this ring, in accordance with the law of Moses and of Israel.”

Leah with indescribable emotions flowing though her looks at Jorim, as she puts the gold band on his finger and says, “Be sanctified to me Jorim, with this ring, in accordance with the law of Moses and of Israel.”

Jairus tells the couple: “The exchange of your wedding rings is the heart of your wedding ceremony, the point at which you are considered to be married, by God. By the authority granted to me, by Almighty God, I now bless you as husband and wife.”


“Let us pray. God, as we gather here today, to witness the marriage of Leah and Jorim, under the Chuppah, we need to remember that the Chuppah has no furniture and is open on all four sides. Let Leah and Jorim remember that a home represents people, not possessions and let their doors and hearts always be open to the needs of the men and women around them. Let their union of love bring forth many descendants, Godly men, and women. I pray that their love for each other will grow stronger every day.”


Leah and Jorim greet their wedding guests. They sit under the covering of the Chuppah, as they eat their wedding supper; then spend the night dancing and celebrating with their family and friends.

It is late when Jorim whispers in Leah’s ear, “It is time to go to our wedding chamber.”

Leah’s mother and sisters draw near and embrace Leah.

Jairus prays a special blessing for Jorim and Leah before they leave.


Jorim holds Leah’s hand and walks her up the path to the cave. He squeezes her hand. “You are my beloved Leah.” For the first time in their lives, Jorim and Leah are alone with each other.

“Leah when we are alone in the privacy of our home you will still need to call me Jorim. It has been so hard to give up my identity, but I have no choice.”


He enters with her into the cave. “Oh Jorim, it is beautiful.” A floral rug is on the floor. Several containers filled with wildflowers sit around the cave. Sweet incense is burning to remove the mustiness.

The Chuppah hangs from the ceiling over the bed. The bedspread is beautiful. There is a small fire pit by the doorway. “Come and sit by the fire with me Leah.” He leads her to a pile of cedar boughs covered with blankets in front of the fire. “Would you like something to drink or eat?”

“Some wine would be refreshing.”

An assortment of food and drinks sit on a white linen cloth. Jorim fills a plate with finger foods for Leah and places it on a small flat rock beside her. He returns with two tall goblets of wine.


He holds Leah in his arms. The moonbeams expose the surrounding hills and dance across the Sea of Galilee. The cool breeze feels refreshing. “I have something for you Leah. It is a wedding gift from my mother.”

He reaches around Leah’s neck and she feels the caressing touch of her husband’s fingers as he closes a clasp on a chain.

“Do you want to see it?” He hands his wife a mirror made of polished brass.

Something cool is hanging from a chain around her neck.

“I will light an oil lamp.” Jorim lights the lamp. He reaches his hand up to Leah’s throat and holds the jewel between his fingers. The light from the oil lamp shines through a sky-blue topaz jewel on a necklace. “This is a family heirloom and a gift from my mother.”

Leah holds the mirror in front of her neck. She catches her breath when she sees the jewel shining back at her.

“It is so beautiful Jorim!” she exclaims softly. “Are you sure you want to give it to me?”

“Yes, you should ask my mother about the history of the blue topaz necklace someday. It is a beautiful story.”

“I will treasure the necklace all my life. I will thank your mother for it when I see her. I love your mother. She has been kind to me ever since I was a little girl.”


“I have something for you Jorim.” She reaches into her pouch and pulls out three olive wood doves. They have been carved out of one piece of wood. Their feet clasp a wedding ring.

My father gave these doves to us as a wedding gift. He spent years carving them. He said that the three doves represent, God, Jorim, and Leah in our marriage. He said that he prayed with my mother every night while they held their doves in their hands. They asked God to bless their marriage.

“I remember my mother holding some just like these in her hands, as she cried out in anguish to God after you died Jorim. My mother said that my father had held the doves with her in their hands while they prayed for you every night after your accident.

“He said that his father gave him the doves when he married my mother. It is a family tradition that goes back hundreds of years.

“I love the doves Leah. I will have to carve a set for our children when they get married.” Jorim says a prayer thanking God for giving him his life back and for the woman he has loved ever since he was a little boy.


Jorim and Leah kneel in prayer to seal their marriage vows. “Thank You God, for bringing us together. Help us always live Godly lives as we hold these doves, that are intertwined together. We ask that the three of our lives will be intertwined forever. We ask You God, to bless us. Help us find special moments every day, to be together with You.”

Jorim wipes away their mingling tears with a soft white cloth. When they are through praying, he takes the doves,’ and puts them on a table near the opening in the cave. He pulls a makeshift curtain to give them privacy and banks the fire.


Their fathers set up the Chuppah over their bed, as is the custom of the Israelites. Jorim gathers Leah in his arms and gently takes her to his bed. He holds his wife, the special jewel who God gave him. “I will always love you Leah.”

Jorim takes Leah his wife into his arms, in the quiet of their bridal chamber. They express their unconditional love for one another.

Jorim promises Leah before he sleeps, “I will love you with an everlasting love.”

Leah gazes lovingly at Jorim. “I will always love you.”


It is a few days after the wedding. The women are packing. The men have been talking about leaving Tabgha.

Leah’s mother admires Leah’s necklace. She asks Leah about it. She tells her mother, “It is a wedding gift from my husband. Jorim said it belonged to his mother.”

Leah asks Jorim’s mother to sit with them. She says, “Thank you for the necklace. Jorim told me that I should ask you the history of it.”


“I will tell it to you Leah. The story of the blue topaz is recorded on a parchment scroll and has been passed down from generation to generation.

“One of my ancestors was a slave to a rich woman, who owned a store and sewed fine clothes, for rich people when she lived in Egypt. In obedience to Moses, she asked the woman for gold, silver, and cloth.

“Out of fear, the woman opened her shop and gave her a bag of her personal jewels, gold, silver, bolts of fine cloth, along with bags of dyed wool.

“It is written in the scrolls how my ancestor donated most of the wool and fine cloth to help build the tabernacle in the wilderness. She gave fourteen of the jewels to the temple workers, to use in the ephod of her uncle Aaron. He was the High Priests and they were put into his vest. She gave the blue topaz to her daughter Amiela and the ruby to her son Salmon.

“Salmon married Rahab and they were the parents of Boaz, who married Ruth and were the ancestors of David and Jesus.

“The scroll says that the blue topaz Jewel has always been given to the wife of the oldest son.

She touches the cool blue Jewel on Leah’s neck. “My husband Ethan gave me this Jewel on our wedding night. I have the scroll with the information in it. I will give it to you when we get home so that you can record in it and give it to your first-born son someday.”


Favourite Feast

The friends sit around the campfire and talk about their favorite temple feast. This will be the last time they will share a meal together for a while.


Ardon says, “My favorite feast is the Feast of Booths. God told Moses to have all the people live in booths for seven days after the harvest. We prepared all our meals over an open fire and ate them in our booths. We did this to remind us that our ancestors lived in the wilderness for forty years. The Feast of Tabernacles means, Divine Presence, and Remembrance.”

Irad says, “Our mother bought the choicest Etrog (a lemon-like citrus fruit) from the market. Groups of men took wagons and left the city together. They would split up. Some went to the palm groves and cut the green date fronds. Others would go to the side of the stream and cut armfuls of swaying willow. Some went into the hills and brought back boughs of myrtle and other leafy branches.

“Our family took what we needed and built a little booth in our yard, using the branches. We lived in them for a week.”

Ardon continues. “When we were finished helping our father we would make ourselves a Lulav. We tied a palm branch, three-myrtle twigs, and two willow branches together.”

Irad tells them. “The Lulav and Etrog represent the four species. They are symbols of the harvest season and of God’s abundant blessings. We use them to fulfill the command God gave us. Moses instructed us to take the fruit of the pleasant trees, palm branches, thick leafy boughs and willows of the brook and rejoice with them. At sundown, it was like the Sabbath and we rested and sang praises to God.”

He continues. “Every morning our family picked up the Lulav and Etrog. We waved them like this.” Irad and Ardon get to their feet. They pick up a goblet and a branch.

“We held the Lulav in our right hand and the Etrog in our left hand. We held our hands apart while saying a special blessing in unison.

“‘Blessed are You God our Lord, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to take the Lulav.’

“We brought our hands together so that the Etrog touched the Lulav bundle. We pointed and gently shook the four species three times in each of the four directions, as well as up and down.” The brothers finish talking and sit on the floor.

Ardon says, “This prayer ceremony was the way we prayed for adequate rainfall for all the vegetation of the earth in the coming year.

“Our family and friends traveled in a special procession around the temple in Jerusalem each day. Some days our father took us to the temple with a lamb and some grain.


Irad says, “My favorite feast is The Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread starts the next day and last for seven days.

“On the evening after Passover, God told the Hebrew people who left Egypt, not to allow their bread to rise, but to grab everything and leave. The ancient peoples used to gather yeast on grape leaves to leaven their bread if they needed to speed up the process, but God said, “Don't even let any leavening touch the dough. Just bake it and go.

“God then told them that in the future, they were to celebrate this feast by removing all yeast from their dwelling place for seven days.”

Arden says, “I can remember my mother washing all the dishes and cupboards the week before Passover. She left some small pieces of bread in our home in hidden places for my brothers and sisters to find. We would search until we found it and removed all the yeast from the house. Our father would sweep the crumbs and dust into a dustpan and take it out to the fire and burn it.

“God even told us what the yeast signified. My father would read from the sacred scroll and say, ‘The Yeast stands for sin.’ It started on the evening at Passover and for the next seven days. Our father would have us all sit around him and tell us, that the Feast is more about God and us working together. These ceremonies brought the people closer to their God and to each other.”



New Beginnings

Early the next day Andrew takes some of the wedding guests back to Bethsaida in the boats.

The men and disciples that are still at the Sea of Galilee sit around the fire and make plans for their future. It is time for them to break camp and leave for home.


Nicodemus says, “I will take my family back to Joppa. My brothers and cousins ran the family shipping business and farm, while I served at the temple in Jerusalem. The property has several small cottages, plus a large house with several rooms.

“I know it would not be safe for me to be seen in Jerusalem for a while. A good friend has offered to buy my house and property. My servants will bring my belongings to me.”


“Jorim and Leah said that they will come with us and live in one of the cottages. He will only be a few miles from his family, so they can visit each other.”

Jorim’s father Ethan tells them, “Nicodemus and I both have wagons with us. We will pack up and leave for home with him in the morning.”


Irad tells them, “Ardon and I have decided to go back to Bethany with Simon the Leper and Lazarus. We should be safe there. Our younger brother Zan did not recognize us.”


Nicodemus tells them, “The two of you can come and work for my family whenever you want. We always need men like you to help with the shipping.”

Ardon says, “Thank You Nicodemus, for making our new identities. I still have a tough time recognizing who I am, when I look in a pool of water. We will follow the leading of God and the Holy Spirit. Someday we hope to join you in Joppa.”


Simon the Leper says, “We will be leaving this afternoon. The soldiers are checking out every young man they see traveling in the area. Even false papers are not going to help if they stop us.

“We will stay off the main roads during the day and travel early in the morning and later in the evening after the sun sets. We will enter the cave through the entrance on the outside wall when we get to Bethany.

“We should split up. Irad, you can come with me and Ardon can go with Lazarus. That way we will not look as suspicious. One of my servants will travel with you and Lazarus to protect you.”


The women fill a sack with dried fish, lentil cakes, dried nuts, and fruits. They fill a wineskin with water. They head back to their camp and pack for the trip.

They sit and eat their lunch of flatbreads with lentil and fish stew. Plates of dried figs and almonds sit on a rock in front of them. When they finish eating, Simon says, “All the arrangements have been made.”


Jorim joins his cousins under the tree by the warm springs and tells them, “This past week has been exciting. I went from being a dead man to being risen from the dead. I married my childhood sweetheart, three years after I died. I had to change my identity. I saw our resurrected Saviour while I was in heaven and now I just saw Him here on earth.

“It is going to take a few weeks to get what happened to me straight in my mind. Meeting Jesus has changed my life forever.”


Ardon says, “We do not know when we will see you again Jorim. I know that Irad and I need to go to Jerusalem. We know it will be dangerous, but we need to tell the truth of the biggest cover-up of the torn veil. Caiaphas and Annas lied about the followers of Jesus vandalizing the temple.”

Irad removes one of the strands from the torn veil and hands it to his cousin. Ardon takes one of the silver coins out of his pouch and gives it to him also.

Ardon says, “Keep this as a testimony that we are telling the truth. I had Nicodemus help me write a document that said I was a witness when God tore the veil of the temple. Keep this parchment with you and if anything happens to us, pass it on to the Disciples of Jesus.”


Nicodemus comes over. He is joined by Simon the Leper, Lazarus, and Ethan. He says, “It is time for you to go. Let me pray for your protection.

“Dear God, please be with us as we journey in different directions. Keep us safe and help us share the truth. Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive. We all saw him…”

The four friends pick up their belongings and start for Jerusalem.

Levi squeezes his wife’s hand, as they watch their two sons disappear over the crest of the hill. His voice chokes as he asks her, “Will we ever see them again?”


Journey Home

The next morning, the people who are left, break camp. The servants and young people had moved most of their belongings to the wagons the day before. They load the two mules. All they need to carry is their personal belongings and a bedroll.

Jorim takes the hand of his bride and they follow the armed servants up the hill. His cousin Zan carries the two fire pots holding hot coals, which the servants will use to start the fire for cooking food along the way.

His mother and father follow him. Nicodemus and his wife take up the rear with Levi and his family. It is lunchtime when they finish hooking the mules to the wagons. The women give everyone a flatbread, stuffed with fish and dried fruit for lunch.

Nicodemus takes the lead and heads south. The rest of the people follow him. He knows of several paths that will cut off about twenty miles. This will keep them off the major Roman roads.

There is no straight route. At times, they are climbing down a steep path then back up it to the top. They journey through deep valleys and beside Mount Tabor. That is the way it is when you travel through Israel.

Ethan and Levi drive the two wagons. The servants’ scout ahead for Roman soldiers and temple guards.


Nicodemus finds a meadow by a stream and they spend the first night. He talks to the men as they sit around the campfire. “This section of the trip will be more dangerous. Previous travelers reported bandits attacking them on this stretch of road. Make sure that the woman and children stay near the wagons.

“You always need to be well armed and aware of what is going on around you. I have a box with a few weapons in my wagon. Take what you need.”

The men pick out their weapons and go talk with their family.

After breakfast, Nicodemus says. “We need to be careful today,” They pray and ask God to go ahead of them and keep them safe.

They start out and put the younger children in the wagons to protect them. The servants continue to scout out the area ahead.


Around noon, several outlaws attack the wagons. The travelers are prepared and pull out their weapons to defend them self. The bandits are surprised. Jorim puts a special round stone into a sling, twirls it around his head and flings it at one of the men. The rider falls to the ground and he is injured. Ethan ties him up.

Ravid and Simon capture two more bandits. The battle is over in five minutes and everyone in the group are safe.

Nicodemus tells them. “I know an officer in the Roman garrison at Antipatrs. My servant will take him a letter telling him about the bandits attacking us.

“We will camp down the road by the stream beside the bush and a steep cliff. I will show you where to put the wagons.”

They set up the camp. The women prepare a light supper of stew with dried lamb and lentils and cook it in a large pot over the fire.

The children watch, as Leah cooks a flat-bread on a hot flat pan in the fire. She gives them the first ones to share. When there is a stack ready, she calls everyone for supper. She scoops up some bowls of stew and walks over to where Jorim and Nicodemus are standing guard. She overhears her father say, “I am blessed to have you join our family Jorim. It was hard on all of us when Ravid could not save your life.”

Leah sits at her husband’s feet while she eats. It is good to feel loved. When they finish she gathers up the bowls and takes them back to the campfire to wash.

Nicodemus servant comes back and gives him a letter.


I got your letter. I will bring a few of my special soldiers to pick up your unwelcome guests. Your plan is a good one. See you before morning. Keep yourself safe. As you read this letter, I am waiting with my soldiers only a few yards away from you.


Nicodemus gathers the men around him and tells them about his plans. “We need to go to bed as if nothing has happened. Bank your fires and put out most of the torches. I think the other robbers will come tonight and try to rescue their three friends.

“The officer from the garrison at Antipatrs has several of his most skilled soldiers hiding in the bush only a few feet from us right now.

“After it is dark, my servants will lead us into the protection of the bush. The soldiers will come and hide behind the wagons and be ready to surprise the bandits if they come.”

Jorim states, “We have taken care of the three men we caught, so they will not be able to warn their friends. We need to ask God to protect us.”

They all pray to God.

The servants bank the fires and only keep a few torches lit. Everyone goes to bed with their clothes on. A few hours later, the men wake their families. The mothers put their hands over their children’s mouth and warn them not to speak. They follow Jorim and some of the other men into the bush.

The three bandits are gagged and tied to a tree.

The soldiers leave the cover of the forest. They hide behind the two wagons and wait. Just as the dawn breaks, they hear the whisper of some men. They are creeping up on the sleeping families. The bandits raised their knives in the air and were ready to strike, when the soldiers surprise them.

The bandits know that the soldiers outnumber them, so they drop their weapons.


When the situation is under control, the families go back to the campfire and prepare their breakfast.

Marcus persuades the youngest bandit to lead them to the group’s hideout, in return for clemency. Later in the afternoon, they reach the well-hidden camp through the cleft of a rock formation. They surprise the guard and take him captive.

The officer talks with the young boy that led them to the camp. Marcus gives him enough provisions for a week. “Run as fast as you can, if you know what is best. The gallows will be waiting if you are ever seen by me again.”

The boy says thanks and runs away disappearing over a far hill.

Several children and women are hiding in a rough shack. Nicodemus takes them, along with everything that had been stolen back to the camp on the cart. Leah recognizes Tori, one of the women who is from Joppa.

The women at the camp and provide them with a change of clothing. They take them to the river and they remove their soiled garments and bathe in the refreshing water.

Tori tells them, “My family was on our way home from Passover, earlier in the week. My three young brothers and I were walking behind the wagon when several men on horses swooped down and took us, prisoner. The other men tried to overcome the men in the caravan, but they were prepared. The bandits finally gave up.

“They covered our eyes with blindfolds and rode along a rough path with us sitting on the horse in front of them. My head was dizzy and I felt like I was going to faint. “When we reached their camp, they locked us up in an old dirty shack and told us they would deal with us when they got back. I heard one of them say that the pickings were good this time of year with all the travelers on the road.

One of the women in camp gave us food and water. We never did see the bandits again.”

The officer Marcus tells her, “Your family is safe and left for Joppa yesterday. We went out looking for you, but were never able to find the robbers’ hideout.”

After they eat supper, Nicodemus thanks Marcus.

Marcus makes sure that the prisoners are secure. He tells Nicodemus, “Now that we have captured the bandits, I can return to the garrison in Joppa. Thank you for all your help. They have killed quite a few people. The road around here will be safer now. I need you to take Tori and her brothers to Joppa? I will send some soldiers to protect you and your friends.”

Marcus rides his majestic horse and leads his platoon of soldiers as they take the seven bandits to the barracks in Joppa.


It is late in the day. Nicodemus tells the group. “The arrangements are made. We will stay for the night and head out in the morning.” They spend the evening saying their goodbyes. Levi and Ethan will go to Lydda. Nicodemus, Jorim, and Tori along with her brothers will go to Joppa.

They wake from a restful sleep. The soldiers wait for them to break camp. Some of the soldiers take a group to Lydda. The other soldiers go down a different road that leads to Joppa.

There is great rejoicing when they enter Joppa and reunite Tori and her brothers with their family.



Return to Bethany

Meanwhile back at Bethany, Simon the Leper and Irad climb through a hole in a cliff, which is hidden behind a large bush. One of his servants who had stayed behind kept a lamp lit for them. Simon picks it up and Irad follows him to the large room where they had stayed the week before.

Simon pulls the rope and his servant brings good news. He says, “The soldiers left the city a few days ago and your house has not been touched.”


Three hours later Lazarus and Ardon follow a servant into the cave to where they are waiting.

Simon asks, “How would you like to sleep in a real bed tonight? Ardon and Irad, you can come to my place. My servant has gone home to prepare a meal for us. Lazarus, it is safe for you to go home also. Mary and Martha are waiting for you.”

The men slip out of the cave after dark. Lazarus heads home and the rest of them make their way through the trees to Simon the Leper’s house. They have shut the heavy curtains. Simon says, “I have a servant on the roof. He will blow the horn if there is any danger. Keep everything with you in case you have to flee to the cave again for protection.”

Ardon and Irad follow a servant up to the bedroom. A warm jug of water sits in a basin beside the bed. They take turns washing the grime from their bodies. A short time later, a gong sounds announcing supper.

Simon picks up the scroll and reads from the Psalms.

“In my trouble, I cried to the LORD,

And He answered me.

Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you? You, deceitful tongue?”


Later in the day, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, along with several of the disciples of Jesus come to see them.

Martha says, “We have all our supplies packed. Mary, Lazarus and I will be moving to the upper room in Jerusalem tomorrow. Ardon and Irad, you can come with us if you want to.

“Some of Jesus disciples have already gathered in the upper room. We will wait there for instructions from Jesus. Reports have been coming in for several days, of people who have seen Jesus.”

Irad and Ardon tell Martha that they want to go with them.

Mary says, “There has been a lot of unrest in the city. I talked with several friends and they said the soldiers did not show any mercy when they gathered up the suspected followers of Jesus. They were taken to prison and questioned. Most of them have been released. They are still looking for the two priests Ariel and Iram who stole Aaron’s knife, and damaged the holy room in the temple.”


Simon says after their guests leave, “Irad and Ardon, you will have to travel in the same wagon that Lazarus used when he left Bethany. The guards are double-checking everyone who enters and leaves Jerusalem.

“My servant will take you through the outer exit of the cave tomorrow afternoon. Wait with him in the pomegranate grove outside Bethany. They will hide you in the false bottom of the wagon.

“When you get to Jerusalem, follow my servant to the upper room. Always keep your bedrolls and belongings with you, in case you need to escape.


“You will be on your own. If anything happens, split up and find your way back to the cave.

“There is a rope by the hole in the cave. Hold on to it and it will lead you to the front entranceway by the house. There is another cord. Pull it and if everything is safe, I will send a servant to get you.

“There is a flint and steel, with some char cloth and some fire making tinder in a small pot in your backpack. Use it to start a fire and light a torch. I have supplied the cave with wood, water, wine, and food.

“I will see you later. I have some business to take care of before I can come.”

Ardon and Irad go up to their room early to get a good night’s rest


When the brothers awake the see their clean cloaks and clothes sitting on a bench by the window. They pack their spare clothes into the bedrolls, pick up the wineskin and go down for breakfast.

Two men are sitting at the table. Simon introduces them to Ardon and Irad. “These are two of Jesus apostles, Matthew and Nathaniel. They came in late last night and will be going to the upper room in Jerusalem later today.”


After they eat, Simon asks, “Mathew would you read from the scroll you have with you?”

Mathew takes it out of a leather protective tub and unrolls it. He says, “I tried to write down everything Jesus taught us. Let me see. I have been memorizing the prayer Jesus said when we asked Him to teach us to pray.

“Jesus told us, ‘When we pray say,

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespass, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.’


“Jesus also said,

‘For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, Your Father will not forgive your sins.’”


Simon says, “Mathew, we should all try and memorize this prayer.”

I agree with you, “I will read one line at a time and you can write it out if you want.”

Simon talks to his servant and he brings several inkwells, feather pens and rolls of parchment and gives them to anyone who wants them.

Mathew starts with, “Our Father which art in heaven.

When everyone finishes writing Your Father will not forgive your sins, Matthew says, Try and read this prayer every day, until you have it memorized.

“The times ahead of us are uncertain. We do not know when the soldiers will come looking for us. This prayer that Jesus gave us will give you comfort in your time of need. Please take the time to memorize it and keep it in your heart.”

Mathew says, “This is the one David wrote,

A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Even, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

The men that can write, record the beautiful words on parchment.

Nathaniel says, “Jesus told us,

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Our friend Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“That is a mouthful, Nathaniel.” Matthew unrolls his scroll and reads. “I broke this one down to make it simpler to remember. This is what I wrote.”

Do not fear; believe in God and Jesus.

Jesus goes to prepare a place for us.

Jesus will come again and gather us to Him.

Jesus is the way and the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father but through Jesus.

The men write it on the piece of parchment. When it is dry they roll up the writings and put it into a leather tub that Simon the leper gave them. They take the pen and ink and put everything into a protective sack.

Nathanial says. “Thank You, Matthew. The way you break the teachings of Jesus into sort sentences makes it easier for me to understand.”

Simon interrupts them and says, “Irad and Ardon it is time to go. Follow the servant I have given to help you, and do everything he tells you to do. I will see you on Friday afternoon in time for the Sabbath.”


Pray, Our Father

Irad and Ardon hear a wagon coming. They are well hidden in the pomegranate grove. Simon’s servant goes out and talks to the driver. They pull the wagon off the road and drive it into the shelter of the grove.

Irad and Ardon help the servants remove the bags of barley from the wagon. The servants give them a wet scarf to cover their mouth and nose with, to prevent them from breathing the dust and coughing. They remove several boards and climb into a false bottom. There is only room for one person, so the brothers have a tight squeeze. The servant tells them, “You will not be removed until after it is dark.”

They are thankful for the wet scarf. Every time they drop a new bag of barley into the wagon it causes their tiny space to fill with dust. They keep their eyes shut and keep the cloth over their face. Soon the wagon starts to move. They feel every rut in the road. They cannot move.


After about an hour they stop. Someone asks, “Can we see your papers? The brothers hear footsteps as several heavy shod feet walk around the wagon. One of the men says, “We should empty out the wagon and see what is under the load. They start lifting out the bags of barley. The brothers start to shake. Are they going to catch us? They both pray in their heart,

Our Father which art in heaven,

Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

A man with an authoritative voice says, “What are you doing? Is their paperwork in order?”

A voice says, “Yes, this wagon comes into Jerusalem several times a week with food for the market.”

The Soldier says, “Put the bags back on the wagon.

Irad and Ardon pray and thank God, for answering their prayer.

The wagon continues without incident then stops. The servant whispers that he will unload the wagon after dark.


Several hours later they hear voices. People are unloading the wagon. They remove the boards and help the brothers out of their cramped hiding place. They give them a sip of wine.

Ardon says, “That was a close one.”

The servant says, “The guard at the gate is a follower of Jesus. He had gone home and arrived back just in time to rescue us. If they caught us with you, we all would have been arrested.”

Irad tells him, “Prayer does help. I started to say the prayer I learned last night. God is good.”

The servant says, “I will stay with you. I am a follower of Jesus also. If you need anything let me know. Simon the Leper wants me to take care of all your needs.”

The brothers thank him and brush the dust from their clothes. They follow him down several dark paths until he gets to the one leading to the home of Mark. The servant takes them up some outer steps and knocks on the door.

Mark opens it and they enter. Lazarus comes over and welcomes them. “The men are sleeping on this side of the room. There is a place to wash over there behind the screen. I will get you some food.”


Irad and Ardon remove their packs and wash the heavy dust from their face and arms. Lazarus brings in two plates of food. When the brothers finish eating, they put their bedrolls in a corner of the room and get ready for bed. They know that they cannot talk about what happened to them because several men are sleeping on the floor around them.



The Gathering

Early the next morning the men begin to stir. Ardon and Irad look around the room. They recognize several of the men who had gathered at Tabgha beside the Sea of Galilee. There had been around five hundred people there, so they did not get to know them well.


Two men come over. One of them says, “Irad and Ardon, you are Simon the Leper’s friends. I met you last night. My name is Matthew and this is my friend Nathanael. He is from Bethsaida and I am from Capernaum. Where are you from?

Irad looks at his brother and says, “We are from a place near Joppa.”

Nathanael says, “We have followed Jesus for several years. He asked us to be Apostles and teach what He taught us. Little did I know that when I said yes, I would stand on a hill and watch him slowly die, on a Roman cross.

“After his suffering, He rose from the dead and presented Himself to us and gave many convincing proofs that He is alive. He spoke about the kingdom of God.”


Matthew says, “The followers of Jesus spent time praying each day. One-day Jesus came and asked us to go with Him.

“He led us out as far as Bethany. He said, ‘Remember what I taught you. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.’

“Jesus also told us, ‘These signs will follow those who believe: In My name, they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’


Nathanael says “He told us, ‘Go to Jerusalem and wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit. John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.

“After Jesus said this, He lifted His hands and blessed us. While He was blessing us, He parted and He was carried up into heaven. Jesus was taken up in front of our eyes and a cloud hid Him from our sight.”


Matthew says, “We continued to look up into the sky as we saw Jesus going up. Without warning two men dressed in white stood beside us.

“They asked us, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.’”


The Disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy after seeing Jesus ascend into Heaven.

They stayed in the upper room. There were about one hundred and twenty people there. After breakfast, they spent time in prayer, then sang praises to their heavenly Father.

When they were finished singing, some of the Disciples and followers of Jesus went to the Temple to praise God and tell everyone that Jesus was alive, that He rose from the grave.


In the evening when the people return, Matthew walked over to a table and picked up a scroll made of parchment paper, along with some ink and a quill. He held them up and spoke to the people. “I wrote as much as I could each day, about what Jesus taught us.” Pointing to the table he tells them, “I have brought extra writing supplies for anyone to use.

“We need to sit in small groups and talk about what we learned when we spent time with Jesus. The new followers of Christ need to be taught what you learned while you were with Him. I always took notes so that I could remember everything Jesus said.

“I remember when Jesus talked about the little children. He said, ‘Be careful, don’t think these little children are worth nothing. You realize don’t you, that their personal angels are constantly in touch with my Father in heaven?’”


A little girl gets to her feet and tells her story. “The news had spread; Jesus and his disciples were coming to our small village. My mother asked me, ‘Anna, please help me get your brother ready. We are going to see Jesus today. We want to ask Him to bless our children.’

“We traveled down the rocky path towards our small village. My mother held my baby brother in her arms, while I ran ahead with the other children. I saw a group of people talking to a man. I ran back to my mother and said, ‘I can see Jesus up ahead.’

“My father walked over to a man and asked, ‘Are you one of Jesus’ disciples?’

“He said, ‘Yes, I’m helping Jesus. He is here to preach about the kingdom of God. Wait, where are you going with that baby and those children? Why did you bring babies with you?’

“My father told him, ‘We have brought our children with us so that Jesus can place His hands on them and ask God to bless them.’

“Meanwhile, I ran over to a tall man with a brown beard. He looked down at me and smiled. I asked him, ‘Are you, Jesus?”

“He said, ‘Yes,’ and asked, ‘What is your name?’

“I told him, I am Anna. I want you to meet my family.”

“He took my hand in His. I pulled Him over to where my father and mother were standing.

“The disciple had his back to us. He had his hand on my father’s shoulder. He said, ‘Take your children home. Our Master has so much work to do. People are coming and asking Him important questions. Jesus has no time for babies and children. Now go!’

“My father pleaded with him, ‘Please, we have come all this way for our children’s sake. We only want Jesus to bless them. Please do not send us away.’

“The man became angry and said, ‘Jesus has no time to waste on little children. Take your children home.’

“Jesus heard what the disciple was saying and told him, ‘Let the little children come to Me. Do not keep them away. Do you not realize that God’s kingdom belongs to those who are like children? Anyone who will not receive God’s kingdom like a little child. will never enter it.’

“Jesus took the time to bless all of us. He picked me up and hugged me. I sat on his knee. He told us about His father in heaven and said that God loved each of us. He gave me a special hug and said, ‘I love you Anna.’


Matthew thanks her and says, “Jesus also talked about the Lost Sheep. Tax collectors and sinners came to listen to Jesus teach. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to complain. They said, ‘Look! This man eats with sinners and spends a lot of time with them!’

“Jesus told us this story: ‘A man had 100 sheep and when he counted them there were only 99 sheep. One of them was missing. What do you think the man will do?

“He will leave the other 99 sheep there in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep. He will continue to search for it until he finds it. After he finds it, he will be very happy. He will put it on his shoulder and carry it home. He will tell his friends and neighbors, ‘Be happy for me because I found my lost sheep!’

“He said, ‘In the same way, I tell you, heaven, is a happy place when one sinner decides to change. There is more joy for that one sinner than for 99 good people who did not need to change.’”


Ardon stands to his feet. Tears are running down his face. He says, “This reminds me of when I was a little boy. We were on our way home from Passover and had stopped for the night by a stream. I begged my father to let me go fishing. He said, ‘You can go.’ He took me to sit by a tree and told me, ‘I need to go and do some work. Don’t go anywhere.’

“After catching a lot of fish, I put my wooden pole down. I saw a baby deer in the trees and decided to get a closer look. The deer kept moving and then ran away into the thicket. I tried to follow but could not keep up.

“I stopped and looked around me. All I could see were trees. I kept walking hoping I would find the stream. I was lost and it was getting darker. I tripped over a log and fell into a deep hole in the ground. I couldn’t get out. I called out to my father, but no one answered.

“I began to cry. It was so dark that I was not able to see my hand. I fell asleep and when I woke up, I could see some light above me. I was cold and hungry. There was water dripping from a rock at the side of the pit, so I had something to drink.

“The sun was starting to set when I heard my father call my name. He had heard me calling. He said that he would come back with a rope and climb down to get me. He dropped a package of food wrapped in a cloth down to me. I munched on dates and a crust of bread, while I waited for him.

“When my father came back, he tied a rope around his waist and climbed into the pit to rescue me. He gathered me in his arms and our tears mingled as we hugged.

“The men pulled us out. My father anointed my scrapes and cuts with healing oils. It felt good to have my injured arm and knee wrapped in clean cloths. He picked me up and set me on his shoulder and carried me back to the camp where my mother’s arms welcomed me. She put me to bed and covered me with her tears.

“This parable of Jesus will always have a special meaning to me. I got lost once. My father loved so much that he searched until he found me. He never gave up.

“Jesus does the same. If someone is lost, He will never give up and when He finds them, He will rejoice with His Father and the Angels in Heaven.”

Ardon goes back and sits with Irad and Jorim. Irad puts his arm around his brother and says, “I will always remember the day you got lost. I sat beside mother as she wept. Her friends gathered around her and held her up in prayer, while they waited for the men to find you.

“On the second day, my father ran into the camp shouting, ‘I found him. Get me a rope and come help me get him out of the pit he fell into.’

“The men followed him. The women began to sing. Tears were flowing down my cheeks when I saw you sitting on father’s shoulder later in the day. You were covered in mud. We rejoiced well into the night. Ardon was lost and his father found him.”


One day, Irad and Ardon are sitting with several people in the upper room. They read from the sacred scrolls, sing praises to God and pray for more knowledge and wisdom. They share what they had learned under the teaching of Jesus.


Philip says, “I remember Jesus saying in the upper room, on the day of his resurrection ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ I think we should take the time to talk about His teachings. Most of what Jesus taught us is making sense to me now.

“We need to pray and ask God to help us understand all the teachings of Jesus. Also, we need to talk more about the Helper that He promised to send us.”


Peter says, “I remember, that we all sang hymns of praise and thanksgiving together after the Passover meal was over.

“That day changed our lives forever.”

John says, “We took a late evening walk to the Mount of Olives. Everything happened so fast that night and we never had time to talk about what Jesus taught us.”

“It is still confusing. Jesus told us, that He had a new commandment for us. We were to love each other, the same way that He loved us. He said, if we did this, all men will know that we are his disciples.”

“We need to take it one line at a time,” Matthew says, “That was an important lesson that Jesus taught us I will break it down.” He writes on the scroll and says,

New Commandment

Love each other

The same way that Jesus loved us.

Do this and all men will know

We are Jesus disciples


They all sit and discuss this scripture.

After they had eaten supper they gather in small groups again.

Peter says, “I am still puzzled over when Jesus said,

‘If you had known Him, you would have known His Father also; from now on you know His Father and have seen Him.’”

Matthew says, “I think Jesus was telling us that He is God. Remember when Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly, if we believe in Him and that He, is in the Father and the Father is in Him.’

“In addition, Jesus said, the works that He did, we will do also.

“Jesus also said, ‘that greater works than these we will do, because He goes to the Father.

He also told us, ‘Whatever you ask in His name, He will do it, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you love Me, you will keep God’s commandments.’”


When Mathew finishes talking, Peter asks, “What did Jesus mean when He told us that He will ask the Father and the Father will give us another Helper, that He may be with us forever? He also said it is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him, or know Him. He said we would know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”


Mathew writes,

The Father will give us another Helper.

The Spirit of truth may be with us forever.

The world cannot receive because

It does not see The Holy Spirit or know Him.

You know The Holy Spirit because

He abides with you and will be in you.”


Peter says, “Thanks for breaking it down for us Matthew. It makes more sense when I replace the Me, Him, and I, with the name, Jesus, God or the Holy Spirit.”

John says, “It is getting late. Thank you for helping us Matthew. We will have to get together and talk more.

“Matthew, do you have some extra parchment and ink? I would like to start to write down some of the things we discussed today. I like the way you break the wording down and talk about it. This will help me remember and understand what Jesus taught us better.”

Matthew reaches into his pouch and pulls out a bottle of ink, and a quill along with a large roll of parchment. He gives them to John and says. “I have more if you need it. We did learn a lot from the teachings of Jesus in the past few years. I would not have remembered most of it if I had not taken notes.”

The men sit and talk for a while, then go over to a corner and pick up their bedroll and lay it on the floor.



The days after the Ascension were busy. Some of the people picked up a quill and sat quietly recording their memories on parchment paper. Others sat in small groups, learning about what Jesus taught about love, forgiveness, life, death and His resurrection. The women joined them after the work in the kitchen was finished.

The Holy Spirit was already changing their lives and preparing them for what would soon take place.



The Holy Spirit

Some of the followers of Jesus returned to the upper room. They sat and talked for most of the night about what had taken place earlier in the day.

Matthew says, “On the day Jesus ascended into Heaven, He told the disciples that were with Him, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem. You are to go to the upper room and wait for the promise of the Father, which I have told you about.’ He told us, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.’

“Jesus said, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon His followers in the upper room. He also said that we would become witnesses of Him in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”


Lazarus says, “I will never forget that day. About one hundred and twenty people sat praying and reading from the holy scrolls in the upper room. Suddenly there was a sound from heaven like the rushing of a mighty wind. It filled the house where we were sitting.

“Tongues like fire appeared and sat on our heads. Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit, that gave all of us the ability to speak with another language that was not our own.”

Ardon says, “Dedicated Jews from every nation under heaven were dwelling in Jerusalem that day. When this sound was heard, several groups of people came together, and I heard them say, ‘these people are all from Galilee.’ They were amazed and marveled because everyone heard us speaking in their own native tongue.

“Others mocked us and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’”


Simon says, “Peter boldly stood up with the eleven disciples, and said. ‘You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you and listen to my words. For these men are not drunk as you think. It is only nine o’clock in the morning.’”

“We listened as Peter continued to speak,” Irad says, “‘Everything that has happened today was spoken about through the prophet Joel.

“‘Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In the last days, God says I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants, men and women alike, and they will prophesy.

“‘And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

“‘And everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved’”


Lazarus says, “I remember Peter testified and exhorted them saying, ‘Let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!’

“His words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’

“Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away, all who have been called by the Lord our God.’

“Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation!’”


Irad says, “When Peter was finished talking, “I sat and spoke to a group of Jews from Greece about Jesus. One man told me his name was Theodis and asked me, ‘How did I know how to speak his language. He said that every word that came out of my mouth was spoken in the dialect of his home-town of Nicosia, on the Island of Cyprus.’

“I told him, When the flame of the Holy Spirit landed on me it empowered me to speak in his language.

“He said he was a Jew, and invited me to come and talk with his family and some of his friends from Greece.

“We gathered in a circle. I told them that Jesus, the man that the Romans had crucified at Passover, was their promised Messiah.

“I shared about the veil being torn in the holy room, while Jesus died on the cross.”

“I was brave and took some of the torn veil and silver coins from around my waist and showed it to them.

“They all began to weep and asked God to forgive their sins. They asked me how they could be baptized.

“I told them that I would talk to the disciples and let them know.”

Irad continues, “I went and talked to Mark and he told me that the disciples of Jesus would gather at a pool outside Jerusalem. Some men had gone on ahead to make the arrangements. The new believers in Jesus would be baptized there.


“I watched as three thousand people fell on their face before God and repented. They gladly received Peter’s word and were baptized. When they came to shore after their baptism, they were filled with the Holy Spirit of God.”


Several days had passed since the followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit in the upper room. There were more people who asked for baptism every day. There was no room big enough for everyone to meet, so they gathered in the homes of other believers and talked about Jesus.

If they saw someone begging on the street they would bring them into their home and clean them up, provide them with food and if possible find them some work. Many people were healed. They provided for the widow and orphans and there was no poor among them.


Ardon and Irad who are filled with the Holy Spirit, visit several homes. They are telling them the truth about the biggest cover-up and how Caiaphas lied and said that some followers of Christ tore the veil in the temple. They show them the silver coins and some strands of wool from the torn veil.

When they get back to Simon the Leper’s house, Lazarus is there.

Simon says, “It is not safe for the two of you to stay in Jerusalem anymore. Joanna’s husband Chuza has sent me a message. The word has gotten back to Caiaphas that you are in Jerusalem and the temple guards have begun to search for you.”

Irad tells him, “We know. Ardon and I have been telling the followers of Jesus about the lies of Caiaphas and showing the strands from the torn veil and the silver coins. We told them the truth of the biggest cover-up of the torn veil.”



Aaron’s Holy Dagger

Ardon and Irad pack their backpacks and bedrolls. They had been filled with the Holy Spirit for several days. There is nothing more for them to do in Jerusalem. It was time for them to go to Joppa and start a new life working for Nicodemus.

They have so much to tell their family. They will always have to keep their new identity. Their old names, Ariel and Iram will never exist again.


Ardon tells Simon and Lazarus, “I have to take Arron’s sacred dagger to the temple tomorrow. I know it will be dangerous, but I am not a thief. It has been over sixty days since Jesus died on the cross and the veil was torn.”

He removes the sacred dagger from the pouch on his waist and held it out for everyone to see. Ardon tells them, “This is the same dagger that Arron held in his hand when he sacrificed the animals on the altar of God in the Tabernacle.” He hands it to Simon the Leper.

Simon takes the dagger and holds it reverently in his hand before passing it to Lazarus.

They sit in silence remembering the stories they had been told about Moses and Aaron and their life in the wilderness.

Simon and Lazarus insisted on going to the Mount of Olives to help Ardon and Irad with their plans.

Ardon and Irad retrieve their priestly robes from the place in the rock where they hid them.

This might be the last time the brothers will see Simon and Lazarus again.

It is still dark when they slip the garments over their clothes. They had not shaved for two weeks so that they would look like priests.

They put everything that they would need for their trip in the hollow under the olive tree. After brushing their tracks away with a branch, they join Simon the Leper, and Lazarus.


The friends say goodbye. When the sun starts to light up the morning sky, the brothers walk down the crooked path towards Jerusalem.

They go to where the sacrificial sheep are kept. Irad and Ardon pick up two baby lambs and put them over their shoulders. They use the lambs to hide their face when they walk through the sheep gate.

The brothers knew all the rituals at the temple because they had done them for several years. They take the lambs to the preparation area and tie their feet together. Ardon takes Aaron’s holy dagger and places it on the altar beside the lambs, then they quickly leave the temple.

After going through the sheep gate, they hide behind a rock enclosure and remove their priestly robes. They find a hole in the rocks and stuff them into it, covering them with some loose rocks and dirt. They take the time to brush away their tracks, then head up the hill to the olive grove to retrieve their belongings.

They sit in the shelter under the roots of the olive tree. They have decided to wait until dusk before setting out on their journey.

Irad pulls out his knife and says, “We need to shave again. This knife is not as sharp as Aaron’s dagger, so I will need to sharpen it.” After they are through, they pick up the bottle of tanning stain that Rufus made them and rub it on their face.

It is going to be a long night, so they try to get some sleep.

When the sun begins to set, they head out on their journey. They travel for most of the night then get off the road and hide behind a large bush when they see some people walking towards them.


They hear a familiar voice. It is Hilbert, one of the temple guards. The brothers keep well-hidden as they look through the bush.

Hilbert grumbles as he sits on a rock. “Shawn, I am getting to old to go on foot patrol anymore.

“Caiaphas threatened to kill me. He said, ‘Hilbert, you are one of my most trusted temple guards.’ He pulled Aaron’s dagger that Ariel and Iram had returned out of his belt and pointed it at me. He shouted in anger, ‘Can you explain how Ariel and Iram could slip by you and place this holy dagger on the altar?’

“‘Take Shawn the young temple guard with you and kill Ariel and Iram. Do not come back, unless you have proof that they are dead.’ He touched the razor-sharp edge of the dagger to my throat and said, ‘I am skilled at using this dagger; you know what I mean.’”

Shawn asks, “What are you going to do if we cannot find them Hilbert?”

“I have no other options, I either kill the priests or Caiaphas will kill me. I helped myself to some gold from the temple treasury.” He holds up a large pouch. Ardon and Irad hear the clicking of some coins. “Caiaphas will think Ariel and Iram stole it when they were at the temple yesterday.”

“I plan to get on a ship and travel to where I will never have to see Caiaphas again. You can come with me if you want.

“We better get moving, it is a long way to Joppa. The bright sun will soon make it too hot to walk.”

The guards drink from the wineskin, then start up the steep hill.


The brothers wait until the guards are gone. Ardon takes a deep breath and asks, “Did you recognize Shawn?”

“Yes, I remember seeing him at the door to the holy room at the temple, the day the veil was torn.

“Will these lies ever stop? We need to make new plans because it will be too dangerous for us to travel to Joppa. Do you have any ideas Ardon?”

 “We will only be able to travel after dark and should stay off the main roads. There will be other guards looking for us. We should pray and ask God for wisdom.”

The brothers pray to God. They have been given the Holy Spirit, God’s Comforter to guide and direct them.

After praying, and talking it over, they decide to continue to Joppa and ask Nicodemus for his advice.




A few days later, they knock at the back door of Nicodemus’s house. The servant recognizes them.

He tells them, “Nicodemus will not be home for awhile. I will have someone pour you a warm bath, so you can wash the dust from your weary body. They will provide you with new clothing. Food will be waiting in your room when you are finished. Try and get some rest.”

The brothers enter a room which has everything they need. They wash the dust from the past few weeks from their weary bodies, then they dress in the new clothes. The tunics are weaved with the finest linen.

They eat the food supplied for them and then rest in their bed.


They are awakened by a knock at the door. A servant says, “Nicodemus is home and wants to talk with you. Come with me.”

Nicodemus greets them as they enter a room that has several scrolls and a large desk. He shuts the heavy door and gives his two friends a hug. “Tell me what brings you to Joppa? I thought you were going to stay in Jerusalem for a while.”

“We were, but God filled Ardon and me with His Holy Spirit a few days ago. We will tell you everything later, but it is important for you to know what happened to us on our way here today.

Ardon tells him how they returned the sacred dagger to the temple. He also lets him know what the temple guards, Hilbert and Shawn said about Caiaphas.

Nicodemus says, “I want you to meet some of my friends who are followers of Jesus. This is a small community. The temple guards, Hilbert and Shawn will be found soon.”


The gong sounds. Nicodemus picks up a scroll and they follow him out of the room.

Nicodemus talks to one of his servants before he takes his place at the head of the table. He opens the scroll and starts to read, “This is from the Psalm’s

I will wash my hands in innocence; so, I will go about Your altar, O LORD, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works.

LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells.

Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes.

But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; redeem me and be merciful to me. My foot stands in an even place; in the congregations, I will bless the LORD.”


He sits down and the servants enter with trays of food.

When they finish eating, Nicodemus says to Ardon and Irad, “I chose that Psalm for you. I know that you are innocent of all the false charges made up by Caiaphas. I will tell you the rest of the plans I have for you later.”

The servant says, “Nicodemus, Shawn is here and insists on talking with you.”

Shawn the young temple guard who had been searching for them enters the room.

Nicodemus gives him a hug and says, “Welcome home Shawn. I hope you had a safe trip from Jerusalem.”



The Truth is Told

‘Is Nicodemus a traitor? Has he sold us for the fifty pieces of silver?’ Irad and Ardon’s hearts begin to race. With a trembling whisper, Ardon asks Irad, “Why is our enemy visiting Nicodemus?”

Nicodemus sees the panic on the faces of the brothers. He says, “Irad and Ardon, you can relax, Shawn is a follower of Jesus. He is my nephew, the son of my wife’s brother.

“I was not able to tell you about Shawn before because he also knew the truth of what happened at the temple. He was there the day the veil was torn. Shawn, can you tell your story?”

 “I was standing guard at the temple door when I heard a loud noise coming from within the holy room. The earth began to tremble, and the sky turned as dark as midnight. I fell to my knees with fear. I saw a priest leave the room and return with Caiaphas.

“The next day, Caiaphas summoned me to go to his house. He took out a parchment and began to write. After he placed his seal on it, he said, ‘Take this letter to Eliezer, the master temple weaver in Jerusalem.’

“I stood there while Eliezer read the letter. His face got red with anger and he threw the letter towards the fire and left the room. I retrieved it and after putting out the flame I hid it in my tunic.

“When Eliezer came back he handed me a written message to deliver to Caiaphas. He mumbled under his breath, ‘I would never…, how dare he ask me to do that?’

“I stopped at Nicodemus’s house on the way back to the temple, and gave him the singed parchment that I rescued from the fire.”

Holding a slightly burnt parchment in his hand, Nicodemus reads.

Eliezer, the temple veil was torn by God. I need you to bring several of your most gifted weavers to the temple to repair it for me. The Jews must never find out the truth of the torn veil.


After everyone finished examining the parchment, Nicodemus puts it away into a protected pouch.

Ardon asks Shawn, “What happened to Hilbert?”

Shawn says, “He used his own money to pay for passage on the first ship leaving Joppa. I refused to go with him. While he was waiting to go on board, he fell asleep. I removed the pouch with the temple coins and filled it with stones instead.

“I watched as the ship disappeared over the horizon. Hilbert will be on the high seas before he discovers the stolen money is missing.” Shawn empties a bag of gold temple coins onto the table.


A servant comes to the door. Nicodemus asks him to take Shawn up to his room.

When Shawn is gone Nicodemus says, “Irad and Ardon, I am sorry that I had to keep the information about Shawn from you.

“I have sent my servant to bring your family here tomorrow. You will always have to keep your new identity. The two of you will be safe now. I will see you in the morning. I want to hear what happened since I saw you last.”

The brothers have a hard time sleeping. They think about everything that had happened in their life, since the death and resurrection of Jesus.


They had just dozed off when the gong woke them. They prepare for the day, and then go down to the room where the servants are setting out breakfast.

As is his custom, Nicodemus picks up a scroll and reads,

‘I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so, shall I be saved from my enemies.’”


Shawn, Irad, and Ardon spend some time getting to know each other. Shawn tells them, “I had been asked by my uncle, Nicodemus to keep an eye on You. It was hard, but I would purposely lead the other temple guards down the wrong path. After I saw what they did to several followers of Jesus I made up my mind to stop being a temple guard. I will work for my uncle Nicodemus full time instead.”

When they are through eating, Nicodemus reads from the Psalms once more.


“The LORD lives!

Blessed be my Rock!

Let the God of my salvation be exalted.

It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies.

You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man.

Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.”


Later in the day, Jorim enters the room with Irad and Ardon’s parents. After welcoming her sons home, their mother goes to the kitchen to help the women prepare the food.

Irad and Ardon father spends some time talking to Nicodemus.

Jorim, Irad, and Ardon go out to the garden and walk around. They sit around the desk and talk.


Nicodemus sends for them later in the day.

Irad and Ardon’s father Levi says, “Nicodemus and I have been talking. Nicodemus wants you to go to the city of Nicosia, on the Island of Cyprus and work with Shawn and his father. They will teach you how to manage Nicodemus family’s shipping companies. The ship will be setting sail in five days. Pray about it and talk it over. You can let us know.”

A servant comes to the door and says, “Your guests are waiting for you Nicodemus.” He gets to his feet and says, “Irad and Ardon, I have invited some believers of Jesus to come and hear your story.”


They follow the servant into a large room where men women and children are sitting in a semi-circle.

Nicodemus introduces them. He says, “These are my friends Irad and Ardon. They have just arrived from Jerusalem and will tell us what happened to them there.”

Irad looks across the room and sees Shawn standing beside his new friend, Theodis from Nicosia.

Shawn comes over and says, “Irad, this is my Father Theodis. Thank you for witnessing to him on the day of Pentecost. Because of you, my family are all followers of Jesus. Everything is going to work out. God is in control.”

Irad goes to the front of the room and boldly says, “Jesus Christ, the man that was crucified on the Roman cross, is our promised Messiah.”

Ardon says, “Jesus is alive and rose from the dead on the third day. Irad and I spoke with him on several occasions, while we were in Jerusalem. We also saw Him at the Sea of Galilee. Jesus promised us that He would not leave us alone and that His Father would send the helper, the Holy Spirit, in His name.

“He said that The Holy Spirit will remind you of everything that I have ever told You.”


Irad says, “On the day of Pentecost, about 120 people were gathered in the upper room with Jesus disciples. We heard a mighty whistling wind and tongues of fire landed on our head. Jesus sent us His Holy Spirit like He promised us He would do.

“I began to speak in tongues. I was filled with the spirit of God. Peter asked the people to repent of their sins and be baptized. I witnessed thousands of people being baptized with water and filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Theodis gets to his feet and gives Irad a hug. He says, “Everything Irad told you is true. I heard him speak in my language and it was in the same dialect of my home-town. My friends and family joined me in the water and we were baptized. Later we were filled with the Spirit of God and started to testify in a different language about the greatness of God and the love of Jesus Christ.

“Ask God to forgive your sins and be baptized in water and by the Holy Spirit.”


Ardon says, “We spent a week watching lives change. The people helped each other and there was no poor amongst them. The widows and orphans were taken care of.”

Irad pulls out several silver coins with pieces of torn veil threaded through them and proceeds to tell them, “Caiaphas lied. The followers of Christ did not destroy the temple. There is a witness that saw the holy veil tear from top to bottom, at the same time Jesus died on the cross.

“Caiaphas and Annas plotted together to have Jesus killed and then covered up the truth of the veil being torn. We do not have to go through the High Priest to seek God for forgiveness anymore. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit live inside of us now.”

The End




Cleopas- {KLEE-o-pas}

Caiaphas {KAY-uh-fuhs}

Chuza (KOO-zuh),

Shofar (ram’s horn)

Tabgha, seven springs on the Sea of Galilee.



The Three Men’s, New Identities

Ariel is Ardon son of Levi.

Iram is Irad, son of Levi.

Jorah is Jorim, son of Ethan.


Copyright Information

Some Scripture are taken from

The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


The King James Bible - public domain.


New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


The Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


The cover image of the Torn Veil is the property of the respective owner. This image has been collected from public sources, considered to be in public domain. If anyone has any objection in my displaying this image it may be brought to my attention via email & the same will be removed immediately, after verification of the claim.

Other Novels and Books Written

by, Ethel ‘Hiday’ Wicksey


The Scarlet Cord Rahab’s Story

Return to Erieau

Treasures in Erieau

Love from a Sock

Christmas Past and Present

Joseph’s Donkey





To order any of my books email me, at

To read the books written by me go to.

© Ethel Wicksey


February, 2018







The Biggest Cover-Up


The Torn Veil


Three young men, change their identities and flee for their life.

Iram is a temple priest who saw the veil in the temple being torn by God at the same time Jesus died on the cross.

Ariel watched as Jesus was crucified on the Roman cross.

Jorah died after having his leg amputated three years before. He rose from the dead when the graves were opened at Jesus death.


Go with them to the upper room on the day of Jesus resurrection and see Jesus. Travel with them to Sea of Galilee with Simon the Leper, Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and several other people from the Bible.

As you turn each page you will feel what it was like to live in Jerusalem at the time of Christ.




Ethel (Hiday) Wicksey was born in Toronto. She lives with her two adult daughters, in Chatham, Ontario.

Ethel bought her first computer in 1995. She is on the Board at IMAGINATIONink and is a member of the Kent Writer’s Guild.

Ethel self-published her first novel, The Scarlet Cord, Rahab’s Story in 2009 then went on to write Return to Erieau and Treasures in Erieau.

Ethel enjoys bringing Bible stories to life.

She has written several other books of poems and short stories, that are posted on her web. page at,





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