A Story of Christ
Part One: The Baptist Makes A New Friend
The desert dwellers were a lean and rough people. To those who lived in villages and cities, desert dwellers were like wild beasts who survived by licking dust off of rocks. Desert dwellers were usually easy to pick out in a crowd from the dirt on their clothes and their silence. They were not accustomed to crowds, so when they found themselves among groups of people they kept their lips tight. And when a desert dweller did speak in public, regardless of what they were saying, the words came out like daggers – strong and violent – as they were used to making themselves heard over the distance, wind, and elements. Usually, it was the energy of how they spoke that either attracted people or scared them away; not the meaning of their words.
John The Baptist was a desert dweller. Moreover, John the Baptist was a desert dweller that did not mind speaking in public. Not that he spoke any differently than other desert dwellers, he just didn’t care what anyone else thought about it. So, he would make his rounds, going from village to village, city to city, making himself heard among the people. The Baptist was a radical. If a person were to listen to what he was saying they would come away with the fact that he thought everyone was broken except for him, and the only way they could be saved was for them to agree with him and accept his story as truth. But no one could hear what he was saying… no one was emotionally strong enough to stand in his presence and hear his words. People were either drawn to him and lulled into alignment with his energy, or repelled away by the force of his energy.
In one particular city, the Baptist attracted the attention of an orphan girl. She was young enough that no one knew she was a girl yet, but quickly coming to the age where it would be impossible to hide. At which point, being an orphan living on the streets of a city would stop being difficult, and begin being deadly. She knew it and was looking for a way out. She had seen desert dwellers before and heard of how they lived. She was envious of their freedom and self-reliance. She had been chased out of her home a long time ago for the things that she said. She had no idea where the words came from, but everyone else believed they were from a demon. She didn’t know how, but she just knew things – thoughts and images simply popped into her head. No one seemed to mind when they were good things that were helpful, but when she was a toddler she told her mother that her father was sleeping with their neighbor’s wife. She had said this in front of the whole family in that carefree way a small child does things. That night, after seeing the look in her husband’s eyes, her mother wrapped a loaf of bread for her and brought her to a family of gypsies that she knew was leaving the next day. She gave them a few coins and ask that they simply take her daughter away.
The little girl traveled with the gypsies for a while, but it was brutal living… she was treated poorly and had to keep her mouth shut. Eventually, she decided to leave the caravan by hiding away the night before the caravan was due to leave the city. Cities were good for this, since there were many places to hide for a few days without the dangers of the open wilderness. This time, however, she had to get out of the city and The Baptist was someone who appealed to her, called to her…. it was like she knew him already.
When John The Baptist left the city she simply followed him. In the evening, when he sat down to rest, she sat down a respectful distance away. They traveled like this for several days until he finally decided to engage her in conversation. Actually, he was quite surprised to learn that she was a girl,.. he could tell the moment he heard her speak. His first reaction was to yell at her and push her away, he had no interest in being burdened with a woman, but before he could get a word out she started talking and saying things that made him stop in his tracks. He was stunned as the girl spoke words that moved him so powerfully. He asked her where the words were coming from and she told him the truth, that she did not know, they just showed up in her head. He came to the conclusion that God, or an angel, was speaking through her. He began to ask her questions with an intent to uncover the greatest truths and she cautiously allowed the words to flow out. The truth is that she had started talking out of fear of being left behind out in the desert, and then she was just as shocked to learn that he liked her talking… that had never happened before. From that point he took her in and treated her like a daughter. He never restricted her talking, in fact, he actually stopped and listened intently every time she spoke. And she grew more and more comfortable speaking the words in her mind… slowly learning about herself from the experience.
The Baptist, with the now young lady, stopped traveling around when they reached the desert area he called home. He had no need to travel from village to village any more. He spent his days listening to the young lady speak the words of his God and preaching to those who came. Over time, more and more people came to his little piece of desert. At first it was just single men who were down on their luck and looking for something to make them feel better about themselves. These men relished the anger and frustration that The Baptist radiated. More and more, however, whole families would show up to listen to The Baptist preach; the men would gather closer to him than the women. The women would gather on the hillside a little further away and quietly listen or have their own conversations. Emboldened by the security and comfort that The Baptist afforded her, (and surely The Baptist would never let her sit with any man) the young lady would often sit with the women on the slope and listen… then she started to join in the conversation. Shortly after the first time she opened her mouth and joined in the conversation on that slope, word began to spread that there was a new Oracle living in the desert.
The news of a new Oracle made women happy because they still had fond memories of when Oracles were a part of a healthy and balanced community. Women would tell their husbands that they wanted to go out to the desert and see The Oracle and their husbands would correct them, reminding them that The Baptist was a Prophet, and not an Oracle. Women accepted this correction with the knowledge that it is sometimes better to let their husbands be confused. So, over time, as the word spread, more women showed up to sit among the women on the slope and have their quiet conversations. However, because it was unsafe for women to travel without men, only women who were married to men that want to go see The Baptist were able to make the trip. This kept the news to certain circles restricting its spread. Eventually, word even spread to Herodias and her mother, who sent servants to see if it were true.
All this time, the young lady was learning so much about herself. At first, when she was only talking to John The Baptist, she believed what he told her… that she was a vessel for an Angel of God that sent her to him. But, when she started to talk to other women she quickly began to understand that was not entirely true. If the words did come from an Angel of God for The Baptist, then why did words come for everyone else too? And why were the words sometimes contradictory? She told one person one thing and another the opposite, and they both were equally happy and relieved to hear them. Was this what God wanted? She also noticed that The Baptist never disagreed with her. As radical and opinionated as he was… he never disagreed with her words. She became certain that something was happening far more complicated than what The Baptist has said, and what she could understand. Then, one day, “He” showed up and everything changed.
Part Two: The One To Survive The Storm
It was a normal day like any other day. In the morning, The Baptist started into his preaching and she waiting for him to get fully into it before she came out of the cave to sit on the hill with the other women. By this time, she would sit on a rock a few feet away from the group of women, and when she was ready she would smile over at them and, one by one, they would come over to quietly speak with her.
As this happened in the usual manner, a man entered the small valley followed by a number of people. They came and sat on the slope, off to the side in their own group, and listened to The Baptist preach. After he finished, the usual routine was for everyone to go in their own direction as they took care of their daily business. This new group, however, did not move. As first they just sat peacefully and talked amongst themselves. Then, they got very loud and started to argue. This was when the unspeakable happened. A man, the leader of this new group, stood and began giving his own lecture. Although it was not like The Baptist preached with energy and volume. This new guy lectured through conversations with his listeners. Everyone noticed, but no one had the courage to go over and listen in. Day after day this happened, and as the days passed, people started sitting closer to listen. Then they would gain enough confidence to join in on the discussion.
The whole time from their arrival, the leader of the new group, a man named Jesus, tried to engage in conversation with The Baptist, but the Baptist was too sharp a man – he did not know how to have a conversation, he either preached or listened… he couldn’t do both. Over time, Jesus would continue to try The Baptist with questions and comments, but The Baptist would make a simple sharp statement and walk away. Then, one day, as the sun began to set, Jesus approached The Baptist as he sat quietly by the stream and sat down in front of him. He looked straight into his eyes.
The Baptist tried to ignore him, but Jesus simply looked straight at him. Finally, the Baptist snapped and asked what he wanted. The man simply responded with kind soft words that made The Baptist visibly uncomfortable No one could hear what Jesus said, but everyone could see The Baptist’s discomfort, and so everyone started to move in closer to try to hear what was going on. Inch by inch people crept forward while the two of them talked. The Baptist was loud and hostile, while Jesus was soft and inviting. People crept close enough to hear his words and then sat down. They found that Jesus was questioning The Baptist about his sermon. This confused the people because the truth was that none of them really heard what The Baptist was saying, they only felt the energy that they agreed with and assumed the words were what they wanted to hear. But, they heard the questions of Jesus and the responses The Baptist was making and they could not understand.
That whole time, from when Jesus arrived to the day when Jesus sat with The Baptist, the young lady would steal glances at him, and when she did words would pop into her head. The first part made her blush and the second part scared her; forcing her to look away and repress it all. Her heart danced as she heard the first part, and then the second part chained her to hell. The words that entered her head when she looked at him, “you are his,.. and he is yours.” It took several days before she could hear the whole thing without flinching.
After most of everyone had already found seats around The Baptist and Jesus, she crept up and sat the closest behind The Baptist, almost straight in the gaze of Jesus. At a pause in the conversation he looked over The Baptist’s shoulder and right into her eyes and gave her the warmest smile. Her breath stopped, her heart pounded, and, much to her horror, her vagina twitched. The Baptist saw his gaze and spun to look and was about to let forth an ocean of venom a the young lady for being so bold as to sit so close and in front of all the other men. In fact, she did not notice where she was sitting when she sat, and no one else really did either, being so focused on what was being said. However, before The Baptist could say one word, Jesus began to speak softly, and her senses noticed that he was able to capture The Baptist’s anger and pull his attention back to him. The Baptist did turn back to listen to Jesus, but he was obviously shaken. Words started to fill the young ladies head. Words she has said to the Baptist over and over again. At this time, however, the words seemed so forceful… so powerful she could not help but to say them. She was surprised at how confident she sounded as she spoke clearly in front of all those people: “You are the one with the spirit strong enough to survive the storm.”
It was the first time that The Baptist didn’t agree with her. He had heard the young lady say those words many times and he knew perfectly well that the “storm” that God was talking about was the Romans. And this man called Jesus had no interest in fighting the Romans. This Jesus actually said that it was better to change our habits a little so that we could live in peace with the Romans: that we could change just a little without changing our faith or upsetting God. No, this was not right according to The Baptist. It was more like a test of faith given by God.
The young lady saw the look on The Baptist’s face and had an epiphany. She had always believed The Baptist when he said the storm was the Romans; he said it so often and with such force how could she not? She always accepted the Baptist’s hostile views towards the Romans, but at that moment it became clear to her… the storm was not the Romans, the storm was The Baptist. Jesus was the first to have the spiritual strength to withstand the emotional energy of The Baptist. To be able to question his words without being afraid of, or reacting to, his anger. And just like that she realized that she was not hearing the voice of God, but the voice of each person’s spirit. She would tell people what they wanted to hear, because she was hearing what they were feeling. The Baptist wasn’t hearing from God… he was hearing from his own desires… his own will… his own spirit. And then it happened.
A voice popped into her head like no voice she had ever heard before. Usually, even when talking to different people, the sound of the voice in her head always sounded the same. But, just then a voice popped into her head that said, “You are right, but there is another way to look at it. Try seeing it as the voice of God, but that we are all a different part of God. Many pieces making up a larger whole.” She immediately understood and looked up to find Jesus looking at her with a warm smile on his face. Time stopped for the young lady as she became lost in his eyes. The Baptist, in the middle of a fiery rant at Jesus, stopped abruptly noticing the look on their faces and had understood completely. He yelled that it was all over and grabbed the young lady’s arm and dragged her up the cave where they lived. She went willingly because she trusted and loved The Baptist, even though he could be difficult. And she went willingly because she knew that she would be leaving with Jesus soon enough.
That night, in a fit of jealousy and rage. The Baptist raised a large rock above the head of the young lady as she slept. He could not stand to lose his connection to God. God had sent her for him, and him alone. He was certain that if she left, the Romans would get her and the devil would win. But, the moment the rock came down he knew that he was wrong. In that moment he receive a wound to his soul that would take thousands of years to heal. At that moment, he became a broken man and a broken soul.
The next morning everyone knew something was wrong. Jesus stood out in front of The Baptists cave and The Baptist sat weeping by the entry. Stories went around when people heard of what had happened. The men mostly said she had it coming for being so forward, while the women mostly wailed in grief and sorrow. The men didn’t realize that their grief was real and not just a show. Jesus did his best to contain himself. He accepted fate and understood that The Baptist was not to blame. He even forgave and blessed The Baptist, and then left for the open desert by himself lest his emotions should get the better of him. Those who were followers of the Baptist saw the difference. The Baptist tried to carry on, but he struggled. Some stayed on to wait for Jesus, but most just went home.
After hearing that the Oracle was real and true by their servants, Herodia and her mother started making plans. Surely, a true Oracle couldn’t live like a desert dweller, she needed a temple and virgins to serve her. They spent their days in excited preparation like a mother and daughter planning a wedding. Until the news came that John the Baptist had killed her in a fit of rage. Then, in their grief and anger, the two women started making different plans with the same level of intensity.
Part Three: Into the Desert
The sun rose high and the day grew hot, but Jesus kept walking. Each step jarred every bone in his body, as he fumed and replayed over and over again the loss of a girl he felt completely connected to. In the few days that he knew her, he had such visions in his mind of what was to come for the both of them. He saw a happy home and family, with children running around playing until they became old enough to help with the chores. They would work diligently by the sides of their proud parents, eventually getting married and giving them grandchildren. All this folded perfectly into the larger image he had of spending his evenings teaching people the things that he learned while traveling with the merchants. But, just like that,.. it was all lost.
Jesus knew that his anger and frustration was the result of a sudden and drastic change of plan; the disappointment of images he so lovingly built in his mind no longer able to become real. But, they were not all lost… just the most recent ones. He had to find a way to let go of the young woman he fell in love with, without throwing everything else away as well. He had to find a way to grab onto the thread again; regain the view he had of his future. By midday he was miles away from the Baptist’s encampment and he was able to start, in little drips of time, directing his mind elsewhere. He started first to remember where he had been.
He remembered when he was a child, at home with his parents. Working at his chores through the day and listening to the teachings of his father at night. He learned the Torah through and through, to read and write, and he learned how to see the teachings made manifest in the community around him. He learned all these things, although he did not realize it at the time, which is the way of childhood. He was happy then. It was this happiness that made him dream beyond the life his father saw for him. Well, that happiness and the stories he listened to of when the family traveled south into Egypt. Jesus was too young to remember most of it, but the stories he knew well and his days were spent dreaming of adventures of his own. His father had spent years arranging for him to marry a girl his own age, the daughter of a merchant, and saw his living a life much the same as he did. But, the dreams of Jesus were too powerful, and when he was sixteen years old, close to the time when he should have married, an opportunity was offered him to travel with a merchant heading to the far east. Jesus labored over the decision for the two days the merchant gave him to decide. Everyone noticed the effort knit across his brow as he worried out all the options and possibilities. In the end, as the sun rose, Jesus found himself walking along with the merchant’s caravan already miles out-of-town. Jesus left in the night without saying a word.
For the first time that day since leaving the Baptist’s encampment, and much to the surprise of Jesus, he found himself smiling at the thought of escaping into the desert again. He didn’t see it that way back then – then it was just a dreamer following his dreams – but, now, with context, he could see it for what it was. He remembered how he spent so much time seeing the sights around him at first. There was so much beauty and excitement in all the new things that he saw and experienced. But, it didn’t take too long before those sights and those new experiences became old, and the days became eternities of rote drudgery. Others in the merchant’s caravan, mostly family members, spent those countless hours and miles in idle conversation or simple distraction. Some relied on wine to pass the time and others created empty and pointless conflict to give themselves a sense of purpose. Jesus, however, was not part of their family and was always, no matter how close they might have gotten, an outsider. What made it worse was that Jesus learned to pass the endless hours of travel inside his own mind instead of in the idle games of the family; thinking about all the things he learned, and constantly trying to understand all that he saw as a manifestation of what he learned in the Torah. However, as time passed and they moved further and further east, it became more and more difficult to understand what he saw as a manifestation of what he understood from the Torah. And as fate would have it, at the very moment when he was certain that he made a mistake making this journey, when his confusion was complete and he was broken and frustrated, his life changed forever.
All merchants making the long journey to collect rare and valuable goods from the east eventually had to go over the Hindu Kush. The wise thing to do was for several caravans to join up to make the perilous journey together, to better protect themselves from bandits and weather. In the foothills on both sides of the Kush was a meeting place where one caravan would wait for others to arrive. When the caravan Jesus traveled with arrived at that place fortune smiled on them as there were two other caravans just arriving as well. They all spent a few days making sure they were prepared for the months ahead and coordinating how they would confront any possible problems. Almost immediately Jesus befriended an old man, a member of one of the other caravans who was an outsider just like him. During their journey across the Hindu Kush, Jesus and his new friend were inseparable. They spent every free moment of the journey talking. Well, in truth, it was the old man who did most of the talking and Jesus asking questions. While the caravan Jesus was with had come east from the south, from Egypt, the other two were traveling from the north, from Rome and Greece. This friend of Jesus was coming from Athens specifically and traveled with many scrolls, which he was constantly ridiculed for by the others in his caravan. So, in the months that they traveled together, Jesus learned everything the man knew about Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, as well as the history of Greece and how the Roman government was structured. Jesus was surprised to discover how little he knew about the Romans even though he lived his whole life dealing with them every day. On the western side of the Hindu Kush a big feast was had to celebrate a relatively uneventful crossing of the brutal mountain range and the two friends said goodbye.
Off of the mountains and in from the wilderness Jesus started to look at the communities they came across with different eyes; with a different understanding. He no longer became frustrated by the fact that these communities made no sense as manifestation of the Torah. He understood that they were manifestations of whatever belief system they did have. Jesus then spent his time learning everything he could about the people’s religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on as he traveled east. He could not learn enough. He even played a game where he watched how people behaved and the rituals and routines they had through their days, and would guess at the religious beliefs that would manifest such behavior. He became very good at this game. Even getting to the point where the only thing he would miss were the names of the deities involved in their stories. He was so good at this game because he recognized how similar all the stories were, and how the differences in the stories were related to the differences in the environment the people lived in. So, as the caravan traveled further east, as the landscape slowly became more lush and green, the deities became more generous along with the environment, but not less brutal. An angry God in the desert brought a sandstorm, while the same angry god on the coast sent a tidal wave. And just when Jesus was getting a bit bored with playing this game, just when he thought he had learned everything he possibly could about these different religions and how they manifested themselves into communities, their caravan came to the first guard station since they left the influence of Rome… They entered the realm of an Eastern Empire.
From his upbringing Jesus was taught that empires were bad because they did not abide by the teachings of the Torah. The Romans were Pagans and the pressure they placed on his family and community distorted the structure of the community from what should be a pure manifestation from the Holy Torah. However, with his new eyes, Jesus was able to experience this Eastern Empire as a passive observer. Immediately he recognized the conflict between the rulers of the and the regular communities; it was the same as back home. But, as they traveled closer to the center of the Empire he noticed the stories slowly changed to include the rulers in their mythology. Well, not specific rulers per se, but the positions they held and the roles they were supposed to play. And, just like that, he began to pay attention like a child at everything he could absorb. They made it to the center of the Empire… as far east as they were going to travel, and they spent months doing business and preparing for the return trip. In that time, Jesus learned what made an empire better than just simple single communities. He saw all the good things that they could build and accomplish when they all worked together – as compared to the stark communities out in the remote wilderness. From this perspective Jesus could see the good parts of the Roman Empire for the first time in his life. But, he also saw why that Eastern Empire was better than Rome; it was older and more in alignment with the communities it governed over. He also saw that it was not perfect; there was still friction between the top and the bottom. The rest of their time in that Empire, and for the long perilous journey back west, Jesus spent his time thinking about everything that he had learned so far. If the other people in his caravan thought he was quiet and reclusive on the way east, they discovered that was nothing compared to how withdrawn Jesus was on the journey west.
As the months and years passed, their caravan made its way. Their luck going over the Hindu Kush was not as good as it was going east. It had taken them six months to cross, they lost several members, and had to leave a cart behind because the mules pulling it had to be eaten. Any negative thoughts the caravan family may have had about the quiet Jesus disappeared on that pass as they all agreed their loss would have been total if it wasn’t for him. Jesus, who seemed to know exactly what was going to happen and what to do in the moment it needed to be done, and who showed them the definition of selflessness. They asked him what his secret was to knowing what to do and when to do it, but he had no answer for them. From his perspective he was simply doing what was obvious to him in that moment, and the truth was that he was so tired he was barely conscious of what he was doing at all. They also praised him for being so generous, but again he apologized because he thought they had it wrong. He explained to them that he took care of them because it was obvious to him that the only way he was going to survive was if they all survived. From his perspective, he was being selfish.
From the Hindu Kush they traveled west and north to Rome and Greece where he was overwhelmed to see all the things that he learned about from his old friend years before. However, despite all this excitement, it was just work to him then and his heart longed to be home again. He worried that he wouldn’t be welcome after the way he had left. He knew it was his arrogance to think that they all suffered serious hardship since he left…after all, how could they possibly live without him. And by the time the caravan finally did pass that way again, as it headed south to Egypt, Jesus said his goodbyes to the family and, after almost ten years of traveling, went home to find that, even though his father had passed away, they were still all right. He learned that everyone was angry of his leaving until his father passed away, for it was his father that fueled the anger since Jesus had destroyed the plans he had for him. But, once that anger was gone, everyone settle into their routines and found their own peace. They were happy to see Jesus again and made room for him in the house. Jesus felt the need to make things right and help out so he found work as soon as he could. Everything had changed so much as he was gone, there wasn’t much work to find, but since he learned to be pretty good with wood, he started doing carpentry work for the Romans. The truth of it was that the only people working were working for the Romans – they had the money – and no one else seemed to have the initiative to adapt to the new things the Romans brought to them. On top of it all, as the months passed, a developing problem faced Jesus due to the fact that some of his carpentry work for the Romans was making crosses.
It didn’t even occur to him that people would be angry with him, he was simply doing what he needed to fulfill his sense of need; the need to help out. More and more, however, at night when he told his stories of his journey, people would start interjecting comments about his work. At first he kind of laughed it off since the assertions were not too forceful. But, then his mother informed him that people were angry that he was making crosses. Then, one night, Jesus tried to explain that, from his perspective, the Romans were not going to be around forever and the best thing to do was to tolerate and survive them the same way they would a drought or pestilence. He tried to tell them of the empire in the east, and how the concept of empire isn’t bad in itself, the problem was simply that the stories the Romans used built a different community structure than the one the Hebrews had. Jesus didn’t see the connection at all between making crosses and anything; if he didn’t do it, someone else would.
Everyone looked at him aghast as the held back their rage. Jesus saw the looks on their faces and reached in his mind for a story that they might understand that would convey the relationship that was needed between the top and bottom, to convey that they couldn’t get rid of the empire, that it would be better to take advantage of it, but nothing came to him that didn’t require hours of explanation and background. His mother wisely called it an evening and told everyone to leave. That night she packed him some food and told her son to be gone by sunrise, to go somewhere long enough for people’s tempers to cool and for him to think things through. She told him that their world was falling apart and people weren’t getting along as well as they used to; no one listened any more and everyone blamed each other for all of their problems. So, Jesus found himself going into the desert again. He didn’t know where he was going, he just walked.
Jesus found himself in the company of the Essenes out in the desert. They were a peaceful community, which made Jesus happy, but they were certain the world was going to end and the best thing to do was hide in the desert. Jesus did not agree with that perspective. He saw that on one side were the Hebrews full of anger and hatred, and on the other were groups like the Essenes who were going to hide and do nothing until the problem went away. Jesus was in the middle of these two extremes, but he didn’t know exactly how. So, he stayed with the Essenes and spent the peaceful days thinking of what his view really was. He thought about how the communities of that eastern empire slowly changed the closer they got to the center. It seemed to Jesus that the thought came out of no where, but he understood… Instead of distance, they needed time.
Jesus was excited. He spent his time organizing his thoughts and practicing his ideas on the Essenes, but they were fanatics and didn’t want to hear his concepts. They had already thrown all in to the idea that the world was ending, they had no time for a person who thought that if the Romans and Hebrews could just tolerate one another long enough, both cultures would adapt to each other; the problem was that everything simply happened too fast. Word got out that Jesus intended to set out and preach tolerance. Even though the Essenes did not agree that the best thing was to fight the Romans, they did find common ground with those who did in that they all blamed the Romans. The Essenes were a little angry that Jesus would suggest that everyone was to blame. While Jesus was working one afternoon, sad because he wanted to leave, but was too afraid to take that first step, he saw a strong wild-looking red-headed man enter the community.
Judas forced himself into a friendship with Jesus and they spent their days working together and arguing. Judas could not refute the logic of Jesus, but his heart was committed to his upbringing. He respected the passion of Jesus, but saw him as weak. Finally, Judas asked what Jesus was going to do about all his talk and Jesus told him that he was scared, and that he didn’t know exactly what to do next. Judas laughed and said that they should go see the Baptist. Judas was so frustrated with Jesus and felt that he couldn’t explain his heart clear enough, but he knew the Baptist could. He assured Jesus that if they went to see the Baptist, Jesus would see the truth and change his mind. Not knowing what else to do, Jesus agreed to go.
In the morning Jesus and Judas left the Essenes on their way to see the Baptist. they argued almost the whole way there. Each step was filled with one or the other, and sometimes both at the same time, trying to explain the same thing in a different way… over and over again. They came across people, farmers and fishermen, who would stop to listen to them argue. Some became enthralled in the argument and followed them to go see the Baptist. Some followed because they agreed with Judas, and some followed because they liked the new thoughts of Jesus. And some followed simply because they liked the emotional feel of the two men arguing. The difference between the two men, however, was that Jesus learned as they went along, while Judas kept playing at the same tactics. The first thing that Jesus learned was that it was hard for him to communicate his ideas when he was emotionally reactive and unbalanced. Then, as he tried many different ways to maintain a certain level of balance, he noticed that Judas actually adapted by trying different things to get Jesus off-balance and reactive. It occurred to him that Judas’ whole outlook and ideology was based on his emotionally reactive disposition. Looking around at the people following them, Jesus noticed that all of the people who agreed with Judas shared that disposition, and, in a flash of insight, Jesus realized that he could learn from the people who agreed with him; if people responded to Judas because of his emotional intensity, why did people agree with him? Was it his logic? or was it something else? By the time they got to The Baptist, Jesus did not need to argue any more. Judas was quiet most of the time and other followers took turns asking questions. Judas still was confrontational and tried different ways to undermine the points Jesus made to those others, but Jesus had found his balance and took it all in stride. He learned the best way to counteract Judas’ efforts was to have a good sense of humor. But, he still didn’t fully understand why his followers were there… judging from their questions, they did not understand what he was telling them.
Now, after leaving the cave of The Baptist and all by himself, Jesus stopped walking into the desert. He found the place where he was before meeting that young woman. He remembered what it was that he going to do. The sun was setting and he was completely exhausted. Standing there, looking at the sun disappear, he felt at peace again. It was a sad peace… but it was peace. He let out a big sigh and closed his eyes.
In a vision In his mind, so real to him – so clear, colorful, and alive – an image of the young woman flashed for a moment and brought with it an intense feeling of love.So intense that it was almost crushing. It was like nothing he ever felt before. He dropped to the ground and started to weep. After some time passed his sobs subsided and it was completely dark, and Jesus fell asleep.
Part Four: Finding A Balance
As Jesus slept he fell into a very real dream. In the dream he stood on a beach looking out across an endless ocean. As he stood, feeling the solitude and loneliness, a speck of a figure appeared on the horizon walking towards him… on the water. He waited as the figure slowly got closer. His wonder turned to anticipation when he was able to see that the figure was that of a woman. His anticipation turned to excitement when he saw that it was the young woman who The Baptist had murdered. Still it took what seemed like an eternity for her to come closer. Jesus’s heart sank and loneliness returned when she stopped about one-hundred yards from the beach. She stood on the water looking to Jesus, as the most beautiful woman ever. He felt trapped and marooned. When he finally realized that she was not going to come to shore his heart broke and he became angry. But, still she stood on the water smiling her sweet smile at him. Jesus paced and fidgeted. He considered entering the water, but somehow knew that would be a very bad thing to do. Eventually, he gave up and collapsed onto the beach in despair. And that is when he heard her speak.
It was just as it was when she was alive in the Baptist’s camp. She spoke to him directly in his mind, through his imagination, without moving her lips. “Sweet Jesus,” she said,”I cannot come to shore yet, you are not ready.”
Jesus rose to his feet and spoke out loud, “I saw your dead body… your crushed head.”
“That was just my body. I am here, and I am alright. Do not grieve for me, for I have lived the life that I was supposed to. Just as you have. And we are not finished yet.“
Jesus said with force and frustration, “This is a dream and you are a figment!”
Her smile broadened and he could feel the warmth of her radiate stronger, “Yes, this is a dream and I am a figment. But what are you?” Jesus stood perplexed for a moment, then she continued. “Jesus, both of our lives have been guided so that we would meet in this way. I lived a life that prepared me to play a certain role, and you have lived a life that prepared you to play a certain role. The death of my body was not a mistake, it was simply the next step in our lives. With each step of my life I learned how to give myself as a guide to people. With each step of my life I learned how to trust the feelings that I had for people; the feelings that turned into images in my mind, those images became the bricks used to build thoughts, and the thoughts made ideas. None of those images, thoughts, and ideas ever made any sense to me, but that is where the trust came in. They meant something to the people I had feelings for. Even after my death, I am to still play this role… for you .”
“I don’t understand.”
“I do not expect you to, this is why you must trust me; have faith in me. You are about to go through the hardest education you will ever experience. You will do fine if you trust me, and you will die if you do not. Walk towards the morning sun and you will find water and shade.”
She remained still for a moment after she finished speaking and then turned and slowly walked away. As she got further away Jesus fell deeper into the darkness of restful sleep.
He woke before the sunrise and laid on the ground cold. He remembered the dream and ached for the feeling of her presence. He groped at the memory of it, and with his eyes closed his mind wandered and slowly began building a fantasy of his life with the young woman. The fantasy had them married and with five children living peacefully in their own house. They had livestock and crops and he kept himself busy. At night after the sun went down, they put the children to bed and went out to the stables where they became intimate. The scene slowly became more depraved as the young woman was eager and willing to service his every desire. Lying on the ground fantasizing in the desert, Jesus found himself getting aroused. His hand groped at himself as the fantasy had forgotten about the house and children, livestock and crops, and became all about the young woman attending to his ever-increasing sexual desires.
Suddenly, the world inside of his mind lit up with a flash of intensely brilliant white light that was followed an excruciating sense of terror that was like daggers piercing his spine. His eyes popped open and he sat up. Feeling the need to move he got up and started to walk towards where it was obvious the morning sun would rise shortly. After a while of walking, his mind settled back to more simple thoughts as he reflected on the dream and all that had happened. It was about mid morning when he allowed himself to think about his fantasy and what shocked him; he remembered what the fantasy was and how it was going, and then the sudden shock that got him up and walking again. His mind was at peace when he ask himself what it had meant. Immediately there was a response from a corner of his mind. It wasn’t a voice, but it also was not his own thought. It was a thought that felt like it came from the young woman. The thought was, “I am not your concubine, and I am not here to fulfill your desires. Remember the Second Commandment.” The thought had left as quickly as it arrived and Jesus was startled. In his mind he asked, “Are you God.” but in his agitated state there was no response. Over and over he asked only to receive no answer.
Towards the end of the morning Jesus came across an old ruin of a watering hole. There were two walls of an old building still standing next to a well. The ground was well-worn and Jesus understood that it was an old trade path that the caravans used before the Romans had built up Jerusalem and the rest of the coastline. Fortunately, there was an old piece of twine hanging out of the well, and when Jesus pulled on it he found a little weight on the bottom. What he pulled up was an old pot tied to the end of the twine. The pot leaked a little, but it still held some water by the time it got all the way up. He drank his fill and then made himself comfortable in the little slice of shade that the walls of the old building made. With nothing else to do, Jesus stared at the horizon and tried to relax.
In the mid afternoon Jesus found himself in a peaceful meditative state. With his eyes open he felt her presence getting closer. His senses became sharp as he reached out for her. He felt a thought enter his mind. The thought was, “I can only stay if you let me be…” He knew there was something else, and the sentence was cut off. His excitement made him get up and start pacing. His mind raced as he tried to figure out what it meant, what else there could have been. Slowly he calmed down and was able to sit and think about everything in context; of all that has happened and what this new little piece of information taught him. This was how his days passed. Every night there were intense dreams. Every morning his mind wandered into fantasy until he was scolded. Every day was spent trying to relax so she could come and give him more information. Jesus was hungry and frustrated, but what he did not realize was that he was learning.
It happened so slowly for him that he did not realize that she came a little closer to the shore and stayed a little longer in every dream. He did not realize that his fantasies were becoming more controlled and shorter. By the end, he could not remember the last time that he had been scolded. He did not realize that he was getting better at relaxing and putting his mind into a neutral state. He did not realize that he was able to communicate with her longer and longer before he got too excited and shut his mind to her. He did not realize that he was becoming better at calming down after the thought experiences and how he got better at processing the information that he had gleaned. He did not realize how much he understood after five weeks in the desert.
She explained to him that she was the spirit of the young woman he met at the Baptist’s camp, and that she was no more or less God than he was. She explained to him that God was in everything and everyone, that we were all different fish in the same sea, or different plants in the same crop. God was everything and we were all just different little pieces of everything. She explained to him that people fighting against each other was like God fighting against himself. She explained to him that he was being prepared to go back into Judea and play a role in the mind of God. Jesus was afraid. He wondered if he could do such a thing. She explained to him that the more he worried and the more he tried to control how things happened, the more likely it would be that he failed. He still doubted himself.
He thought, “I don’t know if I can do it.”
She replied, “If you learned how to talk to me without trying to control me, without worrying about what I might say or do, then you can do this.”
He thought, “But, I love you. That makes it different…” and she laughed. “You’re laughing at me.”
“Sweet Jesus, I only laugh because you do not understand. You have learned to let me be myself within the confines of your mind, without trying to make me into your slave, keeping me against my will, pushing me away, or anything else. Doing this is a far greater display of love than the words ‘I love you’ could ever be. Allowing us to be ourselves in the confines of his mind is, after all, the love that God shows to all life.” With the understanding Jesus sat back and laughed. “You will be alright Jesus of Nazareth, if you only make sure that we do this together. If you try to control me, or push me away because you think you know what should happen, or what you want to happen, you will fail… we will fail.” Jesus stopped laughing because there was something very dire and ominous about the feeling of that thought as it went through his head. “There is still much more for you to learn, but they are lesson that can only be learned from experience. You must learn to show all of life the same love you show me; that God shows everything. So, sleep, and when you wake we will return to the others.”
Jesus laid down against the broken wall and tried to keep his eyes open to watch the disappearing twilight.