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Jerusalem – 3 BC
I am Isaiah; I fight for freedom from the Romans, and their mad King Herod. I believe in independence, for my people the Jews by any means possible including war. I can’t stomach this humiliation any longer, so I joined the Group ‘Masada’ (fortress.) The Hate is building, they hate Yahweh and all his laws so we must fight for freedom. I lead my Troops at this heinous Palace tonight. There are 5 sets of troops, I will lead 1, John, Peter, Micah and Josiah will lead the others. Of course this was never my choice, I didn’t want to resort to violence but this ungodly King has pushed me past the limit. His law is horrible and his ways are horrible. When we recapture Jerusalem, God will smile.
Understandably, I could never do this without my wingmen, David, Jacob, Isaac and Saul. I love them as brothers, my natural brothers were slain by the Romans so was my father. My mother has since died of starvation, tonight I fight for them, we all fight for them those slain by the Romans, tonight is for vengeance, tonight Rebecca’s tears will be heeded. Tonight we shall set Jerusalem free, with the help of God almighty, he helped Gideon and he will help us even with impossible odds.
Those same words I uttered to my 20 man troop as we prepared our ambush. All was going well but then somebody sounded the warning cry, to my horror I turned to see my own militant blowing hard, straight away he was put to the sword on my orders by Marcus, another of my men, now we had no choice but to run. I cried out the command that haunted me even as I said it. I called to run, horrified but optionless, ambush was impossible and suddenly months of planning fell into extreme confusion and cries of terror.
I made sure every one of my man was running before I turned myself to face my fate but the Romans were as brutal as always, catapulting huge boulders over the wall of Jerusalem, terrified I stared at the mass fly toward me. Next thing I knew I was screaming! Briefly I saw four men unidentifiable turn back to witness me and then I blacked out.
I open my eyes for a second and attempt to rise up but I can’t it hurts immeasurably. I scream once more trying to adjust to my surroundings, I look around, I can move my neck, but my legs are simply unresponsive. I cannot move properly, only able move my torso and upward. I can sit up but it hurts to such an extent that it just irresistible to lay. I see someone moving toward me, I can recognise him. He is David, memories come flooding back to me. I remember the beautiful struggle that we had embraced 10 years ago and how abruptly that struggle had been finished by the Brutal Romans. Now I know why my limbs refuse to respond but I can think no longer because I black out again and the pain is over for a few hours at least.
I wake and this time when I look around I see a mud floor, enclosed with walls of flimsy sand and water. It is a flimsy room but a room, this time I see my four greatest friends in the world. They smile at me as they see my eyes opened. I try to force a smile back but that was too painful so I just lay. I had a hard time, talking but I could listen. That was even more painful in another sense, hearing of friends and comrades murdered, the struggle I was informed was over and now only survival remained. I was rejected in society and the Romans planned to commit our murder in no time. I just couldn’t imagine the years ahead.
Capernaum 1 AD
Every day Micah makes sure to assure me, he tells me God produced a miracle to keep me alive when I was hit by that boulder and though I nod as though to display comfort it is phoney. In truth I believe that to tear my dreams apart and then keep my alive always on the brink of death only displays the bitter irony of life without God. There are so many things unexplainable but I cannot believe that the same God who led my ancestors through the Red Sea or who tamed the mouths of the Lions could possibly do this. Such a belief only leads me to tears. It is a tragedy that the Romans continue to oppress my people but these days I can’t care, I just hope to have something to eat and get through to tomorrow, some might feel that is a touch dramatic but this is the way I feel right now, the sting has been ripped out of living and it hurts.
Capernaum 30 AD
Now even as I grow older and even my working bones grow weaker, as every day I am heaved to and from the Temple by my committed friends who have braved the glares of disgust to help me. They themselves can only do odd jobs because they can’t afford to be identified but hope is resurging through my very soul. I hear stories that the long expected Messiah has come, my beliefs that God is non-existent have evaporated, now I formulate beliefs that agree with the teachings of this Jesus, I realise that though God loves us unconditionally he can’t support our wrong ways we sometimes choose. Perhaps God didn’t direct us in that way he didn’t give us the right to do that so we went as sheep into wolves and got mauled.
My contempt from the Romans is fading but now for different reasons, I see that love is the answer to our problems, I read the Psalms everyday and they restore my hope for more than one reason. David, too, found God didn’t always condone his behaviour particularly in War and yet God said he was a man after his own heart. I fall in love with the Psalms of incorruptible praise that like sunlight blitzes darkness, it blitzes hate. I love to think of God, even in the pain, of course life is still drastically difficult but no longer do I feel undeserving of this fate. Though I don’t feel I deserve it more than anyone else that doesn’t mean I should feel hateful because I received it. One thing I dream to do is to hear the teacher speak, Oh the joy but that may well be an impossible dream.
Excitement is brewing in the air and it is highly noticeable, the hum of talk among citizens is slightly faster paced and bears a higher pitch to it. The news is that the teacher is coming here has garnered large anticipation, tales of the blind seeing and the paralysed walking. The latter of course captured my imagination but forgiveness was what I truly yearned for above all including healing and independence.
I spoke to David about going to see the teacher, who goes by the name of Jesus. The hype is incredible and it will be hard to get to him but he thinks it’s possible. He is staying at the fishermen Simon Peter’s home and the crowds have been building around there. It is a half hour walk for the able bodied man. My only method of transport is via the four men who never abandoned me; I praise God for them everyday. However it will take a long time to get there carrying me on my mat, like about four hours. Judging by the sun it is about 4 hours past noon already. My friends emerged and set about the mammoth task of lifting me all that way. Sweat dripped, limbs creaked but heroically we could see Simon’s house now. I longed to sit up but I was all too aware of the agony that would cause the boys so I lay flat. As we neared the house I heard a conspicuous groan uttered by the mouth of Saul. I turned my neck to see disgust on the face of Jacob. Why, I asked was there such frustration? I found that there were people backed up out of the house, it was impossible to even get in.
Down but not out, we spotted stairs winding round the outside of the house leading to a straw roof, Jacob exchanged glance with Micah and immediately I could see what they were thinking. It was crazy of course, but what if we could get onto the roof and lower me in from there. First off we needed to make a hole in the roof; luckily it was a simple straw roof. Easily broken, excitement bubbled and adrenaline surged through me. Slowly but surely we made our way up the roof that was to be our opening. Carefully David laid the straw aside, we tied palm leaves together to lower me in, it was completely absurd but we were used to this kind of thing from the days in the rebellion. Already we had caused quite a ruckus gaining quizzical glances around the room; Jesus simply looked up and smiled ushering us in. I stared into his eyes, beauty in holiness.
He looked at me and said simply and wonderfully in the midst of the dense crowd, under the strict eyes of the teachers of the law, “Take heart; your sins are forgiven.” Right at this moment I held no doubt that this was anyone but the Messiah for God grants no other the authority to forgive sins. Unfortunately the teachers of the law were thinking on the same lines but held no doubt that Jesus was blaspheming.
He asked them which was easier to say “Get up and walk” or “Your sins are forgiven.” then he said something I will never forget, he said “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then turning to me he said “Get up take your mat and go home” so I did. It was as simple as that! Suddenly all the pain was over and my limbs worked anew. Happiness welled inside me and tears streamed down my face and smiled at my friends, my brothers and they too were elated. No words could do the feeling justice and as I leapt praising the almighty God, I knew that this man was the Son of God.