Time: A few days after
Place: The Temple of Jerusalem.
Characters: Mitz'vah the Pharisee,
and an anonymous carpenter.
Mitz'vah was kneeling in one corner
of the Court of Men, at the Temple,
and praying over one of the massive
torn edges of the Curtain, from the Holy
of Holies. The Curtain smelled musty
and was thick with dust. Mitz'vah
was swaying back and forth,
back and forth,
murmuring in Hebrew,
and moaning loudly. Suddenly he stopped
and opened his eyes; he had heard, and
felt footsteps approaching, and standing
by him. Greatly offended, for no one
would ever purposely interrupt him
during prayers, Mitz'vah
looked up and grimaced: yelling.
"What do you.......WANT?"
A Man was standing beside him:
wearing workers' clothes, and carrying
a satchel of carpenters' tools; His
head was covered, as a Jew. He
"Pardon Me, sir."
The Man nodded politely;
He had just the bit of a smile on
Mitz'vah was even more greatly
offended; immediately he rose
to his feet.
What are you......DOING HERE?"
The Carpenter smiled again, and
"I am here, sir......to repair some
of the furniture....that was broken
the other day in the.......EARTHQUAKE?"
Mitz'vah shouted; spit came out of
his thin mouth.
"WELL.......GET TO WORK!
Don't you SEE.....this is much to DO,
HERE? Why are you coming to ME?
Don't you have....... a SUPERIOR?"
The Carpenter shook His head slowly; He almost looked slightly amused for a moment. He looked straight into Mitz'vah's eyes; His own were smiling and full of intelligence.
Mitz'vah frowned; his thin lips curling
with disdain, and his small beady eyes squinting: the room seemed suddenly too bright, and he was beginning to get a headache. Mitz'vah held his head up
high, and clasped his beringed hands in
front of his expensive robes.
"Well.......WHAT are you coming to
ME, for? I have nothing to SAY... to YOU!
GET to WORK!"
Mitz'vah waved one hand in the man's
face, as if he were waving away a pesky fly. Feeling a bit nauseous from the stabbing pain in his forehead, Mitz'vah turned away: staring down, once more,
at the ragged edge of the Torn Curtain which lay in a massive heap on the tiled floor.
"I don't think it will ever be..........repaired."
The Man's Voice spoke softly behind
"Of COURSE.....it will.....you IDIOT!"
Mitz'vah turned around and yelled: his face was now sweaty and beat-red.
"How DARE YOU......say....such a THING!
Why.........you INSULENT MULE!
I'll have YOU............!"
Mitz'vah shouted up at the tall Man:
his head was beating furiously, and a soup of steaming vomit
was reaching toward the base of his skinny, narrow throat.
"Who............ ARE you?
What is YOUR......... NAME?"
The Man reached one hand up
to touch the shoulder strap of
His leather satchel of tools. He
looked straight into Mitz'vah's
squinting, furious eyes, and spoke
quietly again: almost a sad, tender whisper.
Mitz'vah's eyes caught the movement of the Carpenter's Hand,
and he gave a sudden gasp, and
fell to his knees: his richly colored
robes puddling about him like a dark,
murky pond. All of his pompous snobbery, and pious
self-righteousnous fell away, like
a snake shedding its own skin during
the season of molting. Mitz'vah's
face, just moments ago an angry
beat-red, now took on the whitish-gray color of a man who had
just seen a ghost.
Only it wasn't a ghost.
The Carpenter reached down His
Scarred Hand, and gently touched the Pharisee's trembling shoulder.
"It is I,
Mitz'vah was kneeling, and holding
both hands over his tightly closed
eyes. He was moaning, and moving
back and forth, just as he had been
doing moments ago by the edges
of the Torn Curtain; only this time
it was in true repentance.
Mitz'vah had been in the crowd
of leaders and elders, only days before,
when the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate,
had Jesus led out in chains, after His Scourging:
Mitz'vah had seen the oozing blood,
and the savagely mutilated skin,
and the exposed bone and pink, bloody organs;
there was no way this Man
could have survived being hung
on a CROSS, for six hours.....
and then walked away....alive.
Unless, He was really Who He said
The Son of G-d.
The Son of Jehovah.
The King of the Jews.
The LORD, Himself.
Mitz'vah whispered: breathing
heavily in short, trembling gasps.
The Man standing before him,
The Carpenter from Nazareth,
kept His Hand on Mitz'vah's
shoulder, and spoke in a tender
Voice: as though speaking to a precious child,
who had just pouted about helping his mother
to clean the dishes.
"Now......go tell your bretheren."
Mitz'vah continued nodding,
and repeating his words; in the
silence of the empty Temple,
alone with the Risen Jesus,
he could smell the leather of the carpenter's
satchel that the Lord was
carrying. Mitz'vah reached
out and for a moment could feel
Jesus' feet, shod in the plain
sandals of a carpenter.
Then, Mitz'vah felt nothing.
Mitz'vah looked up hesitantly....
to see..... that Jesus.....
The LORD........had gone.
Two Years Later
Mitz'vah and his youngest daughter,
Julia, were waiting tables at the front of a Greek restaurant; it was a sunny, breezy day, and the establishment was crowded: full of noisy, talkative travelers, and regular customers.
Mitz'vah, who had been kicked out of the synagogue after proclaiming his visitation from the Risen Jesus,
and who had been abandoned by his wife and two older children,
after his sudden conversion to the new
sect which many were now calling, 'The Way', had left his home,
and found a place to stay, among other disciples of 'The Way', in a growing neighborhood of converted Greeks, outside the city of Jerusalem. Only his younger daughter, Julia, had followed him, and believed, too, in the Risen Christ;
Julia had a lovely singing voice, and
was quite active in the growing church: singing hymns during worship, and helping to write new songs
about their Risen Lord.
Julia was now betrothed to a young
musician, named Dylan, who also
wrote music for the young church.
Mitz'vah wasn't entirely happy with
his daughter marrying a.......oy vey....
Mitz'vah sighed, and then chuckled. The
sun was bright, and the spring sky above
was a startling blue, and the cool sea breezes
carried the heavy, rich aromas of spicy Greek
food, cooking fires in the kitchen,
and the smell of cheap wine. Mitz'vah hefted another tray laden
with empty cups and bowls, and
politely nodded as one of the customers reached up to drop several extra coins onto Mitz'vah's
Mitz'vah made good tips.
This evening was another meeting
of The Way: Peter, one of the
Apostles, was going to speak, and
everyone looked forward to attend.
Julia and Dylan had been working
on a new song for the event: putting their curly heads together every afternoon, mostly to giggle and
laugh. Dylan, also a young converted Jew, wore his
hair a bit too long, and refused to grow a beard
like his traditional elders. Dylan was as inseparable
from his lyre.....as he was from the pretty Julia.
Mitz'vah sat nearby: studying,
as he always did, from the Torah,
and nodding, and praying.....and
snarling..... with the frown of a
hopelessly besotten father.
The world had turned upside down.
put the Curtain