“Please be careful. It is at least a half day’s journey and you have not rested all night” sobbed a young woman in the crowd. “If the soldiers find you – you will be put to death” she cried.
One of the men answered to comfort her, “Do not worry woman. We know the way better than anyone in the region. We will keep to the back roads. I assure you. No one will find us, but we must be on our way.”
“At least carry some food” she insisted. “You will need your strength. None of you have eaten.”
“Fine” he answered. “Give us bread, but we must be going. The markets will be open soon. Stay here and care for one another until we return. We will bring you news in a few days.”
After few more lingering goodbyes, the men set out toward the foothills. The journey would be difficult, but they were determined to let nothing stop them. Far too many sacrifices had already been made for the cause to even consider turning back now.
The pass leading up the mountainside was narrow and winding. Navigating the treacherous obstacle course of immense boulders, sheer cliffs, and deep crevasses would not be easy. To reach their destination atop of the mountain, they must squeeze past jagged rock walls and safely cross many fragile ledges along the way up – any one of which could easily send them spiraling down to their deaths below.
The path beneath their feet would be littered with loose gravel and stones. A momentary lapse in concentration on the part of any one of them could prove disastrous and jeopardize the success of the mission. It was a perilous journey for even the most experienced climber.
The heat of day set in quickly. Peter, the leader of the ragged little band, raised his hands and motioned for the men to gather around him. “Brothers, we have traveled a great distance and have much farther still to go. Let us stop here and rest awhile.”
“Why do you think he has called us to this place? We have all risked much by coming here” Andrew questioned Peter, his brother.
“It is not for us to ask such things. He is our teacher. If he calls – we will go” rejoined Peter. “You are letting fatigue get the better of you. Let us speak of this no more. Come. It is time to go.”
After struggling a few hours more against the rock-strewn terrain, they finally made it to the top. In the distance, they could see what appeared to be a campsite. Smoke billowed into the sky from a campfire. Behind it, they could see the figure of man stirring the flames. It was Jesus!
“Master! They cried. “Is it truly you?”
“It is I. Did I not tell you that I would return? Why do you still doubt?” He inquired in a firm, but assuring tone.
Immediately, the men fell at his feet and began to worship him. “The hearts of many have grown cold. Some deny your resurrection. Others have denied you out of fear. They accuse us of false teaching and have sought to take our lives. Master, when will you return to claim the thrown?”
Jesus answered them, “Do not be afraid. Have you forgotten all that I have told you? These things must take place. The time has not come for me to return in my glory. I have prepared you for this day.”
“You will speak for me and they will hear you. Go and preach the good news to all nations and teach them as I have taught you. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as it was done for you. I must go prepare the place that I have promised you. Do not be afraid. I am sending the Spirit, as I have promised, to fill your hearts and minds with truth and peace. He will comfort and guide you until I return. Go! The time is short.”
As they began their decent back down the mountain toward Jerusalem, Andrew turned to Peter and asked, “Do you believe that we will be able to do these things.”
Peter answered, “I am persuaded that he is truly the risen Son of God. All things are possible for those who go in the power and authority of his righteous and holy name. I am persuaded – Nay, I am convinced of this these things!”
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