It is great Rome , a time of splendor and Roman rule….in 67AD , in a confined small room full of pillars and cages and in one of those cages lies a man, an old man with long grey hair and a balding head. He is seated on a thin mattress …a scroll in hand,ink and pen so graciously given to him by the guard outside. He is deep in thought and writing a prisoner yet seemingly unaware of his state. And of the smell of old furniture and sweat everywhere.
Outside, the guard watches him in earnest. Wondering about this man and his unusual attributes. He had watched him here for a time now waiting for the weight of the impending persecution (that they both knew was bound to happen) to weigh the prisoner down but the man never seemed to falter. Always singing his hymns and always in such high spirits.
“You watch that man too much, what do you intend to see from a man cursed to die” his fellow soldier asked him.
” There’s something about him,he’s not like the rest. He seems so at peace. So relaxed and without a care in the world, without fear of death.”
The guard replied while still watching the man in the cage. He felt like he was more of a prisoner than this man ever would be. Yet a prisoner of what ?
“Look at you! Getting trapped in his madness! You think that there really is a Messiah! One who allows his followers to go through suffering! That man died on a cross we all saw! I cast lots for his garments. ”
” But they looked for his body and didn’t find it? Is it not? ”
” We all know that the body was stolen! They rolled over the stone while the guards slept ”
“Roman guards? We all know Clespas and Picleu would not sleep on a job. It Is why they were chosen for the job.
The other guard looked at him in disgust wondering what madness had gotten into this man.
The guard continued “look at him, does that look like the face of a dying man. He seems totally unconcerned, it’s almost as if he welcomes it. I have heard him sing …talked to him….”
“You have done what! Shame on a Roman soldier to entertain such nonsense! It Is just as well that they have decreed today to be the last day of his God forsaken life! He is required at the hall within the next hour_ Maybe then you will stop with all this nonsense and get back to reality. May the gods forgive you for entertaining such thoughts ”
The guard did not reply waiting only for the man to finish his letter. The other guard having walked away, he sat down too facing this man wondering about him. About this tag in his heart ,he required answers and he only had an hour.
The prisoner looked up and saw the guard’s anguish and within the next hour spoke to him in such earnest before finally kneeling down to pray acknowledging that it was only a few minutes left.
Thirty minutes later, the guard watched as the man was made to knee before everyone. An action he had seen the man do so many times before. And a peace overwhelmed his heart.
He half heard the accusations being hulled and slowly felt himself move. From somewhere behind him he heard someone shouting his name.
“You fool! What doest thou? ”
He found himself kneeling next to the man. And the man turned and smiled at him.
” I believe ….I believe in Jesus too. I believe …And if they kill you for your belief…let them have me too”
“Welcome brother. I had waited long. It is well where we head. All is well. ” James said.