Father and son sat beside a flickering fire beneath the Judean sky; it was breathtakingly beautiful. The distant booming of the bittern occasionally permeated the stillness of the peaceful night.
The youth watched his father busying himself preparing their supper over the blaze. He thought how proud he was of his father and how much he loved him. As they relaxed in silence, after their evening meal, the young man started to reminisce about the wonderful family life he enjoyed.
His father was the chief rabbi in the city that they had just left and was greatly respected for his profound wisdom. He himself, even as a youth, was gaining praise for the knowledge that he had gained from his father.
He broke the silence. “Father, this is our second night out under the stars – when shall we reach Jerusalem?”
“We shall be there in time to meet up with the rabbis by the appointed hour. The council requires me to give advice, so we must not be late for this important gathering of the elders.”
“Father our neighbours were saying that the Jerusalem elders are asking your advice because they have been unable to stop this Nazarene from preaching his heresy and that they needed your wisdom to help them. They had also heard that the sect leader had silenced them on law matters. What advice will you give them?”
“There is more than one way to silence those in error. I’ll listen to the case and make a judgement and then give my advice from what I hear.”
He had been allowed into the council along with his father (they had permitted this out of respect for his father Rabbi Solomon).
Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Isaac stood up in the council and began, “Today, our brother Solomon has come among us to advise us on what action to take to silence this man called Jesus.”
He went on, “Solomon, this man has disobeyed all our orders for him to desist stirring up the crowds to follow after him. He has recently caused chaos in the Temple by forbidding the public from buying and selling in the area. How can we deal with this rebel?”
Solomon started to give his counsel, “Brothers, this man’s fame goes far and wide and he has a great following. We have to deal wisely with such a situation or we could stir up a revolt from his many supporters. As he is well versed in the law we need a different approach.”
Rabbi Isaac spoke up, “We are at our wits end with this man – what else can we do?”
“We have a Roman enemy within; we can try and put enmity between him and them. I have a plan to bring this about, but have yet to refine it. When sufficiently though out have I your authority to carry out my plan?”
“Yes Solomon, carry it out speedily” ordered Rabbi Isaac.
How proud he was of his father being so important here in Jerusalem and he as a young person being part of it all. He knew that when they found the rebel and his band they would be soon silence him.
He stood beside his father Rabbi Solomon. They had tracked down this man called Jesus and his disciples. The young man waited with eagerness for his father to address this man with his wise words. A delegation had come along to support his father and also to report back on how things had gone.
His father asked Jesus if it was right or wrong to pay Roman taxes to Caesar. Others joined in shouting the same question at him.
Jesus accused them of trying to catch him in a trap and then held up a Roman coin with Caesar’s inscription on it and told them to give to Caesar what belonged to him and to God what belonged to Him.
His father and his supporters were dumbfounded; unable to utter another word. The son felt so humiliated for his father and totally embarrassed that this enemy had silenced them all.
Young Saul who had come with his father from Tarsus vowed vengeance on this nobody Jesus and his rabble for confounding them and bringing shame on them all. He promised himself he would fight a good fight against this movement and turn the tables on them once and for all. His embarrassment had turned to hatred.
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