Stupid, stupid, stupid! He said I would do it and I did it.’’ And then, to add insult to injury the rooster crowed, stupid bird.
Could anything else go wrong? Looking around to make sure no one had witnessed my betrayal I looked him straight in the eye and my world fell apart.
It seemed like I had known him forever, but had I really ever known him at all?
It started three years ago, just thirty-six months but what a ride it had been:
We were mending our nets on the shores of Gennesaret, it hadn’t been a bad night fishing, but it hadn’t been great and I just wanted to get the gear cleaned up and go home to Esther.
As much as I loved fishing, there were times I wished I could work at a job where I could spend the nights with the one I loved. It was wrong in so many ways to be going to bed when she was just beginning her day. But, I was a fisherman just as my father had been and his father had been. For over a hundred years my family had fished these waters and that wasn’t going to change any time soon.
Oh well, it could have been worse, I could have been born a farmer. The thought of following the wrong end of an ox through a field day after day was enough to send me back to my nets with a smile on my face.
“Simon, Simon wake up.” Andrew’s voice broke through my daze. “You’ve been working on that same spot for the past ten minutes. Are you mending twine or knitting a shawl for Esther?”
“Sorry Andrew, I was gone for a while but I’m back.” Andrew was my brother and business partner but more than that he was my best friend. There were only eleven months separating us and we had almost grown up as twins.
‘‘So, Simon have you thought any more about what we’ve been talking about?”
“You gonna narrow it down for me, we talk all the time.”
“Come on, you know what I’m talking about, the Messiah.”
“Right, how could I forget the Messiah? After all he’s going to rescue us from the big bad Romans and make us a mighty nation again.”
From the look on Andrews face I knew I was pushing all the right buttons. And why not, after all that’s what big brothers are for.
“Don’t joke like that, all you have to do is look around. The time is right; all the signs are pointing to the coming Messiah.”
“I know little brother, but the time has been right and all the signs have been pointing to your precious Messiah for three hundred years and he’s still not here. Who is it this time? And don’t tell me it’s John.”
“But Simon, everyone thinks John’s the one.”
“Everyone but John little brother. If he’s your messiah he’s an unwilling one. Remember what you told me he said just the other day; ‘Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I won’t even be worthy to be his slave.’”
“Go ahead and laugh, one of these days it’s going to happen and then the joke will be on you. It won’t be so funny then will it?”
“Fine, you go looking for your precious messiah, personally I’m looking forward to getting washed up to get rid of the fish stink, a shoulder rub and eight hours of sleep. See you back here later tonight little brother. And get some sleep. You’re no good to me at night if you spend your days chasing messiahs.”
Not that I could blame Andrew, Israel was only a shell of the nation it had been under King David. First it had been the Babylonians then the Assyrians and now it was the Romans. For the past five hundred years one foreign army or another had walked our roads.
The Romans were no better or worse than any of the rest but they still held the sword and they would never let us forget who was in control. Was it any wonder that Andrew and his friends looked to the heavens for a solution?
Oh well, I’d leave thoughts of Messiahs to the others because right now all I wanted was food and sleep.