Hey, I've got a story here that I entered into a contest, it didn't win but I thought you might like it anyway. =) Please tell me what you thought!
A Jew in a gentile’s world
I hurried up the mosey hill, the wind playing with my dress as I went. The basket at my side tipped as I lost my footing, threatening to spill the berries inside. I chided myself but kept my rushed pace, my mistress would be mad if I was not back by the morning meal. I came to the top of the hill into view of the palace I paused for a moment to take in the sight. The whitewashed stones that made up Lord Pilate’s house seemed to glow from the light of the sun which was just barely peeking up from the ground. It was the morning after Passover, but nobody here cared, it was just like any other day for both servants and masters. I knew people thought I was odd, a young Jewish girl working in a gentile’s house. But I believed Yahweh had sent me here to be a witness to the people here. I walked around to the back of the house where the servants door was and slipped in, almost unnoticed in the hustle of preparations for the meal.
“Abigail, your finally back. I thought you had gotten lost.” A middle-aged lady said as she looked up from the bread she was kneading.
“I’m sorry Hannah, it took me a bit longer then I thought.” I said setting down my basket.
“It’s okay child, just go fetch me some water.” She smiled.
So I grabbed the bucket by the door and strode back outside and to the well. Tying the rope to it I lowered it down until I heard a splash of water then I slowly raised it back up.
I whirled around and came face to face with a man whom I knew by his cloths to be a high priest.
“Go inform Lord Pilate that we have a prisoner that needs his attention.” He said curtly.
“Won’t you wait inside?” I asked gesturing towards the house.
“We cannot, we would be ceremonially unclean. Ask Pilate to come out to us.”
I bowed silently, taking the moment to look at the prisoner. So many criminals had been brought to Pilate that I had gotten used to them. This man looked like a regular Jew, nothing special in his features or manners but I didn’t have any time to study him, I had duties to attend to. I rushed inside to the grand hall where Pilate was seated on an elevated chair, his costly robes draped around him.
“Lord Pilate.” I said bowing “There is a group of high priests with a prisoner for you.”
“Tell them to come in.” Pilate sighed, taking a drink from his goblet.
“They wish for you to come to them” I repeated “or else they will become unclean.”
“Yes of course.” Pilate said, seeming to snap into focus all the sudden as he stood up. “Guard, take the prisoner away while I talk to the priests.”
I retreated back through the door and out to the well again where I watched while the guard took the man away and Pilate came out. I listened while hauling my bucket up again.
“Who is it that you have brought to me?” Pilate said as he came down the stairs.
“Jesus of Nazareth.” They said.
I nearly dropped the bucket again at the mention of his name, I had heard many things about this man and the great miracles he had performed, surely there were false prophets but this man did not seem like the others.
“What charges do you bring against this man?” Pilate said.
“If he were not a criminal we would not have handed him over to you.” One of them said.
“Take him yourself and judge him by your own law.” Pilate said, frustrated.
“But we have not right to execute anyone.” The Jews objected.
The expression on Pilates face remained like a stone but I was surprised. They wanted Pilate to kill him even before they had told him of the charges.
“I will go and speak to the man.” He said turning and leaving the priests to talk among themselves.
I hauled the water inside then slipped into a dark corner of the hall, greatly interested in what the prisoner would say.
The guard brought Jesus in and stood back, leaving Pilate to his questioning.
“Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate said, standing right in front of the man.
“Is this your own idea” Jesus asked “Or did others talk to you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate said, the irritation showing in his voice “It was your people and you chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus said calmly.
“You are a king then!” Pilate said victoriously.
“You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth, everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is the truth?” Pilate asked and without waiting for a response, he turned and left.
When the guard had taken Jesus back to the dungeon I slid out of my hiding place and stood for a moment in the empty hall. Why was I so interested in this man? Surely he has performed some great miracles but not all prophets were prophets of Yahweh. I believed in Yahweh but did I believe this man was sent by Yahweh to save us?
I shoved all these thoughts aside and went to help prepare the morning meal.
I sighed as I hauled another bucket of water into the house; it had been a long day. It was mid-evening now but the house was still buzzing with people. Jesus had been sent to Herod when it had been discovered that he was a Galilean then he was sent back and now Pilate was questioning him with the high priests. On top of that Pilate’s wife was having a bad day and a crowd was gathering outside, waiting to hear what would happen to Jesus. I peered into the courtyard where they were questioning him:
“Do you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” Pilate’s voice boomed.
Jesus remained silent and I could see the surprise on Pilates face.
“I will go to the judges seat, so the people outside may hear my verdict also.” Pilate said and I hurried away from the door and up to my mistress’s room where I had been summoned.
“Mistress Claudia, you called me.” I said bowing to her.
“Yes, I want you to deliver a message to my husband. Tell him: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal in a dream today because of him.’”
I bowed and left, hurrying to the judge’s seat and delivering the message. Then I stood towards the back of the balcony and listened.
“I have come to tell you I find no basis for a charge against the man named Jesus.” Pilate said and there was a grumbling from the crowd. Two guards brought Jesus out and I winced, they had given him the customary treatment, a beating. He was bleeding in several places but he had a purple robe on and a crown made of thorns, they were a way of mocking him for claiming to be a king.
“Crucify him!” The high priests called from below.
Pilate stood up and motioned for the guards to follow him, I stayed close behind, carrying a goblet of wine if ever Pilate should want it.
“Where do you come from?” Pilate asked Jesus almost pleadingly. But Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
“You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” Jesus answered, “Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
Pilate seemed to be stunned for a moment then he hurried back outside and I followed.
“You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod. As you can see has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore I will punish him and release him.”
“Release Barabbas!” They cried out in one voice.
I gasped, Barabbas was a murderer and they would pick him over a prophet?
“What should I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.
“Why? What crime has he committed?”
“Crucify him!” They cried louder.
“Bring me water.” Pilate ordered, and I did. He washed and dried his hands then said: “I am innocent of this man’s blood. He is your responsibility.”
“Let his blood be on us and on our children.” The crowd yelled.
I turned towards Jesus, a tear slipping down my cheek. He looked at me, a tear sliding down his face as well. I turned and left, busying myself with my work.
It was early on the Sabbath morning and I was kneaded bread in the almost empty kitchen. Jesus had been crucified, confirming the fact that he was not the Redeemer as I had hoped. One of Pilates guards had been stationed at the tomb, along with others to insure no one would steal the body and make it look like he had resin from the dead. I had little hope of that though deep inside I still thought he might. The air outside was cool as I went to draw water from the well. The sun touched the earth with its yellow rays, making the dew shine like stars.
A was about to lower the bucket when I noticed one of the guards who had been stationed at the tomb coming up to the house looking dazed.
“What happened?” I asked running up to him.
“While I was at the tomb, a group of women came to prepare the body and while they were there a great earthquake arose and a man whose appearance was light lightning came and rolled away the stone. The tomb was empty and he said ‘Do not be afraid, the man you are looking for has risen from the dead.’”
I took a step back, to surprised at first to believe it then with mounting joy I turned and ran all the way up the hill at back of the palace and danced with joy.
As the sun rises out of the darkness, so the son of God rose from a dark tomb.
I am Abigail, a Jew in a gentile’s world.