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Ancient Bowls

Lazarus - A second Chance - by Ron Baker
Chapter One
"The Assignment"

The illness had come upon him suddenly. He hadn’t felt his normal self for at least two weeks. Then he lost energy and became weaker by the day. Now all he wanted to do was sleep. And he did sleep – a deep, deep sleep.

His sisters had finally called for their friend. They had waited, fearing to disturb him as they mistakenly thought their brother showed signs of improvement. After all, he was a vigorous 33 years old and had never shown illness previously.

He lay still and stiff. Everything seemed so dark and lifeless. His arms seemed like stones. Suddenly, a pinpoint of light appeared far away. It grew closer and closer, until he felt he could reach and touch it ... but he was afraid.

“What is this? What is happening?” he thought.

A feeling of calm enveloped him and he knew he was dreaming. “That’s it. I’m dreaming.” Then he recognized his friend.

“Look,” said his friend. “You must give me your attention now and for the moment forget your fatigue. Come on! You can do it!”

“That’s right!” he encouraged. “I have something very important to say to you. I know you will not fail me. In fact, I know you want to help me in every way you can,” his friend said.

“As one of the inner circle you are a chosen man – one of the few knowledgeable on this earth. You know our Father is within you. And, you are as much a part of the Lifeforce as I or any of the others.

“My friend, I call upon you for an additional task, one more than I have given to John or James, or your sister Mary. You, among all of us, have been chosen for this special role. The Lifeforce, our Father, has called you and you can not refuse. It will be difficult and perilous....”

“But,” he interrupted, “You are the Messiah, the Anointed One. It is for you we have waited. You who knows. What can I do? How can I help? I am nothing in your shadow.”

“My friend, you are as I am. Nothing less and nothing more. We are all of the Lifeforce. As I am a shepherd of men you are as well. I am a portal – a gateway – to life everlasting. Life that we all share and have shared. This is so, regardless of what we think now, in this existence.

“Things are muddled now. And, that is the result of how you think of yourself. You still hold to this world and your thoughts limit you. Lazarus, you are a great fisherman, so you will understand this – your thoughts imprison you. They leave you on the beach as the tide goes out when all you need do is move a little further out into the sea and hoist your sail to the wind – surrender to the power of the wind and let it take you to your destiny. The world is yours if you will unshackle your mind and free your thoughts.”

His friend’s words were so confusing, he thought. “But after all this is my dream is it not? I am asleep. I can make my dream whatever I want.”

“Lazarus,” he calmly explained, “You are not dreaming. You are with me now and we have much to discuss and plan, for your burden is great, It is I with little time left on this earth.”

“Master, you have just begun. How can it be that you will leave now?”

As he contemplated his answer a look of concern passed quickly over his brow. Then his knowing, reassuring “look” returned. He knew how to light the path for Lazarus – even if his friend was unable to grasp the message today. He knew when Lazarus was ready he would understand. After all that is the way of the Father.

“I am troubled, Master,” Lazarus said, as he looked down at his feet. “With you gone the Pharisees will see us weakened. Then surely their courage will return. One by one we, those who know you, will be killed. And, they will be the lucky ones – like John the Baptizer. Gone with little torture. Many of our brothers who have dared to speak as you have for the ways of our fathers – against Herod Antipas and the Pharisees – are gone, disappeared, we don’t know where they have been taken.”

“All that you are saying is true . And, more will come to pass – too terrible to behold,” said Jesus. “That is why I have come to you now.”

Lazarus became aware of a tingling now in his fingers and toes. It felt good. Like warmth returning after a blast of cold wind.

“Soon, my friend, I will be beaten. Even those closest to me will abandon me. I will be betrayed and finally killed. All this will happen because those, like Caiaphas, put their fears onto my shoulders. I have not harmed anyone and helped many heal themselves...”

Lazarus interrupted,

“It is true. The people follow you. You are our beloved one, our savior – the one for whom we have waited. Anyone who has seen you, heard you speak, knows your goodness. We trust you to lead us to freedom over the oppressors and those who sleep with them! The scum, the Pharisees – they enrich their purses with the gold of their brothers and drink the blood of their own families.”

“Why has God forsaken us, Master?” exclaimed Lazarus.

“He hasn’t. God is with you now. He is always there. Even when you think you walk in darkness.” The answer back instantly as a faint tremble passed his lips.

“I wish I had your faith, Jesus,” Lazarus moaned.

“I know this is hard to understand,” said Jesus, “but you have heard me says it before – the world we see is a reflection of what we believe is true. It is what we have been taught by our mothers and fathers and what our friends and family believe. And like a big circle, that is what we teach our own children to have them believe. It is thus and always has been. But it will not always be.”

Things were getting confusing again, thought Lazarus.

“Master, what does this have to do with the scum Herodians and the traitorous Pharisees?”

So they talked.

Chapter 2