One hot arid day a small Bedouin boy threw a rock into this cave between my ears and heard the crack of pottery. This manuscript had been sepulchered within that dark space.
James and John approached Jesus with a new friend whom they introduced as Nick. Nick immediately grabbed Jesus by the arm and walked to the side of the road. He began to speak.
"Your friends are concerned because you aren't reaching enough people with your new religion. They brought me over to help promote you and get you in front of the world. And we can do it, I promise you that. Yeah, you've got a really good idea and it needs to go farther than Galilee. You need my help, that's for sure.
"Now, Jesus, you know you're turning the leaders of the Synagogue against you with all your actions. That's the first group you want on your side. You've got to stop all those things that bring them down on you--healing on the Sabbath, forgiving sins, and beating the money changers--woowee, that was a bad one!
"If you're going to sell your product, you gotta give the people what they want. To reach a wider audience, we need to make a study of the area to come up with a package to get your message out there so it grabs their attention.
"Let's see. We need a logo. All good businesses have logos. Hey, Peter, any thoughts on a logo?"
"I don't know anything about logos. I'm just a fisherman. All I know is fish."
"That's it! A fish! Great idea. No wonder he calls you a rock.
"Now we need to think about what the people want and go from that angle."
Judas fingered the bag of coins on his hip, thinking, 'We've got a good thing here. Money coming in and women who follow us around taking care of us. If we were bigger there'd be more.' He opened up to Nick.
"How about getting a few thousand people together? I could ask a friend to donate his hill. We could advertise it as Jesus' Sermon on the Mount."
"I don't believe that would work. People are too busy to spend an afternoon sitting on a hill. What we need to pull in a crowd is a miracle," said Nick.
"You mean like turning water into wine? I've heard about that one, but I'd really like to see it with my own eyes."
"Oh, Thomas. You've never believed that. I was there. I drank it. It was the best," everyone said in unison.
"Yeah, you could bet a lot of people would come out for a sip or two of wine," said Simon with real enthusiasm.
"How about billboards and short catchy slogans? You know, things to stick in the memory. Like Name it and Claim it!" said Andrew.
Jesus broke in at this point saying, "That's not exactly..."
"Wait, Jesus. We're trying to get the message out there. We're brainstorming here. Give us a few. All Right?"
James and John spoke up, "Hey, wait a minute now. We brought you over for this. Jesus might be a backwoods preacher but he deserves your respect. He's the one you are promoting. Remember? You gotta make him big. He's already promised us seats at his right and left if we follow him. We're ready for that. It's up to you to make him really big!"
"All right," Nick said, a slight smile on his lips. "Let's get back to this rally. Jesus, do you think you can heal a couple of cripples? That's always a good show stopper."
"You really don't understand my message at all. You need to..."
"That's okay. Don't need to understand it. Just need to sell it. You don't want your boys here to be embarrassed because you only reach a few people, do you? Of course you don't. You want them to be proud of a big organization. Don't you?"
"It won't come from..."
"Sure you do. Hey, Matthew, any idea how much tax would be levied on a show the size we're talking?"
"Well, if we rent the tent and cater the affair we could write it off as a business expense. Then we'd clear even more!"
"Hey, Thaddeus. We never hear from you. Do you have any ideas to throw out?"
"Yes, I do. I've been thinking. We need to come up with something to sway a really tough audience. I have a friend in the Sanhedrin, name of Saul. If we convince him then we'd have the world in our pocket."
"Bad idea. Never happen. You'd have to run into that stubborn mule on a lonely road and hit him right between the eyes with a cross-beam. Make him see lights and hear voices before you could even get to him," said Andrew. "He's a man who goes strictly by the book. The last person who'd listen to us. It would have to be God himself swinging that timber."
"Just a thought."
"Well, now. Let's not get discouraged. We're throwing out ideas. Let's look from a new perspective."
Nick, putting his hand to his chin and looking Jesus over, grew pensive. "Hmm..Yes. I believe that would do it. OK! Jesus, I know, now, what we have to do. A whole new look and attitude. We have to change your image. We've got some work to do here. You know people think you're just a rebel. You talk to women in public, for crying out loud! you defend who sho should be stoned. That just ain't right. You gotta stop. How do you expect to get the guys behind you if you break up a good stoning?
"And if you want the women to follow you, you'll have to get rid of that homespun and get you some real nice threads. Something to accentuate your looks. Maybe something in red.
"You know your face looks like that of a man of a thousand sorrows. Definitely a turnoff to the chicks. You've been working as a carpenter most of your life. We need to emphasize your physique. And if you could lose that look, as if you have the fate of mankind on your shoulders..."
"Hold it, Nick. I know you. We've met before. You've certainly got these boys on your bandwagon."
"How long do I have to put up with all of you?" Jesus said turning to his twelve followers. "You do not understand a single thing I've said while I've been with you. When will you see that I am not selling a product to be marketed by the likes of this person? I wasn't sent to offer you a nice ride to the good life. I was sent to fulfill the law. The law was given to provide a way to know God and live a life clsoe to Him. But it has all been perverted by salesmen and others who don't understand the spirit of the law.
"I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly. I am not a business. None of you know where I am going. If you did you would not want to go, but you will.
"I am not a product to be packaged and sold. I am God's gift to you. It is up to each person to decide if he wants this gift. But it comes at a price. It costs you your soul. You must give your life to God. And don't think that upon giving your life to God you will be alone. No. When I leave, the Holy Spirit will come to be with you. He will guide you. But I get ahead of myself.
"You can package and sell the words I utter but you cannot sell the meaning. The meaning comes from within. It is a seed planted in each person's heart. Whether it takes root is not up to those pushing the seeds but to my Father who loves each one. Will each be one of mine? That is between the individual and the Father.
"One day you will hear it said, 'If their purpose is of human origin, it will fail. But, if it is of God, you will not be able to stop these men.' I ask you, can you find a better sales campaign?
"You need to stop efforts to splash me across the country. You must take my words to heart. Love God with all your heart and soul and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. That is all I teach. No amount of advertising or sloganizing will do more than each one studying my word with prayer and meditation. Those who love God will be with God. That is all the Father wants. Let us end this ,now, and continue our journey to Jerusalem.
"Nick, you can go back into the hot desert and leave these few alone. We'll meet again. Good bye for now."
Nick, no longer smiling, slunk back toward the desert. Jesus with his followers turned toward Jerusalem in silence.