The physician pulled the drapery to the doorway and glanced into the room to the bed where the young girl was laying with the covers pulled up to her neck. He met the dark brown eyes, shaped into a plea. From the door he noted the droplets of sweat streaming down her brow and the deathly-pale complexion of her face and hands. He saw the rags with circles of red on the nearby table. The doctor released the drape
It is schachepheth. The white plague
How can you diagnose her from the door? Go in and treat her
I cannot go in
We are paying you for treatment. Not to glance into the room!
You should not go in there either. Her food and water should be left inside the entry
She can’t get up. We must take the food inside
The father coughed into a rag
The doctor stared at the cloth. Have you been going in there?
Of course. She is my daughter
The doctor covered his mouth and nose with the top of his robe and picked up his bag. You should pray
Yes. I have no treatment. All you can do is pray
The couple and their son watched as the man left their home
Abba, what are we going to do?
The man coughed again. Go outside and put on your sandals. We have an order
When the boy walked outside, the man looked to his wife. We will need a half loaf of bread and enough water for a day of labor. Prepare these items now
Where are you going?
We are going to find wood. We will be back before nightfall
# # #
Nearing half of a kilometer from their home, the man began to cough repeatedly. The boy motioned him to a fallen tree to sit. After they took a seat, and his father stopped coughing, the boy pulled a book from his bag and opened it. The man watched him read for a short time while he rested
What are you reading?
The Psalter of King Dawid
Is it a good one?
I don’t understand it very well yet. He starts by singing a lament about sorrow and pain, but by the end he is singing about the power of Elohim
Why do you read that stuff? It’s not the real world. You should read things that will teach you about life. Study a skill that will be useful. Learn to work with wood
You work with wood. Are you happy?
He looked at the boy for a moment. Drink some water. Put the book in your bag. We need to keep walking
After walking for a few moments, the man looked at the boy. How does what you were reading begin?
Dawid says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
He sounds weak
But it ends in strength
You shouldn’t read about weakness. You need to be strong
The boy watched his father struggling with the bag of tools over his shoulder. How far are we going? What are we looking for?
I don’t know how far. We need to find three trees. Cedar, cypress, and pine. We need them to be near each other so when we fell one, we will not need to haul it far
Why do we need three?
The order is specific
What are you going to make?
You’ve asked enough questions
Moments later, the man pointed. There. There is a pine of Yerushalayim and a cedar of Lebanon
What about the cypress?
We will search this area
After searching for a great distance, the father noticed the sun nearing the tree line. We will go back to the two we found, start with those, and find the other tomorrow. We will lay them today and get home by dark
When they arrived at the site of the pine and cedar, the man stopped a distance away and opened his mouth
What is it, Abba?
With his mouth still agape, he pointed. There, between the trees
Between the pine and cedar trees stood a Mediterranean Cypress
Did you see that tree there before?
I don’t remember, Abba. What is it?
A cypress. That is the tree
It was there the whole time?
It must have been
As the man began to unpack his tools, his boy spoke to him. Abba, people are saying that the mashiach has arrived and he is coming here
Who told you that?
My teacher. And other people have been talking about it too
Oh joy, another savior. I’m sure we should oil our heads for this one as well
Abba, they say he has healed people. And he has done many other miracles. Maybe he can help Anna
I’m sure he has. And I’m sure that for only seven hens and three calves, we too, can receive the blessings of the anointed one
But the scripture, Abba
Psh. A waste of trees. Scripture does not put meat on the table. Only the wood from the tree will feed us when we need to eat
The boy looked to the ground
Between strikes of the axe, the man spoke to his son. What is the name of this mashiach?
Just Yeshua? Where is he from?
Yeshua of Nazara
The man chuckled, began to cough, and paused swinging the blade. Nazara? A mashiach from Nazara? That’s a good one, boy
But he is doing everything that Yesha’yahu and the other prophets said the mashiach would do. Except die and rise again. So, I guess he hasn’t done everything. But almost everything
Have you seen him do these things?
Don’t let people fool you, boy
The eyes of the boy fell again
I’ll tell you this. If I see this mashiach die and come back from the dead, I’ll believe it is true. How does that sound?
The boy sat and began to read the words of Yesha’yahu
He will swallow up death in victory
Oh, I was just reading
Do it silently
When the third three was on the ground, they returned home for the night
The next day, they returned to the trees. The man handed a small saw to the boy and instructed him to begin removing branches, while he began to measure and mark the trunks. As they worked, they could hear a roar of cheers growing more and more loudly in the east of a nearby mount where the town was located
The man looked the direction of the sound and shook his head. The boy stopped moving the saw. I think he’s here, Abba
Get back to work
With the branches and shoots removed, the man began to saw the ends of the trees at the marks. The pine was cut to two meters in length. Then chiseled to a height of one-third of a meter, and a depth of fifteen centimeters
The boy watched with confusion
What are you making, Abba?
I told you. An instrument. Read your book
From the cedar, a plank was cut and chiseled measuring half a meter in length, one-third of a meter in width, and four centimeters in thickness
The cypress was cut to four meters, then chiseled to a thickness of one-third of a meter in depth and height. At a mark of two-thirds of the length, the man chiseled a groove across the plank that was one-third of a meter long and fifteen centimeters deep
Once the three parts were complete, he began gathering his tools. Get ready to go. We are finished here. The man put the rectangular plank into his bag and pointed at the two-meter length of pine. You’ll carry that piece
The man then picked up the four-meter piece of cypress and laid it across his shoulders. With his arms outstretched he held it secure against the back of his neck. The boy mimicked the position. They began walking home
Is this all the wood we need for the order?
The boy studied the long and short pieces of timber and the outstretched arms of his father
Are you making something for a tzalav? Is this going to be a crucifix?
You said you’re making an instrument
It is an instrument. It’s an instrument for the Roman government to carry out sentences for the guilty
Abba, you’re making something that will kill people
Guilty people. How much did you do today to feed our family? I need to accept the orders I receive
As they entered the town, nearing their home, they witnessed a commotion. A woman passed them and cried out with great joy. He’s here! He’s here! The mashiach is here!
Abba, I told you!
When they entered their home, the man saw his wife was sitting near a window, surveying the motion outside
What is going on out there?
Her husband answered. A delusion. How is Anna?
The same. She still hasn’t eaten
Is she still coughing blood?
Is she drinking water?
The boy began walking toward the room where his sister was resting. His father spoke up. You need to cover your face as the doctor did when you are around your sister
His mother handed him one of her head scarves. The boy tied it around his head and lifted it over his nose
When he entered the room, he didn’t recognize the girl that looked up to him. Anna?
He sat on a stool near her bed. How are you feeling?
I feel tired. But I can’t sleep
Can I bring you something to eat?
I’m not hungry. She continued. I heard shouts outside. What’s happening?
There’s good news. I believe the mashiach is here
Can he heal people?
Where is he?
I don’t know
Please find him. I don’t want to die
I will try. I believe you will be healed
And Abba too?
Yes. Abba too
Over the next six days, the man worked on completing the order. He laid the pine cross beam over the cypress and inserted it into the fifteen-centimeter recess. With a bow drill he created three pilot holes through each block of wood, then hammered steel rods into the holes. Over the point where the beams met, he nailed the four-centimeter-thick piece of cedar. He then flipped the assembly, so the front side was faced up
On the seventh day, he woke to find a note nailed next to the entry of his home, along with the payment in a small bag on the ground
The note stated that the order is due and instructed the location for delivery
He entered his home and called out to Eli. The boy stepped out from his sleeping quarters. Get up and get ready. We need to deliver the order
When the boy was ready, they lifted the order, with the man on the end with the cross beam, the boy on the other end
After walking for a distance, the man rested the order on his shoulder and into a white rag he coughed. He saw spots of red on the cloth when he caught his breath
Are you ok, Abba?
Yes. Do not drop the order. We will be there soon
As they approached the court of Pontius Pilate, they could hear a large crowd yelling obscenities and cheering in a rhythm. As they got closer, they could then hear desperate cries of women
When they arrived, the man gave his son instructions. We will place it here. Set your end down
Inside the court, they saw that a man was tied to a post. Blood covered the dirt and the man near him who was swinging a whip. The prisoner’s back was opened with long rivers of blood running diagonally from shoulder to hip
Eli's father asked an onlooker wearing a snarl and soulless eyes. What's happening?
A criminal is receiving what he deserves
Who is it?
Don’t worry. It’s no one you know. He’s a vagrant, a homeless nomad. And he broke the law
At that moment, the prisoner was loosed from the post and led through the crowd. Soldiers led the way, moving the witnesses as they approached where the man and boy stood, and the order that they had delivered was set
A soldier pointed to the wooden object. Pick it up!
The prisoner lifted the order and placed it onto his right shoulder. Now, walk!
When he took a step the weight of the wood pulled one of the gashes on his shoulder and split it to the bone
The jeering crowd and crying women swarmed the prisoner and soldiers. Eli and the man were pushed to the outer circle of the crowd. They didn’t see a woman wipe the face of the prisoner or a man help to carry the order. The crowd did not spread until they arrived at Golgotha
They saw two men hanging when they arrived. The prisoner was allowed to drop the wood. There was a circle of thorned branches around his brow. He was placed onto his back. An arm was pulled to the pine cross beam and another soldier used a hammer to place a long nail through the wrist of the prisoner and into the wood. Then the other. The soldiers crossed the man’s feet over each other and hammered another nail through his ankles
The tree was raised and placed into a hole. The man hung. The cypress beneath his feet was stained crimson
A plaque with three languages hung over the man’s head. It read
ישוע מנצרת, מלך היהודים
Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum
Ιησούς από τη Ναζαρέτ, Βασιλιάς των Ιουδαίων
Can you see what that says?
Yes, Abba. It says Yeshua of Nazara
Is that all?
It also says, King of the Jews
The prisoner began to speak. Eli motioned to someone nearby. Can you hear what he’s saying?
Yes. But I don’t know that language. I think he is speaking Aramaic
The boy called out. Does anyone understand Aramaic?
A woman nearby answered. I know some
What did he say?
I couldn’t hear well, but I think he was speaking to a woman. And I think I heard him call her mother
The prisoner said five more things that the woman near the boy couldn’t hear
The crowd slowly dispersed once the prisoners on the left and right had died, and the one in the center appeared to be nearing death
Eli’s father spoke to the woman near them. Who are these men? What did they do?
The men on the left and right were thieves. Bandits
And the one in the center?
He was found guilty of blasphemy. He claims to be the son of God. And the same as God
Yeshua then spoke again. Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
What did he say?
He said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
The man sneered. Weakness
Abba, he is quoting King Dawid. It’s from the Psalter I was telling you about when we were walking to the trees
He’s quoting weakness
Abba, that Psalter is about the strength of Elohim
It doesn’t appear to be helping your mashiach
The head of the man on the tree fell and the ground began to shake
Come on, we need to get home
The man took the arm of the boy to lead him away. The boy looked back to the prisoner to find a small smile slip onto his lips, then slowly fade
Three days passed and the man was startled from his rest by the voice of Anna calling out. The man, his wife, and Eli met at the entry to her room
Her face was colored as an olive. Her cheeks were painted with a flush of pink
Abba, a man was here!
A man? Who was he? I will find him!
It’s ok, don’t worry. He was a kind man. He said that he wanted to come say hello. And that everything is going to be ok
What did he look like? What did he do to you?
Abba, I think he healed me. I tried to cough after he left, but I don’t need to cough any more. And I’m hungry
I don’t understand. Did he tell you his name?
Yes. I asked him. His name is Yeshua
Yeshua. From where?
I didn’t ask that. I’m sorry. I forgot
The man looked to his wife. She said she is hungry. Prepare a meal. Go now
Eli spoke to his sister. What else did he say?
The girl was silent for a moment
He said that we are healed by your faith, Eli
The boy blinked rapidly, then looked up to his father. The man attempted a cough into his cloth, but found that it remained white
The girl stood
The man sat. Then spoke. Did he say anything else?
Before he left, he said that he’s now going to go see his friend, Cephas
Cephas? What language did he speak?
Mine. I mean, ours, of course. He spoke Hebrew
The man looked the direction of his son, then back to Anna. Yes, of course. What else would he speak?
The girl walked to her father and gave him a hug. Abba, I’m so thankful that we are well again
I am as well. Now, go find your mother and eat
The girl left the room and the boy looked to his father. Do you believe now?
Believe in what?
Did you see a mashiach?
The boy was silent. The man looked down to the white cloth in his hand, then up to the boy
Tell me, how does that Psalter end?
They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn. He has done it!
Go outside and put on your sandals. We have an order