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Ken Klopper online
The story of a troubled man's journey from the birth of Christ to the cross and his salvation.
A story set in Biblical times about a boy born into a wealthy and successful family of merchants, and a world where money can buy almost anything.
His family has influence, beauty, and acceptance in the community, but the boy is the only hurdle in their perfect existence, suffering from a congenital deformity, paralysis, and blindness.
Guided by his daily journal and his loyal friend and mentor, he travels along the difficult path to finding inner peace and healing.
Will he find what he is looking for?
What is the significance of the existence of a "special child" in the "one-horse" town of Nazareth?
How can the preacher from Nazareth change his life?
Do the dusty roads he travels lead to peace and salvation?
BASED ON THE BOOK OF MATTHEW.
Joshua pulled the hood of his cloak over his head. It had suddenly become cold, as dark and menacing clouds rolled in from nowhere.
As he looked up at the three figures on the hill, he could barely make out their features. The sun had disappeared behind the ominous cloud almost as if someone had suddenly closed a heavy curtain at a window through which sunlight had once filtered.
Is this how it must end, or was something extraordinary about to happen?
The events had been unfolding for three hours.
He felt very tired, more tired than he had every felt before. He wanted to cry but there were no tears, only a deep penetrating feeling of sadness and cold, bone-chilling cold. His cloak was ineffective but he wrapped it tightly around his shivering body.
Despite the plummeting temperature, the sheer terror of the events unfolding before him caused him to sweat profusely. Droplets of sweat dripped down his chest and back making him feel even more uncomfortable.
He had images of the log fires at his parent's home and the warm drinks his mother would often make for him before bedtime as a child. These images were short-lived as the plummeting temperature swiftly brought him back to reality.
There was something very evil about this place, something very different from the once lively city below.
Gazing back at the city there did not appear to be much life at that moment. People had left the streets after the sun had suddenly disappeared. The streets and alleyways were now quiet and desolate, the marketplace and city square deserted.
Arriving at this place, Joshua had immediately noticed that there were no birds flying around and the scavenger dogs that habitually inhabited the outskirts of the city had disappeared.
Then there was the stench.
At first, Joshua did not recognise the smell although it was familiar. Fused with other elements of nature on the outskirts of the city it seemed to overwhelm those elements from time to time. He knew when he first sensed it that it was not a smell associated with anything pleasant and when he recognised it, he knew why.
It was the smell that he had experienced when travelling with his father on trade expeditions as a young man. They would often come across signs of other caravans that had travelled the route they were taking. On several occasions, they had come across the decaying carcasses of camels or other livestock.
The stench was the smell of death.
Scores of executions at this place had saturated the surrounding earth with blood, gall and urine and the smell of death and decay hung over the area like an invisible cloud.
Joshua wanted to turn and flee from this place but he knew that he could not. Instead, he found that his mind often wandered to more pleasant places and the memorable adventures he had experienced flashed before him and offered brief relief from the cold and the desolation of his damned and terrible surroundings.
Then like the opposite of a nightmare, he moved from his pleasant daydream into the dark reality of his present situation.
This time a heart-wrenching scream brought him back.
'Eli, Eli, la ma sa bach-tha-ni!'
The battered figure hanging on the cross lifted itself up and in the last dying moments cried out in a voice that seemed to resonate through the whole city. Joshua would remember those screams for the rest of his life for they were screams of desperation and pain unlike any he had ever heard before.
The few bystanders who had remained at the scene were muttering about what it meant and had once again misunderstood.
Joshua knew what it meant. It was the end of earthly heartache and rejection. This was also the end of human pain and humiliation. It had ended. It was finished.
Some of the more curious bystanders who had braved the elements noticed that the figure’s head was hanging to one side and tried to revive him hoping for something dramatic to take place but the soldiers chased them away. The soldiers knew the signs from experience and when they were uncertain, they would often take steps to ensure that the execution was over. A soldier moved forward to confirm that it was over. The figure did not move again.
Jesus, the man, was dead.
As Joshua swiftly moved away from the place called Golgotha, the earth below his feet started to tremble and the surrounding buildings were shaking and crumbling. Joshua hardly felt the tremors because his legs felt so unsteady and for the first time tears streamed down his icy face. They were warm against his skin and left a salty taste as they streamed into his mouth. He recalled the taste from times when tears came freely and frequently.
As he entered the city, struggling to make his way along the cobbled path, he realised that the mission that had occupied so much of his life had ended. At the same time, the realisation that he had found the answers that he had sought for a major part of his life overwhelmed the feeling of sadness.
As he moved towards his father’s villa, a feeling of fulfilment and joy replaced the tears. The events preceding this terrible day made more sense than ever and the words of the Nazarene echoed in his head.
As he reached the villa, the earthquake had stopped. He sat down on a low wall at the entrance to catch his breath as he recalled how it had all started.
Just as images started flashing through his mind, he heard a familiar voice jerking him back to reality.
‘Where have you been?’ Ambriel asked. ‘We have been looking for you all over. Come inside, the streets are not safe.’
As they entered the gates, the darkness seemed to be dissipating and sunlight started to filter through the thick layer of cloud covering the city of Jerusalem.
‘I just witnessed the execution of Jesus, Ambriel,’ Joshua explained as they entered the main building.
The words of the Nazarene echoed in Joshua’s head. ‘It is finished.’
Joshua knew that it had only just begun.