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Chapter 16 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where is jesus chapter 16

Ch16. Diamonds

Jesus Josephovich and Andrey Bogdanovich escorted the elderly woman whom they had met outside the Metro station to a small café next to the Golden Gate. The woman was a bit frightened by the two men, especially the one with the long hair and the shaggy beard. She didn’t know what these men wanted, and she was afraid that once they got to know her, they wouldn’t want to help her any more. It was much easier when people just handed her money.

They entered the café and all the patrons turned and stared at the motley trio. They appeared to be an illustration of a slow degeneration into poverty, from Andrey Bogdanovich’s typical working class appearance, to Jesus Josephovich’s dark skin and haggard hair, and finally to the old woman with her torn and tattered coat which was stained brown and gray from a lifetime of wear. It was hard not to stare at them.

They sat down at a table and a waiter hesitantly handed them menus. He quickly walked away and glared at them distastefully out of the corner of his eye.

Jesus Josephovich was overwhelmed by the menu. He considered ordering tea, but there were at least twenty different kinds. Coffee was no better.

“What do all these things mean?” he asked, pointing to one of the coffee options.

“Those are different ways to make your coffee,” Andrey explained. “With milk, with sugar, with cream, with chocolate, with nuts, with ice cream.”

Jesus Josephovich’s eyes grew large. “How do you just order a regular coffee?”

“You can’t,” Andrey teased. “If it was just a regular cup of coffee, then they wouldn’t be able to justify charging us so much money for it.”

Jesus stared at the menu in amazement.

“I’m kidding,” Andrey said. “Don’t worry, I’ll order for you.”

The woman flipped nervously through the menu’s pages. Jesus Josephovich gently touched her thin, wrinkled hand. “Get whatever you want,” he said. “Don’t be shy.”

She grinned, showing off a mouth full of bronze and gray metal; typical Soviet dentistry.

They ordered tea and coffee and a few croissants and pastries. The old woman swore that she wasn’t hungry, but they ordered a special pastry for her anyways.

“Why are you doing this?” the woman asked candidly.

“You looked like you needed something to warm you up,” Jesus Josephovich said. “How long were you standing outside in the snow?”

The woman shook her head wearily. “Since the morning,” she said.

“You could freeze to death,” Andrey declared.

“I don’t care any more,” she admitted. “My life ended a long time ago.”

“Why are you begging?” Jesus asked.

“Why am I begging? Because I need money. I can’t live without money,” she said.

“Did you ask God to help you?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

The woman looked offended by the question. “Of course I asked God. I’ve prayed to him every day to help me. But God doesn’t put money in my hands,” she said.

Andrey nodded in agreement. “Yes, he only seems to put money in the hands of priests and politicians.”

The old woman laughed. “And criminals,” she added. “But good people… what can we do?”

“You can pray,” Jesus Josephovich answered. “He will hear you. Sometimes he doesn’t give us money, because that’s not what we need.”

“Sometimes I wonder,” she said. “This life has been so hard. I’ve seen so much. I always think that life will get better later, people promise us that life will be better, but it never is. It just seems to get worse and worse. Life was simple as a child, but now… now life is terrible. Now I have nothing.”

“What happened?” the foreigner asked.

“I lost my family,” she said. “I was born in western Ukraine, but my parents died in the famine when Stalin starved our country. I moved to another city to live with my Aunt and later I married a Russian man. I moved to Russia with him and after the war we ended up living in a small village. He lost his leg in the war, so I had to take care of him.”

The two men looked at her solemnly. She continued to ramble on as if speaking to no one and everyone at the same time. She wasn’t used to being listened to.

“We had five children,” she continued, “but they all moved away to find jobs in the cities. Life was very lonely after they left. They didn’t visit often. Then my husband died and it was even lonelier, so I took extra jobs. Eventually I retired and I lived off my pension and the money we had saved. But when the Soviet Union fell apart, our money disappeared.”

Andrey shook his head sadly. He knew many people whose entire life savings had disappeared when the USSR collapsed. It had happened to many of them twice.

“Everything was gone,” she said. Our bank accounts were empty and I couldn’t get my pension. I was Ukrainian, but I didn’t have a Ukrainian passport. I’d never needed one in the Soviet Union, but now that Ukraine and Russia were separated, I didn’t know what to do. I came back to Ukraine to try to get a pension from the Ukrainian government, but it was very difficult. I had no friends and no one to help me. My children and their families were in Russia, but they had no money either and they moved to different cities when I moved to Ukraine and we lost contact with each other. I haven’t heard from them in many years.”

The woman started crying weakly. She held her face in her hands and sobbed. Jesus Josephovich put his arm around her.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly.

“Why do these things happen?” she asked. “Why is life so difficult for us?”

The waiter brought their drinks and food and they took a few moments to refresh themselves. Andrey watched the old woman cautiously, unsure how he should respond.

“That reminds me of a story,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Do you see that advertisement?”

They looked out the window at an advertisement for diamonds. On the poster a flawless female hand was modeling a shimmering diamond ring.

“Two men saw an advertisement similar to this one,” Jesus said. “It told them that they could find diamonds on a certain mountain. They didn’t know anything about diamonds, but they went looking for them because they wanted to be rich.

“The first man looked at the advertisement and saw a delicate hand showing off the diamond and he thought that it must be in an easy place to find, because the hand was so beautiful. He didn’t know anything about diamonds and he decided that the most obvious place to search was at the top of the mountain in the ice, because ice and diamonds looked quite similar. So he had a pleasant walk to the top and enjoyed the warm sunshine, the cool breeze, and the magnificent view.

“The second man knew that something so precious as a diamond could only be formed in the ground under extreme pressure, so he decided to dig deep into the mountain. The first man laughed at him because the second man had chosen to dig in the dirt and grime while he was enjoying life at the top.

“In the end, the first man gathered ice from the highest peak hoping that there would be diamonds inside. But when he brought the ice back down, before he even reached the bottom, it quickly melted away and nothing was inside. The second man, however, never stopped digging. He was extremely dirty, his hair and skin were so black that he barely looked human, his hands were cut and bleeding, his muscles were sore from the work, he couldn’t see and he could barely breath in the tiny stuffy hole he had made to dig in, but finally, after ages of digging, there in the center of the mountain, in the deepest part, he found a diamond.”

Jesus Josephovich looked at the old woman. “The first man’s ice lasted for a moment, but the second man’s diamond will last forever. Find your diamond,” he said to her. “Seek what is eternally valuable. If your life has been difficult, there must be something of value being built within it.”

“I wish I could find it, but I can’t,” she cried. “I’ve been praying to God every day. I told him this morning that if he didn’t give me a sign today, I’m going to quit. I’m not going to believe in him any more.”

“What do you want God to give you?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“I want to see my children again,” she said. “I want to see my grandchildren again before I die.”

Suddenly the door to the café opened and a large family walked in. They were poorly dressed and looked like they had traveled a long distance. The old woman looked at them and screamed. She jumped up from the table, ran to them and began kissing their faces.

“Grandmother!” they shouted. The family gathered around her and hugged and kissed her. They seemed as surprised to see her as she was to see them.

She turned at looked at Jesus Josephovich. “Do you know this man?” she asked her family as she pointed at the unkempt foreigner.

“No,” her son said. “We’ve spent the last 3 days on a train to try to find you. We didn’t know your address, but we knew you were here in Kiev.”

“How did you get enough money to come?” she asked.

“I’ve been working hard, day and night,” her son said. “But we saved up enough, and here we are. We just came in here to get some food, and there you were.”

The grandmother fell into her son’s arms and cried.

The oldest girl tapped her gently on the shoulder. “Grandma look! I’m engaged!”

She held out her hand, and on her finger was a small but elegant diamond.

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 15 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where Jesus is chapter 15

Ch 15. The Accountant

After Jesus Josephovich had broken up the fight in the Metro, his new companion introduced himself.

“My name is Andrey Bogdanovich,” the man said. “Volodomir has told me a lot about you.”

“I hope it was good,” Jesus Josephovich joked.

Andrey laughed. “Of course. He said that you are an extraordinary man, and after seeing you stop that fight, I see that he was right.”

“Wouldn’t you try to stop two young men from hurting each other for no good reason?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“I’d like to think that I would. But sometimes, even though I feel that I should do something, I don’t do it.”

“Why would you not do something that you want to do?” Jesus wondered.

“I don’t know. Fear, maybe.”

“Never fear what is right,” Jesus Josephovich said simply. “Fear doesn’t exist in the real world. It only exists in your mind.”

“Of course I know that in my head,” Andrey said, “but it’s difficult to turn it into action.”

“You’re just out of practice,” Jesus Josephovich replied.

Andrey nodded in agreement and lead Jesus Josephovich through a maze of tunnels into another Metro station and up another giant escalator. Andrey was about fifty years old, tall and thin in an old suit and his hair was just beginning to thin and turn grey around his Slavic hairline. You could see that he was once a handsome young man with jet black hair. He stared at Jesus Josephovich as they ascended the escalator, trying to figure out who he really was.

“I can see that you are a philosopher,” Andrey stated.

“I prefer the title of teacher,” Jesus Josephovich declared. “Philosophers teach people how to think, but thoughts can be deceiving. I would rather a man do what is right without thinking, than learn the secrets of the universe and not be able to act on them.”

“But what if his lack of thinking causes him to do bad things?” Andrey wondered.

“Then he needs a teacher,” Jesus Josephovich answered with a smile.

“Doesn’t a teacher do what a philosopher does? Doesn’t he just give the man knowledge that he can use in order to act correctly?”

“A bad teacher, yes,” Jesus Josephovich declared, “and there are many of those. But a good teacher will not merely teach the man what is right, he will show him. There is a voice that speaks louder than mere knowledge. It is truth.”

“What’s the difference?” Andrey questioned.

“Knowledge is endlessly complex, truth is simple. Knowledge is studied, truth is felt. Knowledge makes one proud, truth makes one humble. Knowledge is written in books, truth is written on the heart.”

Andrey nodded slowly. “I felt that once, when I was young. I wanted to be a priest,” he confessed. “To me the Bible was a magical book. It could do anything. I wanted to perform miracles and walk with God like they did in the Old Testament.”

“What do you do now?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“I work for the government tax administration,” Andrey said dryly. “I’m an accountant.”

“And is there magic in your work?” Jesus Josephovich asked doubtfully.

Andrey laughed. “No. Some of the things that people do to try to hide their money from the government look like magic tricks, but that is the extent of magic in my work. I like it though. That’s why I became an accountant. I always know what to expect. Numbers don’t lie.”

“You look for truth in the absolute?” Jesus Josephovich said. “There is a kind of truth there. One plus one will always equal two, but it’s not going to inspire anyone. Well, maybe it will inspire an accountant.”

Andrey chuckled.

“But I can see that is not the truth you are looking for,” Jesus Josephovich continued. “What happened to your studies of the Bible?”

Andrey cleared his throat and recalled something deep from his past. “I used to read the Bible every day when I was young. I read everything I could about it. I even went to a monastery for a short time. But the more I studied the Bible and the history behind it, the more I began to question some of the Church’s traditions. I realized that many of the things we do are based on history, and not on the Bible.”

“And what did they say?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“The priests? They told me to stop studying. Can you believe it? They told me not to read about church history and one priest even told me that I shouldn’t be reading the Bible by myself, as if I were too stupid to understand it.”

Jesus Josephovich gazed up at the light at the end of the escalator. “You know that the Christ is the only founder of a religious movement who never wrote down any of his teachings. All other great religions were founded by a book that their leader wrote.”

“Maybe that’s why everyone is so confused about Christianity,” Andrey suggested. “Its canonical text wasn’t written by the one man who understood it.”

“It’s not just a problem in Christianity,” Jesus Josephovich declared. “Look what has happened in every religion. People read the founder’s book and then tried to understand what it was saying. But many people interpreted things in different ways, and some people put more importance on certain passages than others. Different groups splintered off from each other, sometimes fighting and killing each other, often hating each other simply because they interpreted the words a little bit differently. In every case, the words became more important than the truth.”

“Why did this happen?” Andrey wondered. “Can we not know the truth?”

“The truth can not be learned through the words. Only through putting the words into practice. But people are always too busy arguing over the words to bother doing what the words say. They have discovered knowledge, but missed the truth.”

“Why didn’t the Christ tell people about this?” Andrey asked. “Why didn’t he warn his people that the words would divide them?”

“Perhaps he didn’t want them to write his teachings down at all,” Jesus Josephovich suggested. “Perhaps he wanted them to teach others the way that he taught his disciples. Not with words, but with action. Maybe that is the only way to learn the truth. You have to do it.”

Andrey looked into Jesus Josephovich’s eyes. They were not the cold eyes of a philosopher. There was not a hint of pride or arrogance in them. Only peace.

“So how do you teach a man Truth?” Andrey asked.

“It can’t be taught. It must be shown,” Jesus Josephovich continued. “You must feel a truth that you cannot explain. It is deeper than words.”

“I want to learn the truth,” Andrey declared earnestly.

Jesus Josephovich smiled. “You know the truth,” he replied. “One plus one equals two.”

Andrey Bogdanovich stared at him with a perplexed look on his face.

“Follow me,” Jesus Josephovich said.

They reached the top of the escalator and exited from the Zoloti Vorota Metro Station and walked onto the busy street. Outside the door an old woman was standing motionless staring at the ground with a small box held between her hands. She was too ashamed to look at the people who were giving her money.

Jesus Josephovich reached into his pocket and dropped a few coins into her box to get her attention. She whispered, “God bless you.” Andrey followed the teacher’s example and dropped a few coins into her box as well.

Andrey started to walk away, but Jesus Josephovich remained standing in front of the old woman. Finally she looked up into his face. Jesus Josephovich smiled and took her hands in his. She grinned embarrassedly.

“I want you to eat with us,” he said to the haggard old beggar. “Please. It would be our pleasure.”

The old woman was surprised by the request and looked around nervously. “Oh no, I’m not hungry,” she claimed.

“We’re all hungry,” Jesus Josephovich answered. His words carried a depth that she wasn’t prepared for. Her hands shook nervously.

Andrey walked up beside him and offered his hand to the old woman. “Please,” he said. “You can’t refuse. We won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

“Well, if I can’t refuse…” she replied with a chuckle as they helped her slowly step off the stairs and amble towards a café across the street.

As they escorted the old woman, Andrey Bogdanovich was filled with a feeling of excitement and anticipation. It was a joy that he couldn’t fully describe in words. It was something that had to be felt to be understood.

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 14 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 14

Ch 14. The Fight

After thirty minutes more of traveling on the Metro, this time on the correct train, Jesus Josephovich finally arrived at his destination, the Teatralna Metro station. He stepped off the Metro train and into the brightly lit, beautifully decorated station. The mass of people flowed out under the arches near the platform into the center of the station where several people were waiting on a few wooden benches. He walked over to the benches and sat down to wait for Volodomir’s friend. He didn’t know what the man looked like; he only knew that he was supposed to meet him at this station. He hoped that the man would recognize him.

Next to him on the bench a young girl was typing feverishly into her cell phone, completely oblivious to the world around her. On his other side was a middle-aged woman with maroon colored hair and an old grey coat who was talking into her cell phone as loud as she could as if no one around her could hear her. Behind him a young man was huddling over his cell phone trying to listen to the person on the other line while the maroon-haired woman was yelling.

Jesus Josephovich took the cell phone that Katya had given him out of his pocket and turned it over in his hands. He looked at the people around him. They were all so focused on their conversations that they were not only unconscious of who was around them, but they deliberately blocked out everyone and everything that could hinder their communication.

They are so close to each other, he thought, but they are so far apart.

Suddenly a shout caught Jesus Josephovich’s attention. Two young men were yelling at each other beneath an archway. One of the men pushed the other on the chest backwards into the wall. The other young man pushed him back violently in return. The first man’s girlfriend screamed for him to stop.

Jesus Josephovich walked over to them and touched them both on the shoulder. Both men were surprised by the foreigner’s odd appearance and they momentarily ceased their fighting.

“Has this man robbed you?” Jesus Josephovich asked the first young man.

He shook his head and his face turned red with anger. “He touched my girlfriend,” the young man asserted.

The young man’s girlfriend blushed.

“It wasn’t on purpose,” the culprit claimed.

“I saw you staring at her in the train,” the angry boyfriend affirmed.

“How could I not touch her?” the man asked. “We were all smashed together in the train.”

The girl stepped forward. “Your hand grabbed my butt. That was not an accident.”

The man’s face turned slightly red. “Someone pushed me,” he said weakly.

The woman’s boyfriend grabbed the guilty man by the collar. “If you won’t admit it, I’ll beat the truth out of you.”

“Wait,” she screamed. “Don’t hurt him.”

“May I ask you a question?” Jesus Josephovich inquired.

“What?” the angry boyfriend shouted.

“Do you think this man is evil?”

“Evil?” the boyfriend repeated. “No. I think he’s a pervert and a jerk.”

“I agree,” Jesus Josephovich stated. “I don’t think he is evil either. All people do what they think is right, what they think they deserve to do, or at least what they think is not wrong. Very rarely will a man do anything that he knows is wrong, and even more rarely will he do something because it is wrong.”

The men looked at each other, trying to analyze what the foreigner had said.

“And what do you think he will think about you if you punch him in the face?” Jesus Josephovich asked. “Will he think that you are evil?”

“No,” the boyfriend claimed. “He knows he deserves it. I’m protecting my girl.”

“I didn’t mean to touch her,” the young man asserted again. “He attacked me first.”

“If he punches you,” Jesus said to the shamefaced young man, “what will you do? Will you hit him back?”

“Of course,” he said heatedly, his fists clenched. “If he touches me again I’ll beat him like a dog.”

The two men raised their fists ready to fight, but Jesus Josephovich stepped directly between them.

“So he will punch you because of what you did to his girlfriend, but you will punch him because he punched you, and then he will punch you back because you punched him back…” Jesus Josephovich looked into both of their faces. “Where does it end?”

The boyfriend looked at his girlfriend. She shook her head. “Please don’t fight,” she pleaded. “It won’t fix anything.”

“Punch me instead,” Jesus Josephovich suggested. “I won’t hit either of you back.”

“I’m not going to punch you,” the boyfriend said. “You didn’t do anything.”

“From his perspective, he didn’t do anything to deserve a punch in the face either,” Jesus Josephovich explained.

The angry boyfriend pulled the man closer to him. “Why did you touch my girlfriend?” he asked forcefully. “Really.”

The young man swallowed nervously. “We were all pushed up against each other,” he explained. “Yes, I looked at her and I thought she was pretty.” He paused and sighed. “I let the crowd push me into her when the doors opened. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I didn’t try to stop it either. I just let my hand be pushed into her. I don’t know why. I was stupid.”

“Yes, you were,” her boyfriend said disdainfully.

“Do you think that your girlfriend is beautiful?” Jesus Josephovich asked the girl’s boyfriend.

“Yes, of course.”

“Well then, you can’t disagree with him about that.” Jesus smiled.

“I am sorry,” the young man said quickly. “Really, I was stupid.”

“You should forgive him for being a man,” Jesus Josephovich suggested. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want everyone to know all the foolish things your affections for women have caused you to do in your life.”

He looked at his girlfriend. She nodded in agreement. “Alright,” the angry boyfriend said with some difficulty.

“And you,” Jesus Josephovich said to the guilty young man. “You need to take responsibility for your actions. If you know that something will happen, but you do nothing to prevent it, then you are as responsible for it as if you had purposely done it yourself. This happened because you wanted it to happen in your heart.”

“I know,” the young man said humbly. “I was stupid.”

“No, you’re not,” Jesus Josephovich said. “You’re normal. Don’t use anything as an excuse. Not even ideas like ‘I’m stupid’. Don’t excuse yourself for something that your heart wanted. Change your heart. It’s the only way to make real change.”

“Okay. I’m really sorry,” he said to the girl and her boyfriend.

The boyfriend stepped forward and shook his hand.

“And you,” Jesus said to the boyfriend. “Don’t punish evil with evil. You will only justify more evil in the other person’s mind. There are no evil men, only evil deeds. When we sin, our minds justify our actions, telling us that we are not wrong. Every man feels this way. Remember that.”

The two men nodded and slowly walked away. Jesus Josephovich turned around and noticed that a small crowd had gathered behind him. The people were watching and whispering about what had happened. As the crowd began to disperse, a tall man wearing a large cross around his neck emerged from the crowd and walked up to Jesus.

“You must be Jesus Josephovich,” the man said.

“Yes. How did you know?”

“It’s easy to spot Jesus in Ukraine.”

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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