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Chapter 30 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 30

Ch 30. Compromise

Jesus Josephovich had just simultaneously healed a politician’s nearsightedness and his son’s paralyzed legs. Normally he would feel good about this sort of incident. Unfortunately, it had happened in front of a large crowd, and even worse, in front of the television cameras and news photographers. This was going to be bad. People never took miracles the right way.

The crowds rushed forward to get a glimpse of the politician’s son. The boy was still being held in his father’s arms and within moments of the healing, a thousand digital cameras and cell phones were raised above their heads in order to get a shot of the miracle.

The politician saw what was happening and called his security in to help him and his son escape from the unruly crowd. Jesus Josephovich, Volodomir, Leosha, and the campaign manager all followed him through the crowd and into a large black sedan.

Bulbs flashed and video cameras rolled as they drove away in the darkly tinted car. Volodomir and Leosha were shaking with excitement. Jesus Josephovich looked at them and smiled.

“Oops,” he said. “Remind me not to help people be healed in public places. It attracts too much attention.”

“What do you mean?” Leosha said. “That was awesome!”

“But look at what happened,” Jesus Josephovich said, pointing out the window at the crowd that still pursued them with their cameras. “Those people didn’t gain a desire to love one another more. They gained a desire for miracles, for power. That’s not going to help them.”

“I disagree,” said the politician. “Those people are inspired. They have seen a miracle!”

“It wasn’t a miracle,” Jesus Josephovich claimed. “Your faith healed you. Not me.”

The politician waved his hand in the air dismissively. “To them, and to me, it was a miracle.” The politician’s son, Sasha, stared wide-eyed at Jesus Josephovich as if he were looking at a superhero in real life. It was clear that he believed the foreigner had performed a miraculous healing.

Jesus Josephovich looked at the boy and his father. “Everything that I have done, other men can do as well,” he asserted.

The politician shook his head in amazement. “Teach me how to heal people, so that I can help the people of this city,” he said greedily.

“Trust me,” Jesus Josephovich said, “the ability to heal people is not something that you want. The ability to help people heal themselves is much more useful.”

The politician leaned closer to Jesus Josephovich. His voice was an excited whisper. “That crowd would do whatever you asked them,” the politician stated, his eyes growing wider each moment as he considered the possibilities of such power.

“Maybe,” Jesus Josephovich said. “But is that what you really want? Blind obedience?”

“Politics is an impossible profession,” the politician said. “You can’t help the people in the ways they need to be helped, because the people don’t understand what they need. They don’t know what’s best for them.”

“Are you sure they don’t know?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“The people believe all the lies that the other political parties tell them. They want gimmicks and catch phrases – not real change. They’re afraid of real change,” the politician explained. “So, in order to compete, we have to give them lies and gimmicks and compromise.” The politician shook his head frustratingly. Then he stared at Jesus Josephovich. “But you could help change all of that. With your help we could give them something real.”

“Miracles?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Hope,” the politician said. “Think about it. If the people believe that God is with them, that God is with our party, then there is nothing that we can’t do. The people will do whatever we say and we’ll be able to organize society the way it needs to be, the way that will be best for our people.”

Jesus Josephovich scratched his chin and considered the politician’s words. “And how do you know that your government will always do what is best for the people?”

“Do you know what the problem is with politics these days?” the politician asked. “There are too many players, too many groups fighting for power, too many ideologies trying to shape the country at the same time. No one can put their ideas into practice because everyone has to compromise. What we’re left with after all the compromises is a bunch of inadequate laws and institutions that aren’t strong enough to get the job done.”

“Some people would say that compromise is a good thing,” Volodomir interrupted. “It ensures that no one gets too powerful. Remember Stalin?”

“Stalin did some terrible things,” the politician admitted, “but look at what he was able to accomplish when he had the entire country working towards one purpose. He made the Soviet Union a world power because he never had to compromise.”

“He also never had to compete,” Volodomir added. “Competition can slow things down, but it also ensures that things are as good as they can possibly be. Competition is as essential in politics as it is in economics. Maybe if Stalin had had some competition to keep him honest, he wouldn’t have killed millions of people.”

“What do you think, Jesus Josephovich?” the politician asked. “Is it better to have a government that can do anything it needs to do in order to get the job done, or do you think it is better to make constant compromises?”

Jesus Josephovich leaned forward and touched Sasha’s hair. Sasha was kicking his legs back and forth, testing his muscles, recalling how to use his legs again.

“Do you love your mother?” Jesus Josephovich asked Sasha.

Sasha nodded his head vigorously and smiled at his father. “Yes.”

“Is she mean sometimes?” Jesus Josephovich asked. “Does she yell at you sometimes?”

Sasha nodded his head. “Sometimes,” he said. “When she’s tired.”

“Do you always obey her, or does she make compromises with you?”

Sasha kicked his legs even harder as he thought about the question. “Sometimes I have to do what she says, but sometimes she let’s me do things if I ask her nicely.”

Jesus Josephovich smiled. “Do you like it when your mother tells you what to do?”

Sasha shook his head. “No.”

“Why do you obey her?” Jesus Josephovich continued.

Sasha grinned and glanced at his father again. “Because I know she loves me.”

Jesus Josephovich looked at the politician and motioned towards his son. “He obeys his mother because he loves her, and sometimes she makes compromises with him because she loves him. But can you ever expect the same relationship to exist between a government and a man?”

The politician shrugged his shoulders. “Perhaps if a leader truly loved the people.”

“A government cannot love,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Only people can love. If you truly want to help your people, then do not look to any government for the answers. Look inside your own heart and discover what stops you from loving others. Then love. Help others do the same. This will change your people.”

The politician nodded in agreement. “I think you are right. I want to love people. If you give me this power to heal them, then I will be able to help them.”

Jesus Josephovich shook his head. “Being healed physically is not important. It is merely an illustration that change is possible. Any change is possible with the right faith, physical or spiritual. If a paralyzed boy can walk, then a paralyzed heart can love.”

The politician rubbed his hands together nervously. “But if I were able to heal someone, it would be much more powerful than anything I could do on my own. If I just love them, then maybe they will be happier, but if I can heal them, it would change them forever.”

Jesus Josephovich sighed. “When people see a miracle, they want to see more miracles. They don’t want to see God. Not the real God. They’re not interested in the real God. Once they see a miracle, they want to see God as they envision him: magical and supernatural, but not as he really is.”

“What is the real God?” the politician asked.

“You know what he is,” Jesus Josephovich said. “God is love.”

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

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 29 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 29

Ch 29. The Healing

After the small celebration with the group of homeless men and the young runaway girl, Volodomir took Jesus Josephovich back to the center of the city to meet up with his wife and daughter again.

When they reached the city center, the political rally had reached its peak. A man was speaking on a stage that looked like it had been built to host a rock concert, and a large crowd had gathered to hear him speak.

The speaker was a stocky man in an expensive suit. He was older, in his mid- fifties, and he had a round tuft of hair on the top of his head, like an island surrounded by a moat of freckled skin. He constantly adjusted a pair of thin-rimmed glasses on his broad face.

The old politician was not very charismatic, but he was angry enough to get the crowd stirred up. It was clear that he was on the losing side of whatever argument or campaign he was running, and the bitterness of his words made the crowd increasingly hostile.

“Who is that?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“Just another politician,” Volodomir said. “He wants to be mayor, along with about 80 other politicians.”

“Why does he want to be mayor?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“The same reason everyone wants to be mayor. Money.”

“The mayor has a high salary?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

Volodomir laughed. “No, no. No one who works for the government makes a good salary. It’s the bribes and the illegal deals that make all the politicians rich.”

“If they do illegal things, then why do people vote for them?”

Volodomir shrugged his shoulders. “We don’t have a choice. Good people don’t usually become politicians, and if they do, they don’t get very far. Not in this system.”

Jesus Josephovich frowned and listened to the speaker shout at the crowd about all of the problems with their country. Jesus Josephovich was surprised that after all the talk about problems, the politician didn’t seem to offer many solutions. It seemed much easier to complain about the way things were than to offer any real answers to the problems.

As the rally finished, the fat campaign manager, who had offered Jesus Josephovich a job earlier, ran up to them and grabbed Jesus Josephovich’s arm.

“You came back!” he said excitedly. “Come with me, please. There’s someone I want you to meet.”

Volodomir wanted to say no, but Jesus Josephovich was already being dragged through the crowd by the campaign manager. He took the foreigner all the way around the crowd to the back of the stage. They passed through a line of heavy-set security guards all dressed in black and found themselves backstage.

“Who do you want me to meet?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

The campaign manager motioned towards the politician on stage. “He heard about how many people you attracted to the rally this afternoon and he wants to talk to you.”

Jesus Josephovich grinned. People always thought the things he did were linked to some magical power, but all they really had to do was learn how to love other people like you loved yourself. The problem was that no one ever thought it was that easy to make an impact. They always looked for more complicated solutions – or less effective ones, like yelling.

As he was looking around at the group of political supporters and business people, waiting for the politician to finish his speech, he noticed a young boy sitting in a wheelchair next to the stage. He walked over to the boy and knelt down to talk to him.

“Hello,” Jesus Josephovich said. “What’s your name?”

The boy was taken aback, but after a quick look at his face he realized that the strange man was just a friendly foreigner.

“My name’s Sasha,” the boy said.

Jesus Josephovich smiled. “What happened?” he asked concernedly, looking at the wheelchair.

The boy put his hands on the armrests and grunted uncomfortably. “It was a car accident,” he said. “A truck ran into us when we were driving at night. It crushed the back of the car. I hurt my back and I haven’t been able to walk since.”

Jesus looked at the boy’s legs. They were whole and didn’t appear to be badly damaged. “Who told you that you couldn’t walk?” Jesus wondered.

The boy stared strangely at the foreigner. “The doctors,” he answered.

“And do you believe them?” Jesus Josephovich questioned.

Sasha wasn’t sure how to answer. “Yes, of course. Why shouldn’t I? They’re doctors.”

Jesus Josephovich examined Sasha’s legs further. “Do you want to walk again?” he asked.

The boy frowned. “Of course! If I could.”

“Do you believe that it’s possible? If the doctors had never told you that you couldn’t walk, would you think it’s possible that you could? Do you believe that you could walk if God wanted you to?”

The boy considered this. “I think it’s possible, but I don’t think it will happen.”

Suddenly the crowd clapped loudly and there was a bustle of movement around the stage. The politician had finished his speech. He walked through a group of supporters who patted him on the back and shook his hand vigorously. Eventually the politician walked over to where Jesus Josephovich was talking to the boy.

“Hello Dad,” Sasha said to the politician.

“Who is this?” the stern politician said distrustfully.

The chubby campaign manager quickly cut in between the politician and the foreigner. “This is the man we told you about. This is Jesus Josephovich.”

Suddenly the politician’s demeanor completely changed. He gave the foreigner a hearty handshake and his best fake smile. “I’ve heard a lot about you,” he said enthusiastically. “I think we have a lot to talk about.”

“I’m sure we do,” Jesus Josephovich answered, though he was thinking of a very different topic of conversation than that which the politician was imagining.

“I see you’ve already met my son,” he said.

Sasha smiled. “He told me that I could walk if I wanted to,” the boy stated. “Can I really walk if I want to?” he asked his father hopefully.

The politician frowned angrily. “Why would you say that to a child like this?” he shouted at the foreigner. “It’s not right to get his hopes up like that.”

Jesus Josephovich stared at the politician’s angry face. “You don’t believe that your son can walk?”

The politician was too angry to speak and looked to the campaign manager for help. The campaign manager took a step back and hid himself behind Jesus Josephovich.

“May I see your glasses?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

The politician was confused, not understanding the relevance of the question, and he handed the foreigner his glasses without thinking.

“Do you believe that you can see clearly without these?” Jesus Josephovich asked as he examined the Italian-made glasses.

“What are you talking about?” the politician shouted.

“Who told you that you couldn’t see?” Jesus Josephovich questioned.

“I’ve always had trouble seeing since I was a child,” the man admitted.

“Was it your mother, or your father, a relative, or another doctor?” Jesus asked. “When did you stop believing that you could see clearly?”

The politician was completely confused now and the crowd was beginning to watch his interaction with the odd-looking foreigner so he tried to grab his glasses back, but Jesus Josephovich quickly pulled them away.

Jesus Josephovich held up his hand in front of his face. “Can you see my fingers clearly?” he asked.

“Yes,” the politician said, embarrassed that the crowd was now watching them with interest.

Jesus Josephovich moved his fingers closer and closer to the man’s eyes. “Can you still see them clearly?”

“Yes of course,” the politician said, now getting frustrated.

“If you can see them clearly, then what is keeping you from seeing everything clearly?” Jesus Josephovich moved his fingers even closer and then, to everyone’s surprise, he poked the politician in the eyes. The crowd gasped and the politician reeled backwards and put his hands to his eyes in shock.

“What are you doing?” he screamed. He rubbed his eyelids and was about to yell at his security guards to grab his attacker when he opened his eyes. The politician looked around and realized that he could see perfectly. He was amazed. “What did you do to me?” he asked. “I can see everything without my glasses!”

The politician’s young son jumped out of the chair and ran to his father. “Did he really heal your eyes?” the boy asked.

The politician froze, along with everyone around them in the crowd, and stared at his son standing on his own two legs. He grabbed his son in his arms and hugged him passionately. “My son!” he shouted and gaped at the foreigner. “You healed my son!”

Jesus Josephovich held his hands up in the air innocently. “I didn’t heal anybody. You healed yourselves. Your faith healed you,” he claimed. “I just helped you find it.”

The politician ignored his words, knelt on the ground and grabbed Jesus Josephovich’s hands. “Thank you,” he said. “Thank you!”

Jesus Josephovich smiled cautiously. “You’re welcome. But this doesn’t mean that I’m voting for you.”

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

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 19 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 19

Ch 19. Contribution

Jesus Josephovich and Andrey Bogdanovich were standing in the hallway of the large meeting hall where the Texas Preacher had just finished his inspiring lesson, during which he had asked for money and donations at least 4 different times.

They were standing by a table of books which had all been written by the Texas Preacher himself. The crowd was quickly dispersing. Now that the spectacle with the giant movie screen and the rock band was over, there didn’t seem to be any reason for the churchgoers to hang around.

Jesus Josephovich couldn’t take anymore. He climbed up onto the table of books and stood tall in the center of it. Some children started pointing and laughing and the woman who was selling the books yelled at him to get down. A crowd began to gather.

“Excuse me,” he said to the crowd. “I noticed that your gathering is quite large and I saw from all the money you gave that you all have a great desire to help other people.”

The crowd grew larger and more people walking out of the main hall noticed the strange foreigner standing on the book table. Andrey was embarrassed and hid himself at the side of the crowd, hoping that no one would ask him about what his companion was doing.

“But can you tell me the name of one person who was helped by today’s service?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

The crowd was uncomfortably silent.

Jesus Josephovich looked at a woman standing near him. “Excuse me, ma’am. Are you poor?”

The woman was stunned. She put her hands up in the air and shook her head.

“Who is poor in this church?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

The crowd was confused. No one knew.

“Who has desperate needs here?” he continued.

The people looked around and whispered to each other, but no one could think of anyone poor in their congregation. They had never thought about it before.

“Surely you must know,” Jesus Josephovich said. “How can you give money to God, yet ignore the needs of your own family? If you claim to follow Christ, then these people are your brothers and sisters, and you should know what their needs are.”

The crowd began discussing this and seemed to be in general agreement.

Jesus Josephovich decided to get more specific. “Are there any mothers in distress? Any widows or orphans?”

An old woman ambled out of the crowd, pushed forward by her granddaughter. She was very old and hunchbacked and she could barely walk even with the assistance of a cane. She shyly stood in the center of the crowd.

“My grandmother is a widow,” the woman’s granddaughter said. “She has trouble walking and she needs help with the most basic things like cooking and cleaning. I help her when I can, but sometimes I have to work and I’m not able to help her for several days.”

Jesus Josephovich stepped off the table of books and took the grandmother’s hand, holding it compassionately in his.

“Who will help this woman?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

A few young men and women stepped forward.

“We can clean,” said a teenage girl who was standing with her sister.

“And we can cook,” said a young mother with her arm around her little daughter.

“I can help her fix things in her apartment,” said a young man.

Jesus Josephovich smiled from ear to ear. “Look how simple it is,” he declared joyously. “It doesn’t have to cost a cent to help another person. You throw your money into organizations that claim to help others, because you are afraid of taking the responsibility to help them yourselves. But no amount of money will give you the same satisfaction as scrubbing this kind widow’s floor.”

The crowd giggled and people whispered amongst themselves at the foreigner’s impassioned speech.

“My brother is sick,” said a middle-aged woman. “He has lung cancer and he can’t work. He can’t take care of his family now. They have no money. His wife has to work three jobs to keep them alive.”

Jesus walked over and put his arm around the woman. “Who will help this woman’s family?” he asked. “Who will bring them food? Who will give them a place to stay?”

A middle-aged woman with several children stepped forward. “I know your brother. We live close to him,” she said to the woman. “I can cook them dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“I have an apartment that I rent,” said an older man who stepped forward in the crowd. “I can rent it to them for cheap if they need it.”

Jesus Josephovich was getting more and more excited about the crowd’s enthusiasm to help. He was about to find another needy person when the Texas Preacher walked up to him. He had been watching what was happening and wanted to get things back under his control.

The hefty preacher walked up to Jesus Josephovich and stuck his fat hand in his face. Apparently he wanted the rabble-rouser to shake it. Jesus obliged him. Then he gave the preacher a hug. The preacher laughed awkwardly.

“This is great,” the preacher said with his typical charismatic showmanship. “Get the people more involved. I love it. This is just what our church needs. We can organize a group and a schedule for these activities and get everyone helping out.” His big smile and instant enthusiasm were almost enough to make the crowd believe that it had been his idea to do all of this in the first place.

“Don’t organize it,” Jesus Josephovich warned.

“What do you mean, don’t organize it?” the preacher asked with an ironic chuckle.

Jesus Josephovich turned to the woman whose brother was sick. “What is more meaningful to you: when your husband brings you flowers on your birthday, or when he brings you flowers for no reason at all, except that he loves you?”

“Of course, when it’s for no reason at all. It shows that his love is sincere,” she answered.

Jesus Josephovich nodded and looked at the preacher. “The moment you organize it, the service becomes necessary. The moment it becomes necessary to serve another person, the act of service loses its meaning.”

“But if we don’t organize everything, then someone who needs help might not get it,” the preacher insisted.

Jesus Josephovich looked at the man who had offered his apartment for rent. “Do you have everything that you need all the time?” he asked.

“No,” the man answered.

“And are you still alive?”

“Yes,” he replied with a laugh.

“There will always be needs,” Jesus Josephovich said to the crowd with a grin. “The purpose of cleaning that elderly woman’s apartment is not to remove the dirt from her floor, but to remove the grime from your heart.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” the preacher said, still trying to stay in control. “We’ll make a list of needs then, and whoever can help will help.”

“That would be better,” Jesus Josephovich agreed. He turned and spoke to the crowd. “The point is to serve and love each other, and to learn from these experiences. You can help others every day, and you should, but it must be out of love. Otherwise you gain nothing from it, and they learn nothing from it.”

“That’s right!” declared the preacher. “Give from your hearts,” he said. “If God tells you to help an old woman, you help her. And if God tells you to give all your money to his church, you give him everything you’ve got.”

“And I’m sure that with all that money that you received today you’ll be able to fund all of these new projects and take care of all the people in your congregation,” Jesus Josephovich said to the preacher.

The preacher laughed nervously. “Right, well, you know we have a lot of bills to pay, and rent and salaries and the band and my book tour…”

The people in the crowd stared disapprovingly at the preacher.

“But we’ll see what we can do,” the Texas preacher acknowledged as he jovially slapped Jesus Josephovich on the back.

“I wouldn’t want you to feel compelled to help them out of guilt,” Jesus clarified.

“No, no,” the preacher defended himself. “I would love to give as much as the church can. I just want to make sure that we don’t serve ourselves to death,” he said with a nervous laugh.

Jesus Josephovich smiled. “To serve another by compulsion and without love is the lowest occupation on earth, but to serve another out of love alone is the highest.”

“You know, you’re good with words,” the preacher complimented as he picked up a few of his books which had fallen on the floor and placed them back on the table. “Maybe you’d like to preach here. Do a lesson or two. Speak to my church more about this community project idea you have.”

“No thanks,” Jesus Josephovich said to the preacher. “That’s not necessary. If they want to know more, they can buy my book.” He picked up a Bible off the book table and tossed it at the preacher. “You might want to review it as well.”

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

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 18 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 18

Ch 18. The Texas Preacher

Jesus Josephovich answered the cell phone that was ringing next to his heart in his coat pocket. It was Volodomir inviting him to dinner with his boss. Jesus Josephovich agreed to meet with them and Andrey Bogdanovich helped him arrange the time and place to meet with Volodomir.

“We still have some time,” Andrey said looking at his watch as Jesus Josephovich hung up the phone. “I am interested to hear what you will say about another kind of church that is very popular here in Kiev.”

“Another church like this?” Jesus Josephovich asked, referring to the Michailevski Cathedral.

“No,” Andrey said. “Very different. This church doesn’t have a building. Not like that one.”

“Interesting,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Maybe it will be more like the churches in the First Century.”

Andrey grinned doubtfully at Jesus Josephovich’s optimism. “It’s a modern church actually,” Andrey clarified. “I think they have an evening service today. We can watch the service and then go and meet with Volodomir.”

“Alright,” Jesus Josephovich agreed.

They made their way to a large conference hall where a crowd of people was gathered for the service. The lively spectacle was quite different from the quiet solemnity of the orthodox cathedral. There were no headscarves or traditional clothes, no icons or candles for prayer, no altars or hymn books for worship. The only object of interest in the hall was a giant screen above the preacher’s podium that flashed the name of the church every few seconds in different stylized fonts. Everyone was dressed in modern clothes and business suits, young girls wore revealing clothing that would have shocked the icon seller at the cathedral, and the general atmosphere of this religious event was similar to that of going to the cinema with friends.

They sat down near the front in a row reserved for guests and Jesus Josephovich was pleasantly surprised that people were chatting freely and seemed to be in good spirits. He overheard a few conversations: A couple of married women were talking about their children’s school and sports activities, two men in suits were discussing the economy, and a group of older men and women were complaining about politics and the weather. Jesus Josephovich was a bit perplexed that he never heard anyone mention God.

Suddenly the lights dimmed, ingratiatingly airy music blared, and the giant screen behind the podium filled with the image of a bright star floating towards a giant spinning globe.

Jesus Josephovich leaned over to Andrey and tapped him on the shoulder. “Are we going to watch a movie?” he asked.

“I think it’s just the introduction,” Andrey explained.

After the video, which flashed several scriptures across the screen and bright, colorful pictures to show how those scriptures were being fulfilled by this particular group of people, the lights came on and the preacher suddenly appeared on the podium like a magician performing in Las Vegas.

The preacher was a large, fat, boisterous man with thinning hair combed around a shiny bald spot that looked like it had been tanned by the stage lights. He wore an expensive suit with a golden cross hanging from the lapel, and he had thick gold rings on almost all of his pudgy fingers. He was very charismatic and when he spoke in his friendly Texas accent he jumped around and waved his arms in all directions. The man’s movements were so dramatic that Jesus Josephovich almost expected a dove to fly out of his sleeves or a rabbit to jump out of his hat.

The flamboyant Texas preacher started his lesson in English with an Old Testament scripture about money. Next to him was a frail-looking Ukrainian translator in an equally expensive suit who was trying as hard as he could to imitate the Texan’s boisterous style, but it was clear that he was not nearly as passionate about what the preacher was saying as the preacher was.

“God gives to us every day,” the preacher announced.

People in the audience shouted: “Yes he does!”

“But God expects us to give back to him.”

“That’s right!” the crowd retorted.

“Because if you don’t give back to God, he won’t give back to you,” the preacher declared passionately.

“Amen!” someone shouted.

“God wants to give to you,” the preacher promised. “He wants to give you everything you’ve ever wanted! Cars, houses, a good job, nice clothes, a big screen television.”

The crowd laughed and cheered giddily. They were all thinking about the “blessings” that they would like to receive from God.

“But you’ve got to give to God first!” he declared. “And you’ve got to give generously.”

A few more people shouted their agreement.

“Because God isn’t going to give you something for nothing,” the preacher rationalized. “He’s not just going to give you a million dollars until he knows that he can trust you with it.”

The audience agreed vocally. They were thinking about how great it would be if God would trust them with a million dollars, and there was not a single soul in the auditorium who doubted that they were in fact trustworthy enough for such a noble responsibility.

After twenty minutes of passionate discourse on money, ushers began passing around beautiful purple and gold baskets in which the patrons began depositing whatever bills they had in their pockets.

Jesus Josephovich noted their generosity with pleasure. “People here are very charitable. Is that money being collected for the poor?”

“I don’t think so,” said Andrey. “I think it goes to the church.”

“What does that mean?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“It means that it goes wherever he wants it to go.” Andrey glanced at the preacher’s sparkling jewelry.

After the money was collected, a rock band came on stage behind the preacher’s podium and began playing upbeat soft rock music about God and Jesus.

Jesus Josephovich was shocked. “First a movie, and now a rock concert.”

“Welcome to modern Christianity,” Andrey said.

“What does this have to do with loving God and helping other people?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Maybe they believe that if you entertain people enough, they will be willing to do something altruistic every once in a while,” Andrey suggested.

After the brief concert, the preacher came back on stage. This time his face was sad and his eyes were looking up to heaven as if he were in dire need.

“Church,” he said emphatically. “We need some help. We want to send every child in this auditorium to summer camp. This summer camp is going to change their lives forever. You know, if you send your kids to this camp, you may never see them again,” he joked. “Because they are going to come back from this summer camp like new creations, like little prophets and preachers ready to take the Gospel into all the world.”

The crowd laughed and hollered their approval.

“But,” the preacher continued, “to do that we need some help. We don’t have enough money to sponsor all the children, so if God is whispering in your heart right now, and if he’s telling you that he wants you to help a little child know God better, then please open your pocket books and give whatever your heart tells you to give.”

The crowd cheered, and after a few more minutes of somber pleading, the golden baskets were passed around once again. Apparently people still had something left in their pockets to donate.

The service continued and a few songs were sung, which Jesus Josephovich thought were quite lovely, a few announcements were made, and another video was shown. Then, after everything was finished, the Texas preacher came onto the stage one more time. This time he was serious. He had the Bible ready in his hand.

But he didn’t open the Bible. Instead he began to talk about how great it would be if their congregation had a building. He talked about how many parties they could throw, how many concerts they could hold, and how many souls could be saved, if only they had a building of their own.

The baskets were passed around one final time and if anyone had anything left in their pockets it was hesitantly placed into the open mouth of the regal container.

Finally the service was over, but before they could leave, the Texas preacher stood on the stage and reminded everyone to buy a book from the church’s book table outside to help them grow spiritually.

Jesus Josephovich walked outside to the table filled with books and was amazed to see that every book was written by the same person: the Texas preacher himself.

“It’s strange,” Jesus Josephovich commented. “They said a lot of things and collected a lot of money, but I didn’t see a single person who was helped by any of it.”

Andrey noticed a fire in the foreigner’s eyes. Jesus looked like he was about to overturn the tables. “What are you going to do?” Andrey wondered.

“I’m going to actually help someone.”

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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 17 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 17 cathedral

Ch 17. The Cathedral

Jesus Josephovich and his new friend, Andrey Bogdanovich, were sitting in a small café near the Golden Gate watching an old beggarly woman be reunited with her family. They greeted the family and then left the café so that the family could be with their grandmother.

“Did you know all of that was going to happen?” Andrey asked, amazed that the woman’s family had walked into the café the moment she had asked God for them.

“God knew,” Jesus Josephovich said.

“I would like to be able to do things like that for people,” Andrey said, “but I’m not magic. I can’t do miracles. How can I help people if I can’t do miracles like that?”

“You think that was a miracle?” Jesus Josephovich questioned. “That was just good timing. If you simply talk to people about their problems, you’ll often find that most of their problems end up solving themselves. Sometimes miraculously.”

Andrey stared at Jesus Josephovich as they walked, unsure if he believed his explanation. He felt that Jesus Josephovich was hiding some secret from him, or that perhaps he just wasn’t smart enough to understand what Jesus had taught him. They walked around the corner towards Sophievski Square.

As they were walking, Jesus Josephovich noticed the large cross that Andrey Bogdanovich was wearing. “Why are you wearing that cross around your neck?” he asked. “Do you support public crucifixions?”

“No,” Andrey said laughing. “It’s the symbol of Christianity. The cross of Christ.”

“That’s a strange symbol to use,” Jesus Josephovich said as he examined the necklace. “The cross did not have a good connotation in the first century. It was a torture device. You wouldn’t wear one around your neck.”

Andrey was amazed. “What symbol did they use back then?” he wondered.

“A fish,” Jesus Josephovich explained. “It looked much friendlier.”

“Come with me,” Andrey Bogdanovich said. “I want to show you one of our finest churches.”

They walked across Sophievski Square and down the main street to the Michailevski cathedral. Its golden towers were shimmering against the grey-blue sky.

“It’s magnificent architecture,” Jesus Josephovich said. “It reminds me of the temples the Romans built in Israel. What God do they worship in this temple?”

Andrey Bogdanovich stopped and stared at Jesus in disbelief. “What God? The God. The Christian God.”

Jesus Josephovich examined the structure more closely. “They certainly like to use a lot of crosses.”

“You’ve never seen a church like this before?” Andrey questioned.

“Not in person. You know, when I visit a new place, I like to empty my mind of all past impressions,” Jesus Josephovich explained. “That way I feel like I am experiencing everything fully for the first time. Like a child.”

Andrey sighed uneasily and led Jesus Josephovich past the angelic murals and through the massive gates into the cathedral. Before Andrey entered the building, he crossed himself several times. Jesus Josephovich watched him with interest.

“Why did you do that with your hands?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“We always make the cross when we enter and exit a church,” Andrey explained. “Also when we pray. It’s an orthodox tradition.”

Jesus Josephovich’s eyes grew large. “So many crosses,” he said. “It’s a good thing that they don’t use the fish symbol any more, or there would be fish everywhere.”

They entered the building and Jesus Josephovich was struck by the cold silence. The atmosphere in the cathedral was a strange mixture of reverence, beauty, power, and fear. The walls were covered with colorful shapes, all of which seemed to take on the shape of a cross, and the high domed ceilings were covered by golden carvings and elaborate paintings.

Jesus Josephovich noted the people inside. An old woman was selling icons in the corner while women in traditional headscarves meandered through the pillars placing candles at various shrines and crossing themselves while they said prayers. Everyone went about their worship in almost complete silence.

Suddenly an obnoxious sound filled the cathedral. An intolerably raucous music started playing, echoing off the walls like a hideous scream. Everyone in the church froze and looked around irritably for the source of the irreverent music.

Jesus Josephovich thought it was very strange for someone to play Russian Pop music in a religious temple. He looked around the room to see who the culprit might be. As he searched the room with his eyes, he realized that everyone was staring at him. At that moment he felt a buzzing in his jacket pocket. Andrey elbowed him gently in the side.

“Is that your phone?” Andrey asked with annoyance.

Jesus Josephovich put his hand to his forehead in embarrassment. He felt around in his pocket for the phone that Katya had given him earlier in the morning and erratically pressed buttons until the music turned off. The old women shook their heads and glared irately at the long-haired foreigner with the cell phone.

“Sorry,” Jesus Josephovich said sincerely. “I forgot that the young lady gave me this today,” he whispered to Andrey. “I’ve never had one of these before.”

Andrey tried not to laugh. He took the cell phone and helped Jesus Josephovich turn it off. One of the old women walked up to him and told him angrily to turn off his cell phone after they had already done it. Jesus Josephovich simply smiled apologetically and walked to the front of the cathedral, away from the angry old woman.

All along the front of the church was an altar, two or three stories high, covered with gold painted molding. Set into the molding were sculptures and paintings, most of which depicted a bearded man with a sad face or a somber mother with a surprisingly adroit baby in her arms.

One of the paintings to the left of the enormous altar was centered on an old man with a curly white beard wearing a Greek style robe. Jesus Josephovich looked at it with curiosity.

“Are you sure they worship the Christian God here?” he said, motioning to the image. “That painting looks exactly like Zeus.”

Andrey examined the painting. “That’s supposed to be God surrounded by his angels.”

Jesus Josephovich chuckled. “God doesn’t look anything like that.”

“You know what God looks like?” Andrey asked.

“He’s much bigger,” Jesus Josephovich said.

They continued examining the intricate artwork. Every inch of the walls and ceilings were covered by a depiction of a different Biblical character or story. Jesus Josephovich motioned to the walls.

“What are those about?” he asked.

“They’re stories from the Old Testament,” Andrey said.

Jesus examined them and wondered why everyone from the ancient Biblical stories that took place in the Middle East looked European.

Jesus Josephovich walked over to a large statue of a man on a cross. The man’s face was lifted up to heaven and looked almost peaceful.

“Is that supposed to be the Christ?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“Yeah, of course,” said Andrey.

“Why is he on a cross like that?” he asked.

Andrey was confused. “What do you mean?”

“That’s not a Roman cross. The Roman’s crucified people on a cross like this: ” He held up his fingers in a capital “T” shape. “There was nothing at the top,” Jesus Josephovich explained. “It’s more painful that way. You can’t rest your head against the wood.”

Andrey shrugged his shoulders. “The Romans were good at killing people,” he said. “They would have liked Stalin.”

They ended their tour and walked back to the exit. As they left, the old woman at the icon table scowled at Jesus Josephovich. She hadn’t forgotten the cell phone incident.

They exited the cathedral and walked out into the square. Across the main boulevard was a massive blue church tower. To the right was a large green cathedral with numerous decorative towers. Jesus Josephovich was impressed.

“There seem to be more temples here than in Rome,” he said. “There must be a lot of different religions in this country.”

Andrey shook his head. “Oh no, those are all Christian churches.”

“Really?” Jesus Josephovich said with surprise. “Why are there so many?”

“Ukrainians like to build churches,” Andrey explained. “It’s one of our traditions.”

“These are magnificent structures,” Jesus Josephovich noted. “It must be expensive to build them all.”

“I’m sure it is. The domes are made of real gold.”

“Why don’t they use that money to help their people?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“I don’t know,” Andrey confessed. “Maybe the people don’t think they need help. May they think they need more church buildings.”

Jesus Josephovich looked up into the gray winter sky. “The Christ said that God no longer lives in temples built by men. Apparently people have interpreted that to mean that they should build bigger and bigger temples.”

Andrey laughed. “Maybe they think that if they build one big enough, then God will be able to live in it.”

“You know, in the first century, the Christians used to meet in people’s houses,” Jesus Josephovich said, as if recollecting a pleasant memory. “They would meet in the kitchen, or on the roof, or outside in a park or on a hill. It was very simple. If they collected money it was for each other, not for gold-plated rooftops.”

Andrey looked at the majestic mural painted on the walls surrounding the cathedral. They were full of proud men wearing robes and donning heavenly halos. In their hands were ancient scrolls and it looked like they were walking on the clouds. They were the spiritual elite.

Andrey pointed to the cathedral. “Do you think that it’s wrong to build churches like this?” he wondered.

“I don’t mean to say that these things are wrong,” Jesus Josephovich clarified. “I just mean to illustrate that these things are not necessary.”

“What is necessary?” Andrey asked.

“God… and people who love God,” Jesus said. “God doesn’t live there,” he said pointing at the cathedral. “He lives here.” He pointed at his heart.

Suddenly the cell phone in his breast pocket where his finger was still pointing rang. Jesus Josephovich took out the phone and stared at it.

“You’d better answer it,” Andrey advised. “It might be God.”

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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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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.

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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.

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

 

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