Mike Schrage, Executive Director
A friend forwarded this clever email, which illustrates cultural relevance, from Bob Shank of The Master’s Program. It encourages us to imagine how the disciples might have communicated with each other through email.
Simon here. I hope this e-mail address is still valid for you; it’s the only one I have. I sent it from my old firstname.lastname@example.org account; you ought to update your contact list: email@example.com.
I saw you yesterday when we came into the city. The crowd was so intense that, by the time we got Jesus through the gate and returned the donkey, I couldn’t find you. I know Jerusalem is crawling with people this week – we usually stay in Bethany and come into town every day for the events – and I didn’t know where you’d be staying. I hope you’re checking your emails and this gets through…
It’s been a few years since we’ve talked, but the last 36 months, for me, have been a whirlwind.
My brother and I were introduced to Jesus by John – remember the peculiar mystic who was drawing the big crowds by the river and getting people pumped-up about the imminent appearance of the Messiah? – and that set in motion a chain of events that we never imagined possible.
Andrew had been following John around for a while, met Jesus through him, and then he brought me to meet Jesus for myself. He was intriguing, but the big ah-ha moment happened for me when He showed up at the lake and asked me to take a leave-of-absence from the fishing business to join His inner circle and travel with Him. It didn’t take us much time to make the move: we put the boats in dry-dock and packed our bags. Opportunities like this don’t come along often, especially for nobodies like us.
You and I grew up in the same synagogue, and you remember those Sabbath mornings when the rabbi would tell us about the promised Messiah. All we ever heard at home was the daily dose of bitter hopelessness because of Rome’s occupation; no one had any solution for the foreign military presence that dominated our lives. The rabbi would talk about God’s promise for a future – “the Kingdom” – that would restore our dignity and fulfill His prophecies. We wrote it off as religious fantasy, but I think we spoke too soon…
The crowd yesterday – at the Eastern Gate – was astounding. We’ve had big gatherings all over Israel for the last couple of years, but the sense of anticipation has never reached what we saw yesterday. I could bend your ear for days telling you about things we’ve seen that no one would believe. You know I’m a no-nonsense guy, Jacob, but Jesus defies explanation. I’ve been there: He’s done things that no one can explain or replicate. People sick with everything from traumatic injuries to chronic diseases have been instantaneously restored and healed. On multiple occasions, He’s stretched a single meal into catering for thousands. I won’t put it in an e-mail, but we’ve seen Him do things that make us wonder who He really is. You know I’m a born skeptic, but He’s convinced me.
Based on what we saw yesterday, the crowd in Jerusalem is ready for something big to happen. Some of us met last night, and we think that this may be the week when He will announce His plans to negotiate a new arrangement with Rome and restore the monarchy. That’s what we signed on for. Get in early, and get in big is the strategy among the insiders (there are 12 of us). He’s promised each of us governorships over the 12 tribes; that’s what kept us going. There’s a payoff, and we think it’s soon.
If I see you this week in the city, let’s get coffee. I’ll see if I can get you in to meet Jesus.
Simon (Jesus gave me a nickname: don’t laugh, it’s Peter – the Rock)