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Lee Harmon Prologue

Lee Harmon Prologue

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Published by Beth Book Review
Lee Harmon Prologue
Lee Harmon Prologue

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Published by: Beth Book Review on Mar 17, 2013
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06/08/2014

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PROLOguE
“He didn’t come.”The old man blinked and said nothing.“He’s not coming back for us, is he? The Temple will never berebuilt.”“Matthew, you must write again. You must write a new gospel. Iwill give you the words.”“I cannot.” Matthew nervously stroked his beard, then caughthimself and dropped his hand to avoid calling attention to the sorrylittle patch of oversized whiskers on his chin. Twenty-eight years oldand still he couldn’t outgrow his baby face into a proper Jew.He shifted his weight, folding his arms inside his cloak, and stared
resolutely down at the man, a fellow Jew quietly dying. Goatskin
stretched between two parallel poles that rested upon a stack of bricks atone end and a log at the other formed a makeshift cot for the weathered
old man. Matthew recognized the brick pile from fteen years ago, now
overgrown with moss, for this was the very dirt courtyard in which hehad carved wooden swords and triumphed over dragons and Romans.In those days, good was good and evil was evil. The best days of hislife. The mud-brick home of his childhood stood but a few feet away.Little had changed, but nothing felt the same.
The wind shufed leaves around Matthew’s boots as he waited for 
a reply. “I cannot write it,” he repeated. “If Jesus came not as Messiah,then his life was a lie. God no longer takes our side.”“I will write for you,” a female voice interrupted from behind. “Iwill tell the story of Jesus.”
Both men turned to nd a woman in her mid-twenties standing at
the door of the house. Soft blue slippers carried slender ankles fromthe home’s dirt hearth, out into its tiny walled courtyard. The rest of 
 
xx John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened
the woman, from ankles to neck, hid beneath a bright blue linen chiton,girded about the middle with a braided belt that betrayed a shapelywaist. Dark hair spilled irreverently over her shoulders as she lockedeyes with Matthew.Matthew stared.
 A woman offering to write the story of their  Messiah? A Gentile, who pretends ignorance of how to act in the presence of men?
“I believe.” Ruth shrugged, stepping farther out into the courtyard.“Give
me
the words.”“You
believe?
” Matthew sputtered. “
What 
do you believe? Do younot know who this man is? What he promised? Because of this man,
my father and I lived in poverty for fteen years!” Matthew turned back toward the old Jew and brandished an index nger like a slender 
club. “Fifteen years ago, we abandoned the trade guild here in Ephesus because of this … this pretend apostle and his dreams!”“Of course I know who he is.” Ruth lifted her chin, unperturbed.After a momentary stare-down with Matthew, she dropped her eyes tothe cot. “I will write the story for you, John.”“Better that the words of the Law be burned than entrusted towomen!” Matthew exclaimed. “No one will believe what a womanwrites, John. Women cannot even give evidence in a court of law, their testimony counts for nothing.”“Do not lecture me in the Law,” John ordered, wagging a bony
nger back at Matthew. “I am not so unlearned in rabbinic writings as
you might think. And why should you care who pens my story, if youno longer believe?”Ruth stood smirking by the cot while Matthew wrinkled his nose
and ignored her. John watched her hide a smile. She seemed quite pleased at how quickly she had gotten under Matthew’s skin, and Johnsensed the two were already acquainted. “Does your friend know the
Greek letters?” he asked Matthew, testing his perception.“As well as I,” Matthew admitted with a scowl. “She’s a Grecian.It’s her native language.”“Yes, I knew that already,” John confessed. “I knew her father 

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