Sunday, 5 June 2011

Triple Agent

Jennospot 26  Triple Agent

Some people jus' don’t get the message yew know: ‘Whose blog is it then?’ Oi asked. Well, at least Peter St John ‘ad the grace ter admit it were moi blog. But then ‘ee starts ‘ittin’ out below the belt:
‘It’s your blog of course,’ ‘ee says. in that posh voice of ‘is. ‘But then ‘oo was it wot made yew yer cart that toime?’
See wot Oi mean? Well after that, wot could Oi do but let ‘im go ahead, even though Oi don’t reckon ‘is “Triple Agent” ain’t worf a whole lot. Too much religious argy-bargy in it by moi way o’ lookin’ at fings.
‘Don’t yew go a-finkin’ yew c’n take over moi blog any ole toime wot yew loike.’ Oi told ‘im. Told ‘im straight Oi did; but yew ‘ave to take pity on the poor guy sometimes. Oi mean, wot’d ‘ee do wivvout me? ‘Yew c’n ‘ave it jus’ this once,’ Oi told ‘im. ‘But never no more again,’
Any’ow this is wot ‘ee wrote down. It’s from ‘is book wot ‘ee wrote quite a long toime ago, but wot ‘as only jus’ bin put out on Amazon Kindle. If’n Oi was yew, Oi wouldn’t read it. After all it ain’t got nuffink about me in it so it ain’t all that interestin’. Leastways, jus’ don’t go a-sayin’ Oi din’t warn yew:

“Tuesday 23 August 28 - Bethany over Jordan

No wonder some think John the Baptist is the reincarnation of Elijah. He is a wild-looking character and with his hairy garment and leather girdle he resembles the popular idea of the famous prophet. Like him, he is also associated with the wilderness. He makes the same unexpected preaching appearances and is given to the same fierce prophetic utterances. Even so, I can't help feeling that some people believe strange things!
The Baptist evidently sleeps rough and hasn’t had a change of clothing for months. Just as well he spends a good part of his time in the water!
‘Why do you baptise people,’ asked one of my colleagues, ‘if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?’
John was a little less aggressive today, but not any more communicative. ‘I baptise in water only,’ he said. ‘But there is one among you whom you do not yet know, who baptises with the spirit. I am sent to prepare the way for him. He is the great one whose sandal-strap I am not worthy to unfasten. He will baptize you with fire. He will clear out his threshing-floor to gather the wheat into his storehouse; but the chaff he will burn up in unquenchable fire.’
With this he seemed to think that he had said all that he needed to say, and the committee was unable to get anything further out of him. My colleagues were offended and decided to go back at once to Jerusalem to report to Caiaphas.
But I am not satisfied. John’s disdainful attitude intrigues me, and who exactly is this evidently important person announced by John? Caiaphas will not be pleased unless I return with some specific and detailed information. If John remains uncooperative I will see if I can’t get something more out of his disciples.

Wednesday 24 August 28 - Bethany over Jordan

Things are moving. One could say a happy chance. Going towards where John was preaching, I saw him suddenly look up and point towards a man walking just ahead of me. John cried out, ‘Look, here comes the one for whom I am the herald. This man is greater than me because he was before me. I didn't know him till this moment, but the reason I came baptising with water was to announce his coming to Israel. I saw the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and rest on him. I would not have known him, but the one who sent me to baptise in water told me that he on whom you see the Spirit coming down and remaining, is he who baptises in the Holy Spirit. This I have seen, and I testify that he is the son of God that we have so long awaited.’
I wonder whether this powerful, yet strange, declaration is altogether honest, for talking later with some of John’s disciples I discovered that John the Baptist and the man he pointed out seem to be related.
When Elizabeth, the mother of John, was six months pregnant with him, she was visited by Mary, the man’s mother, who was also pregnant with him. Mary stayed with Elizabeth three months; presumably to help her until after John was born. The two families are accordingly close. How is it possible then that John could say that he would not have known him? Was it to discourage the idea that there could have been prior collusion between them?
I waited patiently on the river bank, until the Baptist came up out of the water. He saw me coming towards him and stood still with the same look of distaste on his face, as though I were the smelly one! The man he had mentioned stood smiling quietly by his side.
John held up his hands to command silence from his followers. He looked at me, his head on one side. ‘You still here and not gone creeping back with the others? Am I to start baptising the members of the Sanhedrin now?’
I ignored his impertinence and put softly a question of my own. I really wanted to know. ‘When you say this man is the son of God, what do you mean? The prophet Hosea says that all Israelites will be called sons of the living God— so aren't we all sons of God?’
Complete silence fell. The crowd had become aware of the drama of our encounter. All ears were turned in our direction.
As before, John raised his eyes, then slowly lifted his arms skywards, palms outstretched towards heaven. He fixed me penetratingly and then declaimed vibrantly from the prophet Isaiah:
‘To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.’ 
‘If you believe in the Scriptures come into the water and I'll baptise you,’ he cried, his eyes glittering in provocative defiance. With this ringing challenge, he and his companion waded back into the river followed by a considerable part of the crowd.
His declaration shocked me profoundly for it falls little short of insurrection. At the same time it excites me strangely. Caiaphas is certainly right to investigate this situation. It is urgent to find out what is going on here but the crowds are dense, and John’s disciples are wary of me. I’ll try to discover more tomorrow.

Triple Agent Chapter 1

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