Iíll make sure our household is aware of the situation when I return
home. Maybe you had better close early this evening. After all, it is
This is our busy time of the year and some customers stay late in the
market looking for bargains. Iím afraid that we might be here for a
while beyond our regular closing time. I will try to be home before
Donít worry I will stay with him until we close. If need be I can
close up so that he can get home to be with his family.
Good. I feel better when heís not by himself. Try not to be too late
I have one more job I would like to finish this evening. I need a
small length of gopher wood, but we have used the last of our stock.
I know where I can get some, Sir! There is another shop just down the
way and one street over that sells scrap wood. While I was walking the
other night I saw several odd scraps of gopher wood there. Iím sure
he will sell some at a reasonable price.
(Happily) What an apprentice! Please go and fetch it for me. Here are
a few shekels to cover the cost (Reaches inside his purse and hands
coins to apprentice).
Iíll run like the wind and return directly (Exits quickly).
Iím truly glad I hired that boy. He is a fine apprentice. (Busies
himself gathering materials and straightening up the shop. A very
short time later the breathless apprentice returns running).
(Catching Breath) I got the wood. On my way back I reached the end of
the street near that dark corner and saw a group of Roman Soldiers
gathered in the shadows. They were talking to a man I think Iíve
seen around your house. They were whispering low and one of the Romans
counted out several pieces of silver and gave it to the man. Then they
all hurried off together with the man leading the way. I think they
are looking to arrest someone. I didnít want to be on the street and
have them arrest me, so I ran back here.
Good thinking. I wonder what that was all about? (Shrugs) In
any event, I have work to finish. I want you to help me. (Master and
apprentice begin to assemble tools and materials to begin work).
(Enters excitedly) Joseph, youíve got to come home quickly!
Something terrible has happened!
Whatís wrong? Are you all right?
Iím fine, but our Son, Jesus, and several of his friends have been
Arrested? For what reason?
They said he was a criminal and that he and his friends were plotting
against the Government.
Criminal? My Son? How
could this happen? Werenít you all supposed to stay at home?
Wasnít He at home?
(Holding back tears) He was going out for just a little while to
observe Passover with a few of his disciples and I wasnít to worry.
Apparently they finished supper and walked together to a nearby
garden. It was there that the Romans confronted and arrested most of
them. Supposedly, there was some bloodshed and one soldier was
(To Apprentice) I must go now. I donít have time to close up. Will
you remain here and see to the shop?
I will, Sir. Please go and tend to your family. (Escorts Master and
Wife to door and all exit).
(Enters): Two days have passed and the apprentice has faithfully
opened and tended the carpenter shop each day. There has been no word
from the Master Carpenter or his family. Rumors overheard on the
street say that the carpenterís Son was taken before the local
authorities and then to the Roman Governor. There was some confusion
about jurisdiction or other legal issues and the prisoner was returned
to the local officials for judgment. The third day dawned and once
again the Apprentice opened the shop. There were few people shopping
in the market. It seemed that all were afraid that they might be the
next to be arrested. Noontime comes and goes. It is now late afternoon
as we join the apprentice in the shop (Exits).
(Aside) It has been a long time and no word from anyone. I only saw
him a few times, but their Son Jesus seemed not to be a radical or
threat to anyone. I thought he must be a teacher. Rabbi! Thatís what
his friends all called Him. (Shakes head wondering).
Soldier: (Enters) Are you the carpenter?
I am his apprentice Sir. He is away handling a family emergency and
left me in charge.
Soldier: Well Apprentice, I have a commission for you. The
Governor has sentenced a criminal to die by crucifixion. With all of
the executions lately, there is a shortage of crosses. You will
construct the cross upon which this criminal will be crucified. You
will make sure that it is of the proper dimensions. (Hands Paper to
Apprentice). It must be strong to hold the weight on the cross member
and have a footrest to accommodate nails in the feet. We will want to
use it again for other executions, so make sure the finish is hard so
not much blood will soak in. It goes without saying that if we are not
satisfied, you will likely be hung on one just like it. (Glares at
apprentice) Do you understand? (Apprentice nods ďYesĒ while
The person to be crucified; is He the one that they arrested in the
garden for treason?
Soldier Thatís Him. Now get busy. When you are finished, you
will bring the cross to the prison. Oh, another thing, there will be
no payment for your work. It seems all of the money that was allotted
for this crucifixion was spent as a bribe for the informant who
betrayed the criminal. We will accept your work as a donation to the
government. (Glaring) You donít mind do you?
Roman Soldier: I thought not. (Exits)
(Aside) What can I do? I canít betray the man who has taught me so
much and accepted me into his family. How can I produce the means
whereby his Son will be crucified? How could I live with myself?
(Thinking) But if I donít, they will probably kill me too. Why did I
ever come to this country? I should have stayed in
and carved marble. (Head in hands) What will I do? What will I do?
(Paces back and forth) If I do this, I can never face anyone again.
What would the Master Carpenter have me do? What would his Son, Jesus,
have me do? (Thinking) I promised that I would faithfully complete any
job, any task that I was given, no matter how difficult. Can I
dishonor the Master Carpenter and myself by breaking my word? If I
donít do it someone else will, probably someone who would build with
hate and loathing. Iíd rather it be a family friend. Is this the
task that has been driving me all these years? Is this my destiny?
Where can I find an answer? (Thinking)
Didnít I hear the Masterís wife saying that in troubled times they
go to their God in prayer? (Thinking) Yes, she did. I remember! She
said that if we ask God it will be given to us, to seek him and if we
knock, it will be opened to us. If their God will accept me, I will
become one with them. (Pause) I will pray to their God and await His
Narrator: (Enters): So, the apprentice fervently sought
guidance and solace in prayer, and the answer was given to him. (Pause
for emphasis) He kept his word to the Master Carpenter and constructed
a cross, one that was strong and ruggedly beautiful in its simplicity:
a loving work in wood that would be held sacred and remembered for
thousands of years by followers of Jesus Christ. (Pause) The
Apprentice? It is believed that
he became a follower of Christ. Some say that he traveled with the
apostle Paul to establish a church in the Greek city of Corinth. There, Paul taught that it is not enough to say that we are
Christians. We must also act like Christians. Not to do so is to bring
dishonor on the name of Christ. We must remember that only in Christ,
are we made pure, holy and acceptable to God (Exits).
Copyright 2009 Richard Ruddle
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