Episode One: The journey begins
Step with me back in time, over 2000 years back. Look around you. The land is dotted with olive trees, their silvery foliage swaying with the gentle breeze. It's warm, not too hot. The full on blaze of summer hasn't arrived yet, but the harshness of winter is fading.
The fields are tinged with green, with the olive trees providing shade for weary travellers. You sit down on one of the many rocks scattered all over the fields. They are everywhere! And shepherds have used them to create walls and holding pens for animals, and the structure of their simple houses.
The journey towards Easter is just beginning.
Jesus and his friends are resting in the shade of a sycamore tree. They have walked from Jericho, and it's a steep climb up to Jerusalem. In fact the road climbs from Jericho which is about 251 metres below sea level, all the way to Jerusalem at 762 metres above sea level. Here's a photograph of the road in the middle of summer. As Jesus and his friends walk this road it would be much greener than this. Can you see the bus driving up the zigzagging road?
Jesus and his friends share the road with fellow travellers, merchants, pilgrims and soldiers. It's a busy road and not always a safe one.
Time for a rest. Peter brings out the bread, unwraps a parcel of olives, some goats cheese, and shares it around. There is laughter among the friends as they eat their lunch, stories are being told about who they met that day. But Jesus is quiet. He sits a little way off by himself, with a look about him. He looks determined, and every so often he lifts his eyes up to view Jerusalem in the distance. That's where he is heading and he knows what waits for him there. Matthew hands him a piece of bread and cheese and a smile breaks out over his face. Jesus carries a heavy load, but here amongst his friends, there is reason to smile...
To be continued...
Other episodes: Episode Two: Through the gates