A Savior Is Born: A Shepherd's Story
Introduction: This is the shepherds' view of the Christmas events. Our biblical text summarized what happened that night. What would it have been like to have been one of those men? The following is an exercise of the imagination. We don't know what became of the shepherds. It could easily have been like this.
The time: It is about eighteen months after the birth of Jesus. Augustus Caesar reigns from Rome. Quirinius remains the appointed governor for Syria. Herod, the Jewish despot, occupies the royal palace in Jerusalem, but not for long and not without careful oversight from Rome.
The Place: The interrogation room beneath the Antonia Fortress, a Roman garrison positioned at the north edge of Herod's Temple; Jerusalem, the Judean District, the Roman province of Palestine near the eastern frontier of the empire. Three men are in the room: an armed guard stands at attention near the door; a nameless scribe bends over a table in the shadows prepared to record the events; the third is, Nathaniel Ben Eliakim, an old weather-beaten shepherd. The footsteps of a fourth can be heard approaching down the hall on the other side of the thick wooden door. He is Edius Lewisius, a young Roman soldier attached to the delegation from the Roman Senate now visiting in Palestine.
The Occasion: Rumors of an insurrection involving King Herod and three Persian princes who recently arrived in Jerusalem have reached the attention of the Roman delegation. They remain skeptical of the king's explanation. Rome has a special interest in any activities involving Persia. The border on the eastern frontier of the Empire has never been totally secure. Lewisius has been ordered to personally investigate the matter and report to the Senate delegation.
Preliminary investigations indicate that Nathaniel has important information. Two days before he was arrested in the middle of the night and hauled to the Roman stockad ...
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